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Browse Master on two small networks seperated by a subnets to be aware of each othere and share lists.

Posted on 2016-09-18
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Last Modified: 2016-09-23
I have two offices w/3 windows 7 machines in each (6 PCs total) and I plan to connected the networks. They will be on separate networks, so I need some way to cause the elected Browse Master for each subnet to be aware of the other network and show the PCs from the remote office in network neighborhood.

Office is too small for a PDC or a WINs server.

Any help is appreciated.

Thank You.
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Question by:sidwelle
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by:Tomas Valenta
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These networks are in the same building ? What device will connect them ? Theoretically you need only allow broadcast to be forwarded between networks and than you see computers in network neighborhood.
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by:sidwelle
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They will be over 100 miles away.

They will be separated by routers to make an IPsec tunnel.
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by:Tomas Valenta
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OK, so you must configure IPSec tunnel to forward broadcasts from both networks. you have only 3 computers on both sides so you can do it without impact on network traffic. It can be done by GRE over IPSec tunnel.
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by:sidwelle
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looking through the setup for this router (RV130W), I don't see mention of GRE or "Generic Routing Encapsulation"

Is it automatic or go by another term ?
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by:Tomas Valenta
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GRE is not supported on all routers and firewalls. I checked Admin Guide of your router and GRE is not there. But anyway you can test it. Here is great how-to - http://www.firewall.cx/cisco-technical-knowledgebase/cisco-routers/868-cisco-router-gre-ipsec.html
If the Tunnel command is not available then you need to use another solution.
1) create GRE tunnel on another router and on RV130W make only IPSec.
2) Create IPSec tunnel and on every computer use "Add network location" in Windows Explorer to manually add resources. These resources are visible in Computer folder under Network Locations.
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by:sidwelle
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I am trying to create a project and I don't have the routers yet so I have no way to test.
From the article, you must have a cmd prompt on the router and from what I read of the RV130W its all GUI config.  

If you knew the range of addresses on the other end and it was a small number like < 20, how hard would it be to write a quick script to just query those 20 addresses every hour and if it replied, just add that address to the list of "Location"s ?
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by:sidwelle
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Here is a Post talking about the same issue on the RV120 some years ago.

Looks like they tried to solve it by added a "Custom Service"
don't know if it really solved the issue ?
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by:Tomas Valenta
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you need to allow SSH connection to the router in GUI config and then use ssh client (putty.exe)
to connect to the router.
You do not have a fixed IP addresses in both sites ? You told me you have 3+3 computers totally.
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by:Tomas Valenta
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OK, now what will be easier. How to assign IP to clients in both sites ?
If you use DHCP server in RV130W then you can configure DHCP static - assign IP address to defined MAC address of Ethernet adapter. Now you can create by "Add network location" records for all resources on different network. I think for 6 computers acceptable solution.
Another solution could be described in this article.
https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc737661(v=ws.10).aspx
The goal is usage of lmhosts files on computers where you can list IP address and name
of master browser for domain (could be workgroup).
Here is explanation of LMHOSTS file https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/101927
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by:sidwelle
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If I edit the LMHosts file, the lookups would fail is the Master-browser on the other subnet was un-available.  

If broadcasting was forwarded to the other subnet, do we even know if the Master-Browser on that subnet would add them to its internal list ?  If the broadcasting systems are not on the same network, are messages just ignored ?

Per the article, the correct place to add host entries out-side of the network is the "Hosts" file.
Question: how often is the Host file read by the local system ?
1.  Just on system start ?
2.  Whenever a remote system is referenced by name ?
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by:sidwelle
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After testing, it appears that entries in the hosts file take place almost immediately ?!
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by:Tomas Valenta
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sidwelle,
lmhosts file is use in NetBIOS browsing and host file is used in DNS resolution.
You must configure IPSec between networks and test the routing by ping between
two computers. Then insert in LMHOSTS file record for master browser on foreign network.
In TCP/IP settings of active adapter on all computers you must check in Advanced settings/WINS
Enable LMHOSTS lookup and turn on NETBIOS over TCP/IP. Also on both networks you must have
different workgroup name. In the articles I sent you is description how it works.
Windows computer is browsing resources in local network by broadcast, LMHOSTS file and by querying WINS server (older), HOSTS,.... In TCP/IP communication it is similar - local cache (ipconfig /displaydns), HOSTS file, DNS server, broadcast. The order is done by node type - see this description https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/119493.
any changes to files LMHOSTS or HOSTS are immediately functional (only when you change record and old one is in computer's cahche then you must wait for 10 minutes or clear the cache.
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by:sidwelle
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Ok, but how would I set the LMHosts file to the Master browser on the remote network.
They are all Win'07 systems. From my experience the Master-browser can change constantly on workgroups w/o domains.
As soon as the Browser machine on the other network is reset or taken down for maintenance, I no longer have resolution.

