Tech+ Blog: Bay Area IT Security & Consulting News

Standard VPN Troubleshooting Guide for Small Businesses using Meraki VPN or Other Typical VPN Services

May 28, 2019

A quick note: this article was originally written around troubleshooting steps for Meraki VPN. Tech Plus Consulting is one of the largest Meraki IT Support companies in the San Francisco Bay Area. We have reworked the article to be more general to work for most VPN deployments, but some are specialized and have additional troubleshooting steps. Check with your Managed Services IT Provider if you are not a client of ours. This article will work for most though. Enjoy:

How do I fix my slow or dropping VPN?

If you are having trouble with a slow or dropping VPN connection chances are it is being caused by your internet connection. In 95% of VPN support cases we handle the root cause is the internet connection. This document outlines how to test your internet connection; information we need before we can proceed with further troubleshooting.

1) Internet Connection Best Practises:

    1. Wireless connections will work for VPN connections, but there are a number of variables that can affect the quality of a wireless connection. This can include poor signal strength, interference from devices such as microwaves or misconfiguration.
    2. We recommend using a wired connection for the best possible VPN experience.
    3. Hotels and public networks (such as guest networks or ‘free wi-fi’) typically do not have the resources to provide a stable VPN connection. We suggest using a cellular hotspot in these areas (i.e. Verizon Jetpack, tether a smartphone).

2) To test the quality of your internet connection please follow the steps below:



a. Open a web browser and go to http://www.dslreports.com/
b. As shown in the screenshot below, click the Speed Test button at the top of the window.

 

 

c. Select your connection type. Comcast is cable, AT&T would be DSL or Fiber . For this example we will select Cable.

d. Once we select our connection type a speed test will begin. Your screen should similar to what is shown below:

 

 

e. Once completed it will show the results of your speed test.

 

 

f. In order for a VPN to be stable we expect to see A’s for Overall, BufferBloat, Quality and Speed. Any deviation from these results indicate that there is a problem with your Internet connection or home router.

g. Bufferbloat usually indicates an issue with your wireless router.

h. A speed related issue has to be addressed with your Internet Service Provider or home IT support company (i.e. Best Buy’s Geek Squad).

3. If your speed test completes without indicating any issues yet you still experience VPN problems then there could be a number of other factors affecting your connection. The next thing we need to check is your wireless signal strength.

  • To check wireless signal strength on Windows follow the steps below:
    • Click on Start or the Windows logo.
    • Type cmd and hit Enter.
    • Enter the following command: netsh wlan show interface
    • This will show the wireless signal strength as shown in the screenshot below:

 

 

  • If your signal strength is below 75%, this is not sufficient to support a VPN connection. Try moving closer to your wireless router, or purchase a router that provides a higher quality signal. (Best Buy and Costco both sell multi-room wi-fi solutions)
  • To verify wireless signal strength on a Macbook please contact your IT provider.

Other factors that can affect your VPN connection:

  1. Ensure you log out of your Remote Desktop Server each time you finish. Clicking on the X at the top of the Remote Desktop Server will disconnect your session causing issues with logging on in the future.
  2. Issues with a personal device can cause VPN connectivity problems. This can include out of date wireless drivers, a failing wireless card, wireless management software or power settings.
  3. Anti-virus software and firewalls can also present issues in establishing a VPN connection. If this is the case please contact your home IT provider.

 

Our goal is to make your VPN connection work seamlessly and we will try our best to offer support. Ultimately if we didn’t setup the networking equipment / internet connection it can be difficult for us to assist. We are happy to work with your home internet technician or can provide new equipment / in-home support for an additional fee. Also, if you can't use a LTE (Jetpack, MyFi, Aircard) connection hotels often sell a premium Faster Wi-Fi optimized for VPN use when travelling - use this!

Lastly another friendly reminder:

Never use public Wi-Fi without a VPN Connection. This article from Norton Security is a great example why!