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mobbo

join:2005-04-13
Denton, TX

[HSI] VPN blocked?

Long post.

I subscribed to a private VPN service in Sweden to get the MPAA/RIAA off my back for BitTorrent sharing. Anywho, as soon as I got it I starting having issues. The VPN client will connect, but after a few minutes (about 10 minutes) the connection will cease to send data. I am still connected to the VPN, but the data just stops flowing.

At first I thought my router was at fault. That turned out to be false after I connected directly to the cable modem and the same thing happened. I tried it on both Vista and XP SP2 with the exact same results.

I searched here and saw that Charter may be blocking VPN traffic for some reason in some markets. If that is the case I will be cancelling effective tomorrow. Before I do so, I would like to find out how I can test to see if they are in fact blocking VPN. Keep in mind they don't start blocking it until 10 minutes in, so a quick test just won't work (telnet, etc.). I also do not want to call a Charter CSR... I'd rather slam my hand in a car door than attempt to explain what is going on to those people.

Thanks in advance.



DaSneaky1D
what's up
Premium,MVM
join:2001-03-29
The Lou

They don't block VPN access. I use it extensively for work and personal use.

What may be happening is, if you're not using the connection (like, just letting it sit there), the remote side could be closing the connection.



airshark
--... ...-- -.. . -. -.... .-.. -.--
Premium
join:2003-05-20
Hollister, CA
reply to mobbo

I know that my company VPN connection (Nortel Contivity VPN) times us out after 10 minutes of inactivity.


mobbo

join:2005-04-13
Denton, TX
reply to DaSneaky1D

It's really strange because when I'm downloading stuff over BitTorrent, the connection goes quiet after 7 - 10 minutes... but when I download another large file that lasts over 20 minutes in some cases, it is fine. I just downloaded a 256MB test file from a hosting service and it took 30 minutes, but no data loss.

I use the VPN service for BitTorrent only and the connection is supposed to be encrypted and tunnelled using PPTP. I am out of ideas.



airshark
--... ...-- -.. . -. -.... .-.. -.--
Premium
join:2003-05-20
Hollister, CA
reply to mobbo

Either way it does sound more likely that your issue is some sort of service reliability/configuration issue instead of Charter blocking your VPN.

Maybe your router is dropping the VPN tunnel randomly, that happened to me several years ago and I found the router to be my culprit.

Or I could be wrong...but believe me, I have no positive felings for Charter at the moment. If I thought it was their fault, I'd probably be the first to say so.


mobbo

join:2005-04-13
Denton, TX

It's definitely not the router because the same thing happens when I take it off the router and go directly with the cable modem. I also don't think it's Charter anymore because I downloaded a large file over 30 minutes through the VPN that was NOT BitTorrent traffic and it did not stop data flow. It only seems to happen after 7 - 10 minutes of BitTorrent downloading.


DigitalJunki

join:2006-11-27
Greer, SC

Since straight downloads are OK, I would look at BitTorrent. I have had the problem with some BitTorrent clients locking up my NIC drivers. Most software VPNs are simply virtual NICs and can suffer from the same problem.

BitTorrent and Azureus both lock up my NIC when they connect to too many peers. Rate limiting helps some as well. I've had good luck with uTorrent not giving me any problems.


mobbo

join:2005-04-13
Denton, TX

Ya, I am using utorrent and it still does it. I've read many things such as changing the MTU size. I also unlocked the half-open TCP connections limit in XP so that could be the issue. I'm testing it out today to see if lowering those half-open connections will stop the anomoly.



dwykofka

join:2004-12-07
Greenville, SC
reply to mobbo

If you are using the built in window PPTP client the default is to disconnect after 10 mins idle.

Right click ont he vpn icon and goto the properties to change this. On pptp connection idle time outs are provided by the client not the server..


mobbo

join:2005-04-13
Denton, TX

That option is not shown anywhere after you right click to change the properties.



dwykofka

join:2004-12-07
Greenville, SC
reply to mobbo

Right click on your VPN PPTP icon and goto properties.

Click on the options tab.

