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I have a Dell Precision M6300 laptop with ubuntu 14.04 LTS installed, that I use at work for linux software. I was working from a satellite office, and connected to the head office using VPN to pick up the software license, and it was working fine.

However, I did notice that whenever I worked from home (both over ethernet and wireless), this laptop would give a "VPN connection failed" message. I did find a workaround for this, which involved disconnecting the laptop from the home router, turning on the mobile hotspot on my mobile phone, connecting the laptop to the mobile hotspot, and making the VPN connection over the mobile internet connection, and it would work.

So this ubuntu laptop makes the VPN connection successfully from the satellite office, over my mobile internet, and over a couple of other locations (other people's homes), but does not connect on my home network (on either cable or wireless). I should also mention that I also have a Windows 7 work laptop that has no issues with the same VPN connection, even from my home.

I am in the UK, my home ISP is Virgin Media and the router is a "Super Hub VMDG490".

What can I do to either diagnose or fix the problem?

When I use the tail -f /var/log/syslog and try to connect from my home network (and I fail) I get this:

Feb 22 17:27:46 VEC-ubuntu-precision-m6300 NetworkManager[764]: <warn> error disconnecting VPN: Could not process the request because no VPN connection was active.
Feb 22 17:27:52 VEC-ubuntu-precision-m6300 NetworkManager[764]: <info> VPN service 'pptp' disappeared
Feb 22 17:28:18 VEC-ubuntu-precision-m6300 pptp[2399]: nm-pptp-service-2387 warn[open_inetsock:pptp_callmgr.c:329]: connect: Connection timed out
Feb 22 17:28:18 VEC-ubuntu-precision-m6300 pptp[2399]: nm-pptp-service-2387 fatal[callmgr_main:pptp_callmgr.c:127]: Could not open control connection to XX.XX.XX.XXX
Feb 22 17:28:18 VEC-ubuntu-precision-m6300 pptp[2396]: nm-pptp-service-2387 fatal[open_callmgr:pptp.c:487]: Call manager exited with error 256
Feb 22 17:29:05 VEC-ubuntu-precision-m6300 wpa_supplicant[802]: wlan0: CTRL-EVENT-SCAN-STARTED 
Feb 22 17:29:10 VEC-ubuntu-precision-m6300 wpa_supplicant[802]: nl80211: send_and_recv->nl_recvmsgs failed: -33
Feb 22 17:29:18 VEC-ubuntu-precision-m6300 pptp[2431]: nm-pptp-service-2422 warn[open_inetsock:pptp_callmgr.c:329]: connect: Connection timed out
Feb 22 17:29:18 VEC-ubuntu-precision-m6300 pptp[2431]: nm-pptp-service-2422 fatal[callmgr_main:pptp_callmgr.c:127]: Could not open control connection to XX.XX.XX.XXX
Feb 22 17:29:18 VEC-ubuntu-precision-m6300 pptp[2429]: nm-pptp-service-2422 fatal[open_callmgr:pptp.c:487]: Call manager exited with error 256
Feb 22 17:30:07 VEC-ubuntu-precision-m6300 NetworkManager[764]: <info> Starting VPN service 'pptp'...
