K.S. Bhaskar on 18 Sep 2013 14:09:52 -0700

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[PLUG] Troubleshooting a fragile VPN connection

For family reasons, I am temporarily telecommuting from Manhattan. ÂMy hotel in Manhattan has expensive Internet access via iBAHN, but I purchased a Boingo id for about one fiftieth the cost, and IBAHN is a hotspot provided for Boingo. ÂSo, I am connected via iBAHN but authenticating via Boingo - the iBAHN sign-on page has a link to another page that allows me to sign in with my Boingo id. Except VPN, everything works perfectly.

The VPN only stays up for a few minutes at a time. ÂDuring those few minutes, it works perfectly, but suddenly the vpnc process just disappears. ÂPreviously, VPN has always worked perfectly for me: from home, from homes of friends and family, from every other hotel I have used in my travels around the world (including hotels with free Internet service provided by iBAHN), etc. ÂBut this is the first time I am using a Boingo id over iBAHN.

For VPN, my employer uses Cisco VPN, to which I connect with the vpnc client on a 64-bit Ubuntu 13.04. ÂSince my employer has a proxy server that requires a login with AD credentials, all my desktop programs are configured to use a local cntlm as a proxy. ÂI have two cntlm configuration files, and when I connect to the VPN or disconnect from it, I shutdown the cntlm process and restart it with the appropriate configuration file. ÂThis works like a charm, and the additional microscopic delay of going through cntlm is compensated for by the simplicity of the setup.

So, literally, this is first time I am having any major problem with my VPN setup, and I am not sure even where to start looking.

The only think I can think of doing is to play with the IP routing tables so that when I am connected over the VPN, I only route traffic to the company Intranet over the VPN, and route to all other addresses directly, bypassing the VPN. ÂWhile configuring IP routing tables would be a good thing to learn, it would not help me get my job done any faster.

Suggestions appreciated. ÂThank you very much.

-- Bhaskar

Windows does to computers what smoking does to humans
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