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I have a Windows Server 2008 R2 box hosting a VPN to grant remote access to a home network.
The network does not and will not have a domain. (I need FUS on XP machines)

The VPN works fine, except that I cannot access any other machines by name over the VPN.

I can access the VPN server by name, and I can access the other machines by IP address, but whenever I ping any other machine name, it waits ~30 seconds and says it couldn't find the host.

EDIT: If possible, I'd prefer a solution that doesn't involve reconfiguring the client machines, and that will allow the other machines to communicate with each-other even if the server goes down.

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You mention you have no domain, but do you have DNS setup? Are you using Windows' RRAS to host the VPN? Does the server have more than one NIC? Do you have split tunneling (aka: "Use default gateway on remote network") enabled on the VPN client? All of those can cause what you're running into, so we're probably going to need more info. – techie007 Jan 19 '10 at 22:47
Yes, Yes, No, Yes. Details: I'm using OpenDNS. The server actually does have two NICs, but only one of them is connected. (And the router is full) – SLaks Jan 19 '10 at 22:50
Let me repharse: Do you have a DNS Server setup on the Windows server? :) – techie007 Jan 20 '10 at 1:25
@techie: No, I don't. – SLaks Jan 20 '10 at 3:11

NetBIOS is a non-routeable protocol. You will need to have a WINS server setup at the VPN endpoint, and configure your remote clients to use that WINS server.

Are people really still using NetBIOS ??? You should REALLY transition to a DNS based name resolution setup.

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Is there any solution that doesn't involve reconfiguring the other client machines? – SLaks Jan 19 '10 at 22:54
depending on your server you might be able to pass WINS configuration. But really you should use DNS, pass internal DNS servers and use split dns. – Zypher Jan 19 '10 at 22:58
Can Windows Server's DNS server automatically resolve other machine names without manually adding them or reconfiguring the other machines? – SLaks Jan 19 '10 at 23:00
Static DNS entries generally need to be manually added. If the machines are getting IPs via DHCP you can use the Windows DHCP server and give it credentials to modify the DNS as comptuers come and go from the DHCP pool. – techie007 Jan 20 '10 at 1:29
But then the network won't work if the server goes down. (I don't want to be forced to maintain the server 24/7) – SLaks Jan 20 '10 at 3:11
up vote 0 down vote accepted

I solved this by setting up the server as a WINS server and setting its IP in the (Linksys) router DHCP's WINS field.

After renewing every machine's IP address, it works fine, without (I hope) making the local network dependent on my server, and without requiring any manual intervention after renewing the IP addresses.

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How is depending on a WINS server any better than depending on a DNS server? Oh well, glad you got it working to your satisfaction. :) – techie007 Jan 20 '10 at 3:36
@techie: I hope that this setup isn't actually depending on the WINS server. I tried changing the WINS server in DHCP to a non-existent address and renewing a client's IP, and the client still worked fine and could ping other machines. If there actually is a dependency, please let me know. – SLaks Jan 20 '10 at 4:10
Are you still talking about VPN clients? – techie007 Jan 20 '10 at 6:12
@techie: No. Obviously, the VPN clients won't work at all if the server is down, but (I hope and believe) the other machines on the local network will. – SLaks Jan 20 '10 at 14:15

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