Feb 22 17:30:07 VEC-ubuntu-precision-m6300 NetworkManager[764]: <info> VPN service 'pptp' started (org.freedesktop.NetworkManager.pptp), PID 2463
Feb 22 17:30:07 VEC-ubuntu-precision-m6300 NetworkManager[764]: <info> VPN service 'pptp' appeared; activating connections
Feb 22 17:30:07 VEC-ubuntu-precision-m6300 NetworkManager[764]: <info> VPN plugin state changed: starting (3)
Feb 22 17:30:07 VEC-ubuntu-precision-m6300 NetworkManager[764]: <info> VPN connection 'Vectayn' (Connect) reply received.
Feb 22 17:30:07 VEC-ubuntu-precision-m6300 pppd[2467]: Plugin /usr/lib/pppd/2.4.5/nm-pptp-pppd-plugin.so loaded.
Feb 22 17:30:07 VEC-ubuntu-precision-m6300 pppd[2467]: pppd 2.4.5 started by root, uid 0
Feb 22 17:30:07 VEC-ubuntu-precision-m6300 pppd[2467]: Using interface ppp0
Feb 22 17:30:07 VEC-ubuntu-precision-m6300 pppd[2467]: Connect: ppp0 <--> /dev/pts/3
Feb 22 17:30:07 VEC-ubuntu-precision-m6300 NetworkManager[764]:    SCPlugin-Ifupdown: devices added (path: /sys/devices/virtual/net/ppp0, iface: ppp0)
Feb 22 17:30:07 VEC-ubuntu-precision-m6300 NetworkManager[764]:    SCPlugin-Ifupdown: device added (path: /sys/devices/virtual/net/ppp0, iface: ppp0): no ifupdown configuration found.
Feb 22 17:30:07 VEC-ubuntu-precision-m6300 NetworkManager[764]: <warn> /sys/devices/virtual/net/ppp0: couldn't determine device driver; ignoring...
Feb 22 17:30:07 VEC-ubuntu-precision-m6300 pptp[2470]: nm-pptp-service-2463 log[main:pptp.c:314]: The synchronous pptp option is NOT activated
Feb 22 17:30:38 VEC-ubuntu-precision-m6300 pppd[2467]: LCP: timeout sending Config-Requests
Feb 22 17:30:38 VEC-ubuntu-precision-m6300 pppd[2467]: Connection terminated.
Feb 22 17:30:38 VEC-ubuntu-precision-m6300 NetworkManager[764]: <warn> VPN plugin failed: 1
Feb 22 17:30:38 VEC-ubuntu-precision-m6300 NetworkManager[764]:    SCPlugin-Ifupdown: devices removed (path: /sys/devices/virtual/net/ppp0, iface: ppp0)
Feb 22 17:30:38 VEC-ubuntu-precision-m6300 pppd[2467]: Modem hangup
Feb 22 17:30:38 VEC-ubuntu-precision-m6300 NetworkManager[764]: <warn> VPN plugin failed: 1
Feb 22 17:30:43 VEC-ubuntu-precision-m6300 pppd[2467]: Exit.
Feb 22 17:30:43 VEC-ubuntu-precision-m6300 NetworkManager[764]: <warn> VPN plugin failed: 1
Feb 22 17:30:43 VEC-ubuntu-precision-m6300 NetworkManager[764]: <info> VPN plugin state changed: stopped (6)
Feb 22 17:30:43 VEC-ubuntu-precision-m6300 NetworkManager[764]: <info> VPN plugin state change reason: 0
Feb 22 17:30:43 VEC-ubuntu-precision-m6300 NetworkManager[764]: <info> Policy set 'VM247013-2G' (wlan0) as default for IPv4 routing and DNS.
Feb 22 17:30:43 VEC-ubuntu-precision-m6300 NetworkManager[764]: <warn> error disconnecting VPN: Could not process the request because no VPN connection was active.
Feb 22 17:30:48 VEC-ubuntu-precision-m6300 NetworkManager[764]: <info> VPN service 'pptp' disappeared

When I do the same over my mobile network (and it works) I get this:

