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Connects but doesn't always work

Occasional Contributor

Connects but doesn't always work

I've used Pulse Secure for quite a while now, to connect from where I live in Cyprus to where I work in the UK. This has all worked fine, except for the odd time when Pulse connect, but none of my connections work. If I disconnect from Pulse and try again it normally works. Or at least it will on the 3rd or 4th attempt. Very rarely will it go past 6 attempts.

 

In the last week however everyday I am having to try at least a dozen times. Each one successfully connects, but then nothing works connecting to anything on the remote network. Note every time it will call my mobile, and I authenticate correctly, with the Pulse app saying it's connected.

 

I've never really worried about it, but a dozen+ attempts can be annoying every day.

 

Anyway, I asked our IT maintenance department, and they said "You successfully connected at 07:58 this morning. I suspect that the UDP communication (which creates the session on your device) failed. UDP traffic is dropped relatively quickly in a congested network so I believe the packets were lost in the internet between Cyprus and the UK"

 

Note that once it's connected, I'm normally connected for the rest of the day. Also the IT maintenance department say that this is only happening to me. I am though the only person working from Cyprus (although for remote locations we do have one in Australia, and another in Siberia).

 

Any idea of what is going on here?

 

 

11 REPLIES
Super Contributor

Re: Connects but doesn't always work

 Since you Pulse IT group thinks the issue is ESP transport between your location and the data center, ask if they can change your resource policy setting.

 

If they assign a resource policy > vpn tunneling profile to your account that only allows ssl connections then the tunnel will always be tcp and not udp 4500.

 

But be aware that typically ESP connections perform faster than ssl ones which is why they are preferred by default.  But if there is a udp transport problem as they suspect your issues should stop with this change.

 

Steve Puluka BSEET - IP Architect - DQE Communications Pittsburgh, PA (Metro Ethernet & ISP) - http://puluka.com/home
Occasional Contributor

Re: Connects but doesn't always work

Sorry, I didn't see this message, as I assumed it would automatically Email me when a reply comes in.

 

Plus they upgraded me to the latest Pulse client, and everything went back to normal (at worst, 2 or 3 successful logins before it actually worked).

 

Today though it isn't having it. Many successful logins and it's not working.

 

However, I also installed the Pulse client on an old PC (still using Win10 with a very similar setup), and that works perfectly every time. I still can't get a successful connection (is connecting and authorising fine, and says is connected, but nothing actually works) using my current PC, but the old one I've tried 3 times and each one worked first time.

 

I've tried restarting the PC (sometimes seems to work), stopping virus killers and the like, but nothing seems to help.

 

Considering the old PC works, do you think I still need to change the resource policy setting?

Highlighted
Super Contributor

Re: Connects but doesn't always work

I think the test between the two PCs has ruled out their theory of the esp transport issue.

 

Seems pretty likely there is some software conflict on that one PC.

 

Steve Puluka BSEET - IP Architect - DQE Communications Pittsburgh, PA (Metro Ethernet & ISP) - http://puluka.com/home
Occasional Contributor

Re: Connects but doesn't always work

Ok, so worked okish for a few days again (approx 3 fully authorised and successful connections without actually working before it worked properly).

 

Today is total nightmare and isn't playing ball at all. I've tried the usual backup processes of signing out and in again, rebooting, changing networks (normally use USB to CAT5 convertor, but tried wireless with a different DNS) etc, but no joy at all. All I get is fully authorised and successful connections through Pulse, but then it doesn't actually work...

 

So I tried my old PC again, and it works first time. Disconnected, tried again. Yep working then too. Disconnected, tried on new PC, and doesn't work at all.

 

So I thought sod it, I'll use the old PC temporarily. Totally not ideal, but it's a half workable solution through Teamviewer. And it doesn't work.... Before this I've used the old PC maybe 6 or 7 times to test the connection, and it worked first time every time. Ok, try again, and nothing again. I then sign out and in again on the old PC, and it works first time. After a bit of experimenting I find that if I leave the old PC for a while (5+ mins, then it stops working with Pulse (for new connections)). If I sign it out and in again, then it works first time. Tried it with the new PC, and it still doesn't work.

 

Ok, so assuming it's software related, and something is starting after a while that cocks up Pulse connections (but not all the time, and not badly until recentlyish), then do you know of any software that conflicts with Pulse? Is there any debugging tools that can say what might be conlicting with it?

 

I assummed that my virus software (Webroot) maybe the cause, but shutting it down (assuming it fully shuts down when asked to), didn't help. It's a bit of software that is shared between the PCs though. Any reports on issues with Webroot?

 

I always get an authorised connection through Pulse. No problem. If I tried killing off processes, would Pulse suddenly start allowing all my links to work? Or do I need to kill stuff off, and then re-attempt the Pulse connection? ie. going through the re-authorisation process again every time.

 

Out of interest, I have VMWare on the old PC, and VirtualBox on the new PC. Both have their own active network connection. I haven't been running a VM recently, but normally I have it running all day long with my job. Could this network connection be causing issues? 

 

This is really affecting my productivity now (all my work has to go through Pulse), so anything you can do to help would be much appreciated.

Super Contributor

Re: Connects but doesn't always work

Yes the networks that are created by the virtualization software could cause a problem if the subnets the software chooses are also part of your corporate network tunnel and overlap.

 

You can do a route print on both computers to see what the subnets are.  And if they allow you to turn them off see if it works without them running.  I think the vmware one starts up automatically even when you are not running VMs actively.

 

Steve Puluka BSEET - IP Architect - DQE Communications Pittsburgh, PA (Metro Ethernet & ISP) - http://puluka.com/home
Occasional Contributor

Re: Connects but doesn't always work

Ok, well for the last 2 days since the last big problem, I've been logging in a little earlier than normal (before 7am UTC), and it's working first time for both days so far.

 

Once I hit a bad day again, I'll see what happens. Note though that the vmware one is on the old PC, which works most of the time (especially if I sign out and in again and I use Pulse immediately). 

 

Considering I need the VMs running for my job, is there a way I can route the connection from another PC? I mean my old one works fine most of the time, but isn't capable of replacing my new PC to fully carry out the work I require. However, is there a way I can route all network connections through the old PC to the new PC? So if I have a bad day with the new PC not working, I can connect with the old PC, and just it's Pulse connection to the new PC? A bit like tethering a mobile phone to use it's 4G connection. Not ideal, but a whole lot better than using the old PC to work.

Occasional Contributor

Re: Connects but doesn't always work

Ok, is particularly bad today. 10 or so failures on new PC, 2 perfect connections on old PC.

So what exactly do I need to do to check this? Plus if I have to turn off the VM network connection, then that's not a solution, as I need it for my work. Considering it worked fine for the last two years, then I'm hoping for a better solution if it is that.

Occasional Contributor

Re: Connects but doesn't always work

Anyone got any answers here? It seems like I go a week with pretty decent connections (first time connection for a few days, then perhaps 2nd or 3rd connection works properly), then I get a week of really bad connections (like today). Nothing has changed as far as I know.

New Contributor

Re: Connects but doesn't always work

I have the same issue, seems to work after a reboot of my Win10 machine, but........not everytime. There does not seem to be any rhyme or reason to it, I've taken route prints of both when it works and when it doesn't, no difference. I've disabled any other network adapters (VM's, etc.)

 

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