Over the last few days I’ve been running into a problem with Mac OS 10.6 clients and the SonicWall SSL VPN client, NetExtender. The client computers were able to resolve DNS properly prior to installation. The problem didn’t appear until after the software was connected to a endpoint, and then disconnected. Once the connection was ended, boom, no DNS resolution.
I had already updated the endpoint device, a SRA 1200, and the NetExtender was whatever version came with SRA 1200 firmware SonicOS SSL-VPN 188.8.131.52-20sv, which was the most recent firmware available at the time of writing.
I started with a review of the release notes of the SonicWall firmware, which mention a problem with Mac OS prior to version 10.6.5 and NetExtender. I updated one of the client Macs to 10.6.5, but still no luck.
A call to SonicWall ended up with them giving me a new version of the NetExtender software for the Mac, version 5.0.680. I updated the first client and Success! I was able to connect, disconnect, and then continue to resolve DNS.
I thought my problems were over until I re-connected to test that the VPN was still working. Now on version 5.0.680 I was unable to resolve DNS on the other end of the VPN tunnel when connected. I could resolve DNS on my local subnet, and on the internet, but I was unable to resolve anything on the internal DNS servers at the main office that I was connecting to. I verified that I could telnet to port 53 across the tunnel, a NSlookup test proved that I the records I was looking for did exist.
I flushed the dns cache, I verified the /etc/resolv.conf file had the two DNS servers that the NetExtender had placed in there when I connected, and I verified with telnet that a firewall was not blocking DNS to the DNS servers.
I called SonicWall back and after much discussion they recommended that we roll back to version 5.0.679. I downloaded the file, removed the current NetExtender and then attempted to re-install the version 5.0.679. It would not allow me to re-install, stating that a more current version was already installed.
I was able to bypass this error by performing the following:
Drop to Command line and enter the following commands:
sudo rm /private/var/db/receipts/com.sonicwall.NetExtender.bom
sudo rm /private/var/db/receipts/com.sonicwall.NetExtender.plist
sudo rm /etc/ppp/sslvpn.*
I then rebooted the Mac and was able to install NetExtender version 5.0.679. Once installed I tested again. I was able to connect and resolve DNS, good. I was able to disconnect and continue to resolve DNS, even better. And Finally I was able to connect again and continue to resolve DNS still. Version 5.0.679 on Mac OS 10.6.5 was what ended up working for me.
I’ve attached version 5.0.679 for download if you’re experiencing the same problem. NetExtender.MacOSX.5.0.679
Update 1: Upon further review, it appears that NetExtender version 5.0.679 breaks the bonjour protocol on the Macs that it is installed on. To circumvent this problem we actually went back to version 5.0.680, and statically configured a hosts file for all of the major resources on the other end of the VPN tunnel. Click Here to see how to manually edit a hosts file on a Mac. You can download version 5.0.680 here: NetExtender.MacOSX.5.0.680
Update 2: Thomas (see below) pointed out that it doesn’t matter what’s in the resolv.conf file as Mac OS 10.6 and higher no longer uses this file to determine DNS servers. My writing about about double checking this file will have no impact on this particular problem. The rest of the article will still help you work around the problem though, so good luck!