Feb 22 17:46:40 VEC-ubuntu-precision-m6300 dnsmasq[1100]: setting upstream servers from DBus
Feb 22 17:46:40 VEC-ubuntu-precision-m6300 dnsmasq[1100]: using nameserver 192.168.43.1#53
Feb 22 17:46:40 VEC-ubuntu-precision-m6300 avahi-daemon[676]: Joining mDNS multicast group on interface wlan0.IPv6 with address aa80::21a:3aaa:aa12:aa99.
Feb 22 17:46:40 VEC-ubuntu-precision-m6300 avahi-daemon[676]: New relevant interface wlan0.IPv6 for mDNS.
Feb 22 17:46:40 VEC-ubuntu-precision-m6300 avahi-daemon[676]: Registering new address record for aa80::21a:3aaa:aa12:aa99 on wlan0.*.
Feb 22 17:46:40 VEC-ubuntu-precision-m6300 NetworkManager[764]: <info> Activation (wlan0) successful, device activated.
Feb 22 17:46:40 VEC-ubuntu-precision-m6300 dbus[628]: [system] Activating service name='org.freedesktop.nm_dispatcher' (using servicehelper)
Feb 22 17:46:40 VEC-ubuntu-precision-m6300 dbus[628]: [system] Successfully activated service 'org.freedesktop.nm_dispatcher'
Feb 22 17:46:40 VEC-ubuntu-precision-m6300 whoopsie[1015]: online
Feb 22 17:46:47 VEC-ubuntu-precision-m6300 ntpdate[2687]: adjust time server TT.TTT.TT.TTT offset 0.090452 sec
Feb 22 17:46:58 VEC-ubuntu-precision-m6300 NetworkManager[764]: <info> (wlan0): IP6 addrconf timed out or failed.
Feb 22 17:46:58 VEC-ubuntu-precision-m6300 NetworkManager[764]: <info> Activation (wlan0) Stage 4 of 5 (IPv6 Configure Timeout) scheduled...
Feb 22 17:46:58 VEC-ubuntu-precision-m6300 NetworkManager[764]: <info> Activation (wlan0) Stage 4 of 5 (IPv6 Configure Timeout) started...
Feb 22 17:46:58 VEC-ubuntu-precision-m6300 NetworkManager[764]: <info> Activation (wlan0) Stage 4 of 5 (IPv6 Configure Timeout) complete.
Feb 22 17:47:08 VEC-ubuntu-precision-m6300 wpa_supplicant[802]: wlan0: CTRL-EVENT-SCAN-STARTED 
Feb 22 17:47:12 VEC-ubuntu-precision-m6300 wpa_supplicant[802]: nl80211: send_and_recv->nl_recvmsgs failed: -33
Feb 22 17:47:20 VEC-ubuntu-precision-m6300 NetworkManager[764]: <info> Starting VPN service 'pptp'...
Feb 22 17:47:20 VEC-ubuntu-precision-m6300 NetworkManager[764]: <info> VPN service 'pptp' started (org.freedesktop.NetworkManager.pptp), PID 2710
Feb 22 17:47:20 VEC-ubuntu-precision-m6300 NetworkManager[764]: <info> VPN service 'pptp' appeared; activating connections
Feb 22 17:47:20 VEC-ubuntu-precision-m6300 NetworkManager[764]: <info> VPN plugin state changed: init (1)
Feb 22 17:47:20 VEC-ubuntu-precision-m6300 NetworkManager[764]: <info> VPN plugin state changed: starting (3)
Feb 22 17:47:20 VEC-ubuntu-precision-m6300 NetworkManager[764]: <info> VPN connection 'Vectayn' (Connect) reply received.
Feb 22 17:47:20 VEC-ubuntu-precision-m6300 pppd[2714]: Plugin /usr/lib/pppd/2.4.5/nm-pptp-pppd-plugin.so loaded.
Feb 22 17:47:20 VEC-ubuntu-precision-m6300 pppd[2714]: pppd 2.4.5 started by root, uid 0
Feb 22 17:47:20 VEC-ubuntu-precision-m6300 pppd[2714]: Using interface ppp0
Feb 22 17:47:20 VEC-ubuntu-precision-m6300 pppd[2714]: Connect: ppp0 <--> /dev/pts/3
Feb 22 17:47:20 VEC-ubuntu-precision-m6300 pptp[2717]: nm-pptp-service-2710 log[main:pptp.c:314]: The synchronous pptp option is NOT activated
Feb 22 17:47:20 VEC-ubuntu-precision-m6300 NetworkManager[764]:    SCPlugin-Ifupdown: devices added (path: /sys/devices/virtual/net/ppp0, iface: ppp0)
