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System Center Configuration Manager 2007 : Network Design - Troubleshooting Configuration Manager Network Issues (part 1)

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1/4/2013 3:10:23 PM

Configuration Manager depends on basic network services such as connectivity and name resolution to work properly. Network-related issues are a common source of problems that can affect Configuration Manager service delivery. The next sections look at some typical issues you may encounter related to network dependencies. When troubleshooting, it is important to keep an open mind. Some issues caused by incorrect security settings, for example, can produce very similar symptoms to network issues.

Among the common network-related issues that can affect Configuration Manager are the following:

  • Network configuration issues

  • Basic connectivity problems

  • Name resolution issues

  • Blocked or unresponsive ports

  • Timeout issues

The following sections briefly describe a few of the many tools and techniques for troubleshooting these types of issues.

Network Configuration Issues

If you suspect that the TCP/IP networking on one of your systems is not working correctly, you can log on to the system and enter the following at the command prompt (Start -> Run, and then type cmd):

Ipconfig /all

You should see a list of the installed network adapters with IP addresses and other IP configuration data. If no IP address or only an autoconfiguration IP address is displayed, the network components are either not configured or not functioning properly. If this occurs when the IP address configuration is set to obtain an IP address automatically, this means the machine was unable to contact a DHCP server. 

If the machine has one or more valid IP addresses, you can test TCP/IP functioning by entering the following two commands at the command prompt:

  • Ping 127.0.0.1

  • Ping <IP address of this machine>

In both cases, you should see a series of replies, such as the following:

Reply from 127.0.0.1: bytes=32 time=9ms TTL=128

If you receive a request timed out message, TCP/IP networking on the machine is not working properly.

The NetDiag.exe utility, which you can download from Microsoft’s website, can be used to diagnose (and in some cases fix) a wide variety of network configuration issues. 

Basic Connectivity Problems

Basic connectivity problems occur if

  • Systems are not physically connected;

  • There is a hardware or software problem on one of the systems or an intermediate device;

  • The packets are not correctly routed between the systems.

To start troubleshooting basic connectivity, log on to one of the affected systems and ping the system with which it has problems communicating. To do this, open a command prompt (Start -> Run, and then type cmd) and enter the following command:

Ping <IP address of target system>

In most cases, you should get a response showing the time it took to get a reply to the ping request and other statistics. If the system is not responding, you may get one of the following messages:

  • Request timed out— This simply means that you did not get a response in the expected time. In some cases, the target system may have been configured not to respond to a ping. You can test this on the target system by pinging its own IP address to make sure it is responding. If you suspect that the ping request timed out because of slow network conditions, you can try increasing the timeout value from the default value of 1 second. As an example, Ping -w 5000 <IP address of target system> will wait 5,000 milliseconds (5 seconds).

  • Destination Host Unreachable or Destination Network Unreachable— This is generally a response from a router indicating that no route is defined to the host or subnet.

Name Resolution Issues

Most Configuration Manager components rely on DNS for name resolution. In some cases, ConfigMgr also uses NetBIOS name resolution. Once again, you can use the ping command as a quick test of name resolution. At the command prompt, enter

  • Ping <FQDN of target system>

    For example:

    Ping bluebonnet.sccmunleashed.com

  • Ping <hostname of target system>

    For example:

    Ping bluebonnet

  • Ping <NetBIOS name of target system>

    For example:

    Ping \\bluebonnet

In each case, these commands should return a response showing the correct IP of the target system, such as the following:

Pinging bluebonnet.sccmunleashed.com [192.168.5.4] with 32 bytes of data:

If DNS name resolution fails, you can troubleshoot this using the NSlookup command described at http://support.microsoft.com/kb/200525. To troubleshoot NetBIOS name resolution using Nbtstat and other methods, see KB article 323388 (at http://support.microsoft.com/kb/323388). It’s also useful to test pinging the known IP address of the target machine—if that works then you have narrowed the issue to some sort of name resolution–related issue.

An additional DNS problem that sometimes occurs is an incorrect referral. Incorrect referrals occur when a hostname is used instead of an FQDN, and the wrong domain name is appended due to the DNS suffix search order. This typically results in “access denied” errors. If you see unexpected “access denied” errors, try pinging the site system using both the hostname and the FQDN to make sure they resolve to the same address.

Blocked or Unresponsive Ports

A common source of connectivity problems involves ports blocked by intermediate devices such as routers or firewalls. In other cases, the port may simply not be listening on the system to which you are trying to connect. To identify problems with specific ports. You can then attempt to connect to the specific port on the target system using the telnet command. For example, to verify that you can connect to the Trivial File Transfer Protocol (TFTP) Daemon service (port 69) on PXE service point Dabney.SCCMUnleashed.com, open a command prompt (Start -> Run, and then type cmd) and enter the following:

Telnet Dabney.SCCMUnleashed.com 69

If telnet is successful, you will receive the Telnet screen with a cursor. If the connection fails, you will receive an error message.

When a connection to a port fails, first verify that the service is listening on the appropriate port. On the machine that should receive the connections, enter the command netstat –a to list all connections and listening ports.

  • If the port is not shown, verify that all system requirements and prerequisites are met.

  • If the port displays as enabled, check all network firewall logs for dropped packets.

Refer to your network team or vendor firewall documentation for procedures for checking firewall logs. Also, check the Windows Firewall logs and settings (see http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/network/bb545423.aspx) and any third-party security software that performs intrusion detection and prevention.

Additional tools are available for troubleshooting port status issues, such as the following:

Going to www.microsoft.com/downloads and searching for PortQry will bring up links for both these tools.

Testing Client–to–Management Point Connectivity

To test client connectivity to an MP, you can try entering the following URLs in the client’s web browser.

For mixed mode clients:

http://<MP>/sms_mp/.sms_aut?mplist

http://<MP>/sms_mp/.sms_aut?mpcert

For native mode clients:

https://<MP>/sms_mp/.sms_aut?mplist

https://<MP>/sms_mp/.sms_aut?mpcert

Note that <MP> is either the IP address or the name of the management point. If a name is used, the name should be one of the following:

  • The NetBIOS name for mixed mode clients

  • Either the short name or the FQDN for intranet clients in native mode, depending on how the management point name is specified in the site properties

  • The FQDN for Internet clients

In each case, the first URL (the one ending in “mplist” in the preceding examples) should return an XML-formatted list of management points or a blank page, whereas the second URL (ending in “mpcert”) should return a string of characters corresponding to the management point certificate. Any error messages or other unexpected return values indicate a problem communicating with the management point.


Timeout Issues

The response times you see from the ping command can help you to confirm network performance problems that could be causing connections to time out. In some cases timeouts are configurable; however, if timeouts are a frequent problem, you should review your server placement and network configuration to see if improvements can be made.

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