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pairughdocks

[Input Req]Redesigning My Network

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I am the System's Administrator of an EMS organization and we employ approximately 50-60 members. Some quick overviews on the existing network..

 

  1. The router is a Linksys E900 SOHO Router that has been working out surprisingly well for the last year or two.
  2. The router then feeds to a unmanaged 3Com SuperStack Switch (sorry for the typo)
  3. The Wireless Access Point is a Linksys WAP4400N Level 2 AP
  4. The Windows 2008 R2 Server runs: Active Directory, DNS, DHCP, File Services, Print Services, and Network Services (VPN-PPTP)
  5. The client workstations (4) are all running Windows 7 Pro with a fairly restrictive GPO
  6. At any given time I may have up to 15 wireless devices connected (primarily: iPhones/iPads, android devices, and laptops Mac/Windows)

I just purchased a Dell PowerEdge 6850 with 24GB of RAM and 4x3.0GHZ Dual Core Processors as an upgrade from our old PowerEdge SC440 with 4GB RAM and 1x2.8GHZ Core2Duo Processor. I plan on using the old server as an Untangle Web Filter (which I have running on a MUCH older machine and isn't worth mentioning). The new server I am looking to run as many items in a VM as possible without degrading the network. I want my VM's to backup weekly so we have a minimal chance of a data loss and guaranteed "restore points" that I can rely on should something need migrated or catastrophically fail. 

 

I guess what I'm asking is realistically, how would you deploy this network, I would like to almost totally "redo" it, the only thing I am limited by is where the computers physically are. The reason is some of the computers are logging on VERY slow (5-10 minute) times, while other's are zipping right into the AD. So between that and the new hardware coming it will give me some time to re-do some things.

 

Any insight/pro-tips would be incredibly helpful. Thanks!

 

Edit: Point of interest, I am debating "UniFi" as the wireless management solutions, but I would like to use my existing access points? I'm not sure if that is even a possibility? I haven't done as much research as should have since I have had limited time lately

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"The reason is some of the computers are logging on VERY slow (5-10 minute) times"

What are you clients dns - you have something WRONG if it takes more than a few seconds to login.

No you can not use Unifi with other AP.

Managed switch doing what? Do you have actual vlans, is your wireless isolated from your wired for example?

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"The reason is some of the computers are logging on VERY slow (5-10 minute) times"

What are you clients dns - you have something WRONG if it takes more than a few seconds to login.

No you can not use Unifi with other AP.

Managed switch doing what? Do you have actual vlans, is your wireless isolated from your wired for example?

 

  1. No the DNS settings are all the same on each machine
  2. I guess that rules out UniFi for now
  3. No I do not have actual Vlans (that was a typo, and I will fix that, it is UNmanaged)
  4. The Wireless is on the same 192.168.1.x network - no separation. 

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Some recommendations

Get rid of the unmanaged junk if you can replace it with some real cisco gear which can be found cheaply online.

Get 2 or 3 .Net cards from smartcard focus and implement smart card login its very simple.

Switch to SSTP for the VPN (TMG can do this)

Two servers + Starwind ISCSI = cheap failover clustering

As for wireless if you can get some cisco gear go for WPA 2 enterprise PEAP with optional smart card login (instead of mschap 2)

If you do plan on using vlans don't get it confused with trunking just use static vlans ie switchport access vlan x

Great project for learning.

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"No the DNS settings are all the same on each machine"

Which is what? Members of AD should ONLY - and I mean ONLY being pointing at your AD dns.. If they point to your router for example then its the reason for your issue with slow login.

If your looking to updated your network then yeah I would go with a managed switch and a min isolate your wired from your wireless network.

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"No the DNS settings are all the same on each machine"

Which is what? Members of AD should ONLY - and I mean ONLY being pointing at your AD dns.. If they point to your router for example then its the reason for your issue with slow login.

If your looking to updated your network then yeah I would go with a managed switch and a min isolate your wired from your wireless network.

 

 

The workstation computers are pointing to the AD server (192.168.1.2) as their only DNS server. nslookup resolves forward and reverse lookups appropriately.

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Then it makes no sense that it should take 5 to 10 minutes to log in, you need to run dcdiag and find out what is taking so long - clearly something is wrong.

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Then it makes no sense that it should take 5 to 10 minutes to log in, you need to run dcdiag and find out what is taking so long - clearly something is wrong. 

 

I know toss all about networks, but I had this at work when someone's profile was pulling down each time with all his files.