Feb 22 17:47:20 VEC-ubuntu-precision-m6300 NetworkManager[764]:    SCPlugin-Ifupdown: device added (path: /sys/devices/virtual/net/ppp0, iface: ppp0): no ifupdown configuration found.
Feb 22 17:47:20 VEC-ubuntu-precision-m6300 NetworkManager[764]: <warn> /sys/devices/virtual/net/ppp0: couldn't determine device driver; ignoring...
Feb 22 17:47:20 VEC-ubuntu-precision-m6300 pptp[2734]: nm-pptp-service-2710 log[ctrlp_rep:pptp_ctrl.c:251]: Sent control packet type is 1 'Start-Control-Connection-Request'
Feb 22 17:47:20 VEC-ubuntu-precision-m6300 pptp[2734]: nm-pptp-service-2710 log[ctrlp_disp:pptp_ctrl.c:739]: Received Start Control Connection Reply
Feb 22 17:47:20 VEC-ubuntu-precision-m6300 pptp[2734]: nm-pptp-service-2710 log[ctrlp_disp:pptp_ctrl.c:773]: Client connection established.
Feb 22 17:47:21 VEC-ubuntu-precision-m6300 pptp[2734]: nm-pptp-service-2710 log[ctrlp_rep:pptp_ctrl.c:251]: Sent control packet type is 7 'Outgoing-Call-Request'
Feb 22 17:47:21 VEC-ubuntu-precision-m6300 pptp[2734]: nm-pptp-service-2710 log[ctrlp_disp:pptp_ctrl.c:858]: Received Outgoing Call Reply.
Feb 22 17:47:21 VEC-ubuntu-precision-m6300 pptp[2734]: nm-pptp-service-2710 log[ctrlp_disp:pptp_ctrl.c:897]: Outgoing call established (call ID 0, peer's call ID 10015).
Feb 22 17:47:21 VEC-ubuntu-precision-m6300 pppd[2714]: CHAP authentication succeeded
Feb 22 17:47:21 VEC-ubuntu-precision-m6300 kernel: [ 1556.382975] PPP BSD Compression module registered
Feb 22 17:47:21 VEC-ubuntu-precision-m6300 kernel: [ 1556.397676] PPP Deflate Compression module registered
Feb 22 17:47:22 VEC-ubuntu-precision-m6300 pppd[2714]: local  IP address L.LL.LLL.LLL
Feb 22 17:47:22 VEC-ubuntu-precision-m6300 pppd[2714]: remote IP address R.RR.RRR.RR
Feb 22 17:47:22 VEC-ubuntu-precision-m6300 pppd[2714]: primary   DNS address D.DD.DDD.DDD
Feb 22 17:47:22 VEC-ubuntu-precision-m6300 pppd[2714]: secondary DNS address 8.8.8.8
Feb 22 17:47:22 VEC-ubuntu-precision-m6300 NetworkManager[764]: <info> VPN connection 'Vectayn' (IP4 Config Get) reply received from old-style plugin.
Feb 22 17:47:22 VEC-ubuntu-precision-m6300 NetworkManager[764]: <info> VPN Gateway: GG.GG.GG.GGG
Feb 22 17:47:22 VEC-ubuntu-precision-m6300 NetworkManager[764]: <info> Tunnel Device: ppp0
Feb 22 17:47:22 VEC-ubuntu-precision-m6300 NetworkManager[764]: <info> IPv4 configuration:
Feb 22 17:47:22 VEC-ubuntu-precision-m6300 NetworkManager[764]: <info>   Internal Address: L.LL.LLL.LLL
Feb 22 17:47:22 VEC-ubuntu-precision-m6300 NetworkManager[764]: <info>   Internal Prefix: 32
Feb 22 17:47:22 VEC-ubuntu-precision-m6300 NetworkManager[764]: <info>   Internal Point-to-Point Address: R.RR.RRR.RR
Feb 22 17:47:22 VEC-ubuntu-precision-m6300 NetworkManager[764]: <info>   Maximum Segment Size (MSS): 0
Feb 22 17:47:22 VEC-ubuntu-precision-m6300 NetworkManager[764]: <info>   Forbid Default Route: no
Feb 22 17:47:22 VEC-ubuntu-precision-m6300 NetworkManager[764]: <info>   Internal DNS: D.DD.DDD.DDD
Feb 22 17:47:22 VEC-ubuntu-precision-m6300 NetworkManager[764]: <info>   Internal DNS: 8.8.8.8
Feb 22 17:47:22 VEC-ubuntu-precision-m6300 NetworkManager[764]: <info>   DNS Domain: '(none)'
Feb 22 17:47:22 VEC-ubuntu-precision-m6300 NetworkManager[764]: <info> No IPv6 configuration