Idle Time Before Hanging Up Default = 10 change this to whatever you want.

This is only if you are using Windows PPTP of course not some proprietary connector.


mobbo

join:2005-04-13
Denton, TX

I found it. It has been on "Never" the whole time. So that's not the issue. I signed up for AT&T DSL and I expect the package today. So I could care less about Charter... just rooting for it to go out of business.



DaSneaky1D
what's up
Premium,MVM
join:2001-03-29
The Lou
Reviews:
·Charter

So, instead of finding/fixing the problem you decided to remove the symptoms entirely. After people have repeatedly stated that they can use VPN connections without issue, you conclude it's a Charter problem.

I'll see you over in the ATT/Southwest forum later today



neofate
Caveat Depascor
Premium
join:2003-11-11
Birmingham, AL
reply to mobbo

said by mobbo:

I found it. It has been on "Never" the whole time. So that's not the issue. I signed up for AT&T DSL and I expect the package today. So I could care less about Charter... just rooting for it to go out of business.
Keep us informed on what happens when you are using a completely different network, At&T for your WLAN.

From the thread it would seem the issue could still, possibly, persist with or without Charter.
--
Life is not a problem to be solved, but a reality to be experienced.

mobbo

join:2005-04-13
Denton, TX
reply to DaSneaky1D

No, I'm switching because my service cost will be bumped to $61.99/month at the end of next month. If I paid that much for 5mbps service I couldn't look at myself in the mirror in the morning. AT&T has 6000/768 service for $34.99/month with 2 months free... that's faster service for about $27/month less. Kind of a no-brainer.


Snavvie

join:2006-09-28
Louisville, KY

See ya later.



neofate
Caveat Depascor
Premium
join:2003-11-11
Birmingham, AL
reply to mobbo

said by mobbo:

No, I'm switching because my service cost will be bumped to $61.99/month at the end of next month. If I paid that much for 5mbps service I couldn't look at myself in the mirror in the morning. AT&T has 6000/768 service for $34.99/month with 2 months free... that's faster service for about $27/month less. Kind of a no-brainer.
Heh, sort of what I figured as well -- But I didn't comment as I don't think it would make a difference for this problem.

Glad you found something in a decent price range

If you prefer cable,.. have you even called and mentioned what is going on with your service premiums increasing (I assume from coming out of a promo) and your alternative plan to drop Charter? Not sure if they would do anything, but they might keep you on the Promo you are coming out of.. [If that IS the case.. if it isn't,.. are you simply having an HSI price increase of X dollars out of the blue?]

Still keep me/us informed if anything changes/corrects itself with the ISP change.
--
Life is not a problem to be solved, but a reality to be experienced.

ArkiMage

join:2001-06-30
Kingsport, TN
reply to DaSneaky1D

All Charter markets are not identical. I know for instance that Charter in the Morristown TN area do actively block VPN. Your mileage may vary, they appear not to do so in most markets thank goodness.

Just because they do or do not do something in your area, doesn't mean that's uniform everywhere else...


mobbo

join:2005-04-13
Denton, TX
reply to neofate

When I cancelled I was sent to a retention person and told them the problem(s). I have an issue with their TV, customer service (or the lack thereof), and pointless complaint process on top of this VPN stuff. The rentention people had no clue what a VPN was and were clueless about my local sports blackout policies that are keeping me from watching Astros games. The only thing she could offer me is free premium channels.



DaSneaky1D
what's up
Premium,MVM
join:2001-03-29
The Lou
reply to ArkiMage

I'm quite aware, but we've also never had VPN complaints from the FtW, TX area.

Also, the connection comes up and passes traffic. If they were proactively blocking VPN protocols, then connections wouldn't even establish.


mobbo

join:2005-04-13
Denton, TX
reply to mobbo

Just an update:

I have AT&T DSL now and the problem is NO MORE! All BitTorrent traffic over the VPN connection is functioning perfectly. I am 110% sure it was Charter, because the network config and VPN connection are exactly the same, just a new ISP, and it works great. I just downloaded the TV shows I missed last week due to Charter TV being down, over 700MB without a wierd stoppage of data.