Phone VPN disconnected after 5 minutes idle by MS power saver RRS feed

  • Question

  • I have been directed here from the Windows 10 Mobile Insider forums - http://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/insider/forum/insider_wintp-insider_security/vpn-disconnected-after-5-minutes-idle-by-ms-power/75ec3624-a451-45a2-9cb9-65f5a0479205.

    We are trying to comply with UK government security guidance (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/end-user-devices-security-guidance-windows-phone-81-update-2/end-user-devices-security-guidance-windows-phone-81-update-2) and connect our corporate devices to our corporate network with an 'always on' VPN. This includes Windows Phone 8.1 update 2 and Windows 10 Mobile phones.

    As with our laptops, we connected using the Junos Pulse client. This worked fine on the laptops, but on Windows Phones, while the connection appeared to still be up, it stopped passing data after 5 minutes of idle time. I believe this is done by the phone attempting to save power. Any apps that don't have an element that allows them to keep running in the background are killed. This seems to be confirmed because the connection can be maintained if the phone is kept on power. There is no apparent background element of the VPN client to allow it to keep running.

    With Windows 10, I thought the built in VPN client was much more similar to the client on a laptop, so I hoped this might resolve the problem. I also thought that being a built in client, it would be treated as part of the OS and so Microsoft would not kill it. To make sure it is all MS, we also built a Server 2012 RRAS server, which works very well with our Windows 8.1 & 10 laptops.

    However, last week we managed to establish a PPTP VPN from the Windows 10 Mobile phone to our RRAS server. It connected - and after 5 minutes, although it showed as being up, traffic stopped. The only way to start it again was to disconnect and reconnect.

    We tested the VPN connectivity from an iPhone and and iPad. They connected with no problem, and the connection stayed up throughout the test, over several hours.

    I had been hoping that Windows Phones had reached a point where they may be suitable for the corporate market and particularly UK local government. However, for us, this is a deal breaker. I just wondered if anyone else had experienced this problem, or had any comment or (hopefully) solution to this problem, apart from switching our corporate device standard to iOS or Android?

    • Edited by Eric_Baines Monday, November 16, 2015 3:30 PM spelling check
    Monday, November 16, 2015 3:25 PM

All replies

  • I've upgraded to the latest version of Windows 10 Mobile (10586) which is rumoured to the be the RTM.

    Although the details of the update don't mention VPN, it seems to behave completely differently. The briefest of tests suggest that the five minute idle disconnect may have been fixed?

    There is also a new Pulse Secure VPN client, which seems to have a background agent which can be added to the power savings exclusion. I've not tested it yet, but that may help too.

    Friday, November 20, 2015 1:00 PM