Once more into the breech (browsing problems)

Stephen L Arnold arnold.steve at ensco.com
Wed Dec 16 18:24:00 GMT 1998

Howdy all:

I thought I had this problem beaten into submission, but I guess 
not.  We just got our first NT box, which is another new wrinkle...

Anyway, the LAN just went belly-up again yesterday, and when the 
LAN guy disconnected my linux/samba box from the network, Network 
Neighborhood came right back.  I still don't think it's a 
linux/samba problem, but I'm certainly no authority on network 
troubleshooting (but then, neither is our LAN guy...).


16 win95 (OSR/2) clients, 1 NT4SP3 (workstation) client, 1 
linux/samba box (RH 4.2, kernel 2.0.30, 1.9.18p8).  Almost all 
clients (including linux) are configured to dial out to a local ISP 
for mail, internet, etc.  They also dial one of two corporate WAN 
connections (VPN on the corp side hasn't quite worked as advertised 
yet) so some of the clients have multiple external DNS, etc, 

For the LAN, I have identical hosts and lmhosts on each client, as 
well as /etc/hosts and /etc/lmhosts on the samba box (no WINS yet). 
 TCP/IP is the only protocol being used currently.  Samba is set to 
be the local master & preferred master with OS level = 65, so it 
should beat out the NT box (right?).


Everything seems to work fine for a week or so (except the 
occasional windoze box getting confused, losing network 
neighborhood, getting rebooted, and then coming back).  Then 
browsing gets completely hosed up.  Even mapping a network drive 
with an explicit path doesn't work.  In the past, hit and miss 
troubleshooting (eg, swapping NICs in a machine that can't see 
others, fiddling with cables and connectors, etc) fixes it for a 
while, but the problem always comes back.  We can ping all day 
long; the problem is not with the TCP/IP layer.  Also, all the 
tests in diagnosis.txt work fine.  Any ideas anyone?  We have no 
real network analysis tools, etc.  Are we just clueless, or does 
this SMB/CIFS stuff just suck the big schween?  Can a network card 
appear to work but send out crap that confuses other machines?  
We're in the process of converting over from 10Base2 to 10Base-T; 
is it possible for these kinds of problems to be caused by flaky 
coax connectors, bad cable, etc?  It seems to me that if it was 
really hardware related, then the TCP/IP layer wouldn't work either.

I'm going to try some of the samba config parameters (name resolve 
order, WINS, etc) but it seems to me these problems shouldn't be 

Any tips, pointers, ideas, would be greatly appreciated.  Thanks in 
advance, Steve

Stephen L. Arnold                        Senior Systems Engineer
ENSCO Inc.                        email:  arnold.steve at ensco.com
P.O. Box 5488                         www:  http://www.ensco.com
Vandenberg AFB, CA  93437             voice: 805.734.8232 x68838
                                               fax: 805.734.4779
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