 

Like I said, I know toss about it, and not my dept.

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I've attached my DCDiag output, lots of passes - yet everything but one or two workstations log in fine, and everything resolves via Nslookup, and on the internet? Now I'm REALLY confused.

DCDIAG_01-06-14.txt

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......................... THOR failed test Connectivity

Doing primary tests

Testing server: Default-First-Site-Name\THOR

Skipping all tests, because server THOR is not responding to directory

service requests.

That's a bad thing, Not diagnostics. I suspect you disabled a critical service on the dc when doing your hardening by linking the gpo to the domain not an ou.

If this is the case make some OU's like

CORPNET.LOCAL

---DOMAIN CONTROLLERS

---CORPNET COMPUTERS*

--------CLIENTS*

--------SERVERS*

---CORPNET USERS*

--------DOMAIN ADMINISTRATORS*

--------SERVICE ACCOUNTS*

--------LOCAL ADMINISTRATORS*

And link the gpos where marked instead of the entire domain

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......................... THOR failed test Connectivity

Doing primary tests

Testing server: Default-First-Site-Name\THOR

Skipping all tests, because server THOR is not responding to directory

service requests.

That's a bad thing, Not diagnostics. I suspect you disabled a critical service on the dc when doing your hardening by linking the gpo to the domain not an ou.

If this is the case make some OU's like

CORPNET.LOCAL

---DOMAIN CONTROLLERS

---CORPNET COMPUTERS*

--------CLIENTS*

--------SERVERS*

---CORPNET USERS*

--------DOMAIN ADMINISTRATORS*

--------SERVICE ACCOUNTS*

--------LOCAL ADMINISTRATORS*

And link the gpos where marked instead of the entire domain

 

I will absolutely look into that, most of the restrictions, however, are basic ones such as "no run box," "no task manager," nothing really involving services or anything but I will look into it. I've also been researching the *._msdcs.eatvac.org could not be resolved to an IP address error" and seeing that a lot of other users have had a similar problem. Thank you for the prompt reply!

 

Edit: I've also attached my GPO

East_Allen_EMS_GPO.zip

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yeah clearly

"Skipping all tests, because server THOR is not responding to directory"

Is not a good sign ;)

Also your AD domain resolves on the public net, not a FAN of doing this at all.. Can cause all kinds of grief.. Would normally suggest use of AD domain that is not a global TLD, something like .lan or .local .adnet - something that is not active tld on the public net.

;; QUESTION SECTION:

;eatvac.org. IN A

;; ANSWER SECTION:

eatvac.org. 86400 IN A 74.208.159.244

What does your DC point to for dns?? Should be pointing to itself or another AD dns server in your network. Should not be pointing to isp or public or router, etc.

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It has been setup with a botched tld for awhile now... at the time I wasn't aware that use eatvac.local would be a best practice, I got a good head smack for that one. The DC (thor) is pointing to 192.168.1.2 (proper IP) forward and reverse. Attached both logs from DNS. Then to circumvent the issue we were having with www.eatvac.org not being accessible internally I just added a www host to point to our webserver IP.

Forward_Lookup_DNS.txt

Reverse_Lookup_DNS.txt

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what is this?

(same as parent folder) Host (A) 74.208.159.244 static

You have eatvac.org pointing to that public IP?

You need to address this

"Skipping all tests, because server THOR is not responding to directory"

That clearly is not good ;)

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The same as parent folder I replaced that with 192.168.1.2 - that should not have been, only "supply, support, test, internal, and www" should have pointed to our webhost IP. Same as parent folder is now 192.168.1.2 (HUGE OVERSIGHT, thanks for catching that, because I wouldn't have noticed it :() - now I released and renewed DHCP on my workstations, and for DNS I did a flush and register, and now logons seem to be improved tremendously. HOWEVER, this still does not resolve the "Skipping all tests.. error" - which you would think would be causing more problems?

 

Edit: I believe I resolved it by making some slight changes here and there and now I pass. I am getting TONS of errors now though about a printer (that is currently offline, so maybe that's why?)

DCDIAG_01-06-14_RESOLVED.txt

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I wouldn't be so worried about printer stuff, but this points to something out of whack.

An Warning Event occurred. EventID: 0x00001695

Time Generated: 01/06/2014 13:40:52

Event String:

Dynamic registration or deletion of one or more DNS records associated with DNS domain 'eatvac.org.' failed. These records are used by other computers to locate this server as a domain controller (if the specified domain is an Active Directory domain) or as an LDAP server (if the specified domain is an application partition).

