VPN in to Windows Server - timeouts

By chrisbedford ·
Calling all Microsoft Boffins

I have Server 2003 (Small Business Server edition, in this case, but it doesn't seem to make a difference) set up at a customer site, with Router & Remote Access configured to allow incoming VPN connections.

The Internet connection is via DSL using a Netgear router with port forwarding configured, and with a Dynamic DNS client inside the network telling DynDNS the IP address. Client connection is using just what's built in to Windows XP.

It used to work brilliantly, first time, almost every time. Occasionally I would have to phone and get one of the employees to look up the correct IP address and I would be able to connect using the IP address instead of DynDNS DNS name, but that was (I assume[d]), only after recent address changes.

But now, almost every time I try to connect I am getting the status box getting only as far as "verifying user name & password" before the connection times out. By default Windows re-tries about 4 more times at one minute intervals - all attempts time out. I then leave it for a few minutes and try again, and it works.

This happens, as I say, virtually every time someone tries to connect after not connecting for some time (say, a day or more).

It makes no difference if you establish another kind of direct connection to the server, eg accessing webmail, which works successfully every time.

If I am on site and someone else experiences this problem, I can observe the state of the listening ports in MS Routing & Remote Access service: when idle, all the WAN Miniport look the same (Inactive); when someone is trying to connect, one port will go to "authenticating" (you have to double-click the port to see this status) but it never gets beyond that to "authenticated" or showing Active on the main screen. In Windows' routing table, I see no default routes back to the client attempting to connect, until a successful connection takes place and I am pretty sure this must be at least part (or a symptom) of the problem.

Anyone else have any ideas?

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