Cisco AnyConnect Secure Mobility Client VPN slow using AT&T U-verse

Problem:

I was recently struggling with a slow or unusable VPN connection when using Windows 8.1, Cisco AnyConnect Secure Mobility Client VPN version 3.1.04066, and a Wireless connection to a 2Wire Gateway 3600HGV. 

Without VPN, my speedtest.net results are:

image

With VPN, my speedtest.net results are:

image

Solution: 

The solution that I found so far was to edit a field in a file called preferences.xml.  This file is found under

/<Username>/AppData/Local/Cisco/Cisco AnyConnect Secure Mobility Client

Originally, there was a line that showed this…

<SDITokenType></SDITokenType>

and my performance results were…

I edited the file using Notepad to look like this instead…

<SDITokenType>none</SDITokenType>

Now, my performance results are…

image

Then I removed

<AutoConnectOnStart>false</AutoConnectOnStart>
<BlockUntrustedServers>true</BlockUntrustedServers>
<LocalLanAccess>true</LocalLanAccess>

Now, my perfomrnace results are…

image

When VPN doesn’t work, its frustrating to figure out what has gone wrong.  This solution worked for me so far.  I hope it works for you.

Upgrading to AT&T Uverse from AT&T Elite plan

I finally decided to upgrade my broadband connection from 6 Mbps to 12 Mbps.  I blogged about the surprises that came up with respect to costs  (Advertisement vs Actual Cost of 12 MBps High Speed Internet).  In this blog, I’ll write about my experience from a technical view.

The first thing that happened two days prior to installation was that I received a Self Installation Kit. 

image

image

It came with the usual fair, one 2-to-1 and three 1-to-1 DSL filters, Ethernet cable (yellow cable), Data line (green cable), power supply, stand, and a 3600HGV Gateway. 

Gateway 3600HGV

I was surprised to see the Gateway 3600HGV as it is pretty big compared to Speedstream modem used for 6 Mbps broadband.  When used with a stand, the 3600HGV Gateway takes about 5.5”W x 12.5”H x 10.75”D of space.  Here are some snapshots I took before I started hooking things up.

image

Without the stand

image

Bottom portion of the face.  Individual LEDs light up to show link status on Ethernet, Wireless, and Broadband connection.

image

Rear view.  The Gateway 3600HGV provides four Ethernet ports, one DSL port, and two phone lines.  To the left of the device is a power port and a reset button.

First problem encountered

The ATT technician arrived in the morning and after he was finished working on the DSL line outside of the house, he knocked on my door and told me, “Everything is ready.  Go ahead and connect your DSL Gateway and you should be able to get internet access.”

I thought this guy knew what he was doing and trusted that he was right that everything was ready to go.  He said a few “Thank You”s and left.  My mistake!

After I connected the Gateway 3600HGV to my computer, to power, and to the DSL data lines, nothing worked.  All my calls and live chats to ATT customer support was not able to get my internet connection back.

Note to readers:

Before the AT&T technician leaves, make sure you’re able to get internet access.

After enough tries and not getting anywhere, I scheduled for an ATT technician to come in and determine what the problem is.  The only time he had available was the next day.  More time lost!  Silly me to think that upgrading would be as simple as plugging things together.

After the ATT technician arrived he quickly figured out that in order for higher bandwidth to work in my house, internal wiring had to be fixed.  Fixing meant landline phone lines had to be separated from the high-speed DSL line.  The lines are identical at my house – they are both copper wires.  The difference is that, to minimize noise and interference, it would be better to separate the lines so that one set of wires is dedicated to landline phones while the other is to be used only for broadband DSL traffic. 

All this work would cost $99.00.  I declined to pay the fee because there was nothing mentioned when I signed up that explained that there would be additional fees like this.  All that was advertised was that paying an extra $5 would double your internet speed.

Second problem encountered

Next problem was having the Gateway work with my Linksys E4200 router.  I couldn’t figure out how to get it to work together.  When I was using the 6 Mbps Elite Plan, my Linksys E4200 router’s Ethernet cable simply plugged directly to the Speedstream DSL modem.  But, connecting the Linksys E4200 router to the Gateway 3600HGV was entirely different – and I still can’t figure out how to make it work.  Its not simple that’s for sure.  I’ll have to search through forums to make it work. 

It turns out the Gateway functions in similar fashion to my Linksys E4200 router.  It provides wireless access as well as wired access.  For now, the solution is to not use the Linksys E4200 router.  For wireless devices, I had to add the Gateway’s SSID and password.  The good news is that the SSID and password are clearly imprinted on a sticker on the side of the Gateway.  It can’t be missed.  Setting up devices to get wireless access is really simple.  For wired devices, simply plug Ethernet cables to the Gateway.

Bandwidth measurements

Using www.speedtest.net, my download speed topped out at roughly 5.18 Mbps and my upload speed topped out at 0.65 Mbps before upgrading.

image

After the upgrade, my download speed hit 11.51 Mbps and my upload speed hit 1.41 Mbps.  Its great that its more than double my original speed but I don’t get the advertised download speed of 12 Mbps

image

Am I satisfied?

Cost is too much.  My rates just increased fro $48 to $51 in just a month.  I’ll keep tracking the prices but the price hikes are just ridiculous.

As for the speed, well, why don’t I get 12 Mbps as it states on the ATT website?  What I pay for should be what I get.  For now, I’ll stick with ATT until something better comes a long.

Lost time.  The fact that I had to wait for two service technicians in a span of two days cost me a lot of productivity.  Second, being without internet for more than a day is really disruptive to me.  It sure made me realize how important the internet is and how crucial it is to modern day life.  Its another utility – a luxury utility.

There is a bandwidth limit of 250 GB per month.  The ATT website states this.

image

I never thought I’d see limits to internet use.  This could get tricky now that I have more devices using the broadband connection – we use Netflix often on our Smart TV, sometimes Pandora,  Roku, multiple computers, hand held devices, etc.. all vying for data.

Last words

I hope you found my write up about my experience helpful.  If you have any questions or want to know more, feel free to post a comment.