I see several scripts on-line to update the Hosts file with entries form DBs on-line.
Is there a script to update the Hosts files with entries from a remote network ?
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by:Tomas Valenta
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I think easiest for you is configure static DHCP in both sites - all devices will have persistent IP address.
Then create lmhosts file on every computer and configure TCP/IP to use it:
IP_Address1 computer1 #PRE
IP_Address2 computer2 #PRE
....

At the end create manually on all computers by "Add network location" records for all resources on different network.
Another dynamic solution is usage of WINS server - by Samba - you can use some small NAS with this capability.
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by:Craig Beck
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You can't use NetBIOS over routed links.  You'd have to extend (bridge) the subnet over the links using a tunneling protocol such as GRE or L2TPv3.

This is what WINS was designed for, but it's old technology now.  If you can't afford a server, bridging is the only option.
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by:Tomas Valenta
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Thanks Craig for comment but RV130W does not support GRE or bridging and therefore we are trying to find another solution
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by:Craig Beck
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I'm aware of that, Tomas.  :-) I was merely stating that unless you can bridge you simply can't achieve what you need with what kit is there.

WINS is an option but a server is out of the question apparently, so it's unachievable.

If the OP is willing to implement a server, DNS (or WINS) is the way forward.  If a new pair of routers is feasible, a pair with GRE support is a good choice.
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by:sidwelle
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I was looking at this router because it had all the options that we needed.
If you had anther product, I would be willing to read up on it.  from talking w/Cisco support, this device is there latest and best solutions for small offices.

I would fall back to just creating a Hosts file for each machine. In the future maybe if the resolution becomes a problem, maybe I could write a script to ping each system on the other side have it auto-update the hosts file ?

there is a part that I posted a while back were the 130 allows for the forwarding of services, does this have any merit ?
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Tomas Valenta earned 400 total points
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OK, so as I see this topic the best should be to buy NAS for example QNAP and here you can turn on Domain, DHCP server, Wins server, DNS, file sharing, backup and you will have everything for small office. In router's IPSec config enable DHCP Relay and DHCP requests from site without NAS will be forwarded to the tunnel and managed by one DHCP server, Netbios names registered dynamically also on one site. May be you start using shared folders on NAS and accessing local resources on computers will not be important.
Of course you can create script, ping, ... but I do not prefer this solution only as a temporary solution.
for your script use command FOR -  FOR /L %%i IN (1,1,20) DO (ping -n 1 192.168.1.%%i | FIND "TTL")
this command do ping in loop where %i is 1,2,3,4,....20   FIND command filter only responded hosts.
The whole sequence redirect to the file and in the file you will have
Response from 192.168.1.1: bytes:......
Response from .......
In the second loop FOR / F .... retrieve IP addresses of alive hosts >> to the file
In the third command you need to retrieve Netbios names of live computers - use nbtstat command
in the loop,....
As you see not so easy but it can be done but I cannot see advantage of this solution except costs.
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by:sidwelle
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I will do some research, but I think going forward with the small routers spec'ed and just manually configuring the Hosts file(s) would be a simple solution.  (this is a small project, already probably spend too much time on it)  Thank you for the info on GRE, looking that term up I leaned some more about how the advertising protocol works.  I knew as soon as I drew the project up that there would be some name resolution problems.  

Hosts:  If I were to go forward with a script to edit the Hosts file automatically, I would write it in some more mature language like VBS or  VS.Net.  Maybe get crazy and write is as a service ?
I have seen in the past that sections of Hosts files carved out with comments were a service was updating the file automatically,  It all didn't click until I read up for this issue.

When I get the routers implemented, I will experiment with "forward services" option and post back.

Thank You.
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by:Tomas Valenta
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Not at all, sidewelle.
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