Feb 22 17:47:23 VEC-ubuntu-precision-m6300 NetworkManager[764]: <info> VPN connection 'Vectayn' (IP Config Get) complete.
Feb 22 17:47:23 VEC-ubuntu-precision-m6300 NetworkManager[764]: <info> Policy set 'Vectayn' (ppp0) as default for IPv4 routing and DNS.
Feb 22 17:47:23 VEC-ubuntu-precision-m6300 NetworkManager[764]: <info> Writing DNS information to /sbin/resolvconf
Feb 22 17:47:23 VEC-ubuntu-precision-m6300 dnsmasq[1100]: setting upstream servers from DBus
Feb 22 17:47:23 VEC-ubuntu-precision-m6300 dnsmasq[1100]: using nameserver 8.8.8.8#53
Feb 22 17:47:23 VEC-ubuntu-precision-m6300 dnsmasq[1100]: using nameserver D.DD.DDD.DDD#53
Feb 22 17:47:23 VEC-ubuntu-precision-m6300 NetworkManager[764]: <info> VPN plugin state changed: started (4)
Feb 22 17:47:23 VEC-ubuntu-precision-m6300 dbus[628]: [system] Activating service name='org.freedesktop.nm_dispatcher' (using servicehelper)
Feb 22 17:47:23 VEC-ubuntu-precision-m6300 dbus[628]: [system] Successfully activated service 'org.freedesktop.nm_dispatcher'
Feb 22 17:47:23 VEC-ubuntu-precision-m6300 pptp[2734]: nm-pptp-service-2710 log[logecho:pptp_ctrl.c:677]: Echo Request received.
Feb 22 17:47:23 VEC-ubuntu-precision-m6300 pptp[2734]: nm-pptp-service-2710 log[ctrlp_rep:pptp_ctrl.c:251]: Sent control packet type is 6 'Echo-Reply'
Feb 22 17:47:31 VEC-ubuntu-precision-m6300 ntpdate[2789]: adjust time server TT.TTT.TT.TTT offset 0.069434 sec
  • 1
    connect: Connection timed out The following can cause this problem: 1: Your router doesn't support PPTP traffic 2: Your ISP doesn't support PPTP traffic 3: You have only a ipv6 connection from your home 4: The workplace is filtering traffic based on incoming address 5: Ubuntu uses other PPTP extensions than Windows and your router gets confused by this 6: The laptop connects to a other ip address than you Windows machine by a mistake – Ferrybig Feb 23 '16 at 12:59
  • @Ferrybig thanks that gives me some ideas for now. If Windows works using the same router we can rule out 1 & 2, if Ubuntu works using the same VPN settings on mobile we can rule out 6. Sounds like investigating 5 would be the most promising. – Jeffrey Lam Feb 23 '16 at 16:10
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I had thought it was an ubuntu issue, because Windows worked. However, I fixed the issue by changing router settings. Googling "VMDG490 VPN" came up with a lot of helpful links, such as here, here and here.

Virgin Media hubs have "PPTP Pass-Through" disabled by default. Therefore I needed to log in to my router by typing 192.168.0.1 into a browser, entering my settings password, going to "Advanced Settings", then "Security/Firewall", then on the firewall page, tick "PPTP Pass-Through" (other VPN users may want to tick "IPSec Pass-Through"), and finally click "Apply".

The change has fixed the issue: my ubuntu laptop now connects to the VPN using my home network.

Sorry this has gone off-topic, but I didn't realise it was not ubuntu-related until I found the solution. However, it is still a mystery why Windows did work using the same router to the same VPN server, the guides linked above are aimed at Windows users, so Windows should not have worked.

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