What does the IPX watchdog packet do?

What does the watchdog packet do in NetWare 5.1 server?
The IPX watchdog packet is used to monitor a user session. When the workstation boots and get the login screen, an IPX/SPX protocol session is established with the server. The server sends a watchdog packet to the workstation every 5 minutes to check it is there. If the workstation responds, the server knows that everything is fine.

If the workstation does not respond 3 times in a row (15 minutes) then the session is timed out on the server, the workstation is cleared from the active nodes and, if the user is logged in, the login is cleared.

Also consider:

Dial on demand circuits: The watchdog packet will keep dial on demand links active. This is bad. To work around this network router, use watchdog spoofing, where the router will reply to the watchdog just to keep the server happy, but not activate the link. Of course, sessions don?t time out very well, but you have to break a couple of eggs...

You can tune the watchdog packet timer, but this is a bad idea. Once you change a default you have to set the watchdog default on the clients and routers as well.

Chatty protocol: The watchdog packet is very small and doesn?t take up much bandwidth. But is does add to overall load.
This was first published in June 2001

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