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No errors left :) everything seems to be good now. MUCH QUICKER (even than before) log ons! BudMan, +2 to you! I guess now I just have to review some of the proposed network solutions for redesign. Unfortunately we can't do much with CISCO since our budget does not allow for such equipment.

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Well there are plenty of budget managed/smart switches on the market that would allow for vlans. How many ports do you need? You could always go with a smaller ported managed/smart switch as your core and then just use dumb switches in the closets or to add port count.

You could go with something something like a router distro, pfsense, m0n0wall, smoothwall, ipcop on some old pc hardware to give you a decent firewall/router at your edge vs some soho wireless thing. A e900 is something you would run in your house if you ask me, not a place of business.

You would be amazed at what you can accomplish on a shoestring budget ;) A cheap PC hardware with bit of ram and you could run content filtering with squid, ntop for reporting, snort for IDS, etc. Could run a captive portal for your guest wireless, using WPA enterprise for your normal wireless, etc. etc.

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The E900 was a serious quick fix when our original router took a dive. I'm looking at a NetGear FVS338 or FVS538 VPN/Firewall combo to allow for IPsec VPN as opposed to PPTP via Server 2008 which we have right now. When the new server arrives it will be a virtual Server 2008 installation and the old server will be an Untagle server more than likely running web filtering, and reporting. I love that it integrates with AD but I would like a free alternative so I can have users authenticate via their AD credentials and have their activity logged. I also would like to segment our Wifi and have a guest network so when we have "company" they don't have access to internal resources etc... Basically popping up our internet terms of service upon connection. I will definitely look into some of the router distros you mentioned as I have never heard of some of those and I'm sure you wouldn't mention them if they weren't looking into ;)

 

Edit: It looks like m0n0wall will be the winner for router distro :D

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pfsense is a fork of m0n0wall - m0n0wall rocks it for router/firewall. Pfsense adds some bells and whistles is all.

It would be a fine choice to be sure.

If you ask me ipsec is dying as a road warrior solution to vpn access - I would look more to openvpn to be honest. It can run over 1 port (443 SSL for example) which is pretty much ALWAYS open no matter your location. Can even work over a proxy, for example to get ipsec vpn to work at a hotel quite often you have to request that type of connection.

Openvpn has released clients for both android and ios devices that works great. My ipad for example - click, click and vpn'd into my home network from anywhere there is wifi connectivity since when do they block 443.. While ipsec vpns use ESP protocol 50 and 51 AH and ISAKMP.. Its a fairly complicated solution that is not always available. There are better solutions to be sure.

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My only concern with OpenVPN is it can not run as a server on Windows (so it seems), but I do agree with the logic... lots to think about there.

 

Edit: I'm dumb... http://forums.openvpn.net/topic7806.html

 

Smh... I'm going insane with all of this ;)

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Who told you that?

https://community.openvpn.net/openvpn/wiki/Easy_Windows_Guide

But I would not suggest running it on a "server" inside your network be it linux, bsd or windows or OS X. The VPN endpoint belongs on the edge of the network - not some box "inside" the network.

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So what you're saying is create a dedicated server specifically for OpenVPN?

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No what I am saying it run it on the edge ;) With pfsense for example its click, click and up and running - one of those bells and whistles I was saying that m0n0wall does not have ;)

post-14624-0-83922700-1389047748.png

Whatever you pick for your router distro - it supporting the vpn server would be a nice bell or whistle ;)

You can run into problems with a vpn endpoint inside a NAT as an endpoint. For starters that server inside your network is NOT the gateway of your other devices on your network. So you might need to NAT your vpn clients into your lan network. Or create other routes, be it on your other edge router or the other hosts in your network. Or use tap vs tun interface where you bridge the remote clients into your network.. Now your sending broadcast traffic over a wan connection, etc. etc.

Its nothing that can not be worked out - but it is much simpler if the vpn endpoint is at your networks edge/gateway anyway.

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Ah, I see! Hmm, I was really liking m0n0wall, which would be an IPsec VPN on the edge, but pfsense does look like it will integrate the VPN much easier. My users are absolutely TERRIFIED of technology so OpenVPN would make their connecting in a bit easier. I hope you are getting paid for schooling me in Windows networking... if not, I'll send cookies or something. I learned more today than I have in classes.

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