Always On VPN and Interface Metrics

Always On VPN DNS Registration Update Available

In Windows, each network interface identified by the operating system is assigned a metric value. Interface metrics are settings that determine the priority or preference of network interfaces when there are multiple active network connections. The Windows networking stack uses these metrics to determine which network interface should be used for routing traffic when multiple network interfaces are available. Network interface metrics are critical for Always On VPN administrators to understand because they can impact how name resolution requests are processed when an Always On VPN connection is established.

Metric Values

By default, Windows automatically assigns metric values to network interfaces (including VPN interfaces) based on various factors, including the connection speed, link state, and interface type. It tries to select the most suitable interface for general internet connectivity.

Metrics and DNS

Windows will also use the network interface with the lowest metric value as the preferred interface for sending DNS queries by default. This means that DNS queries will be routed through the network interface with the lowest metric value, assuming it is available and connected. When an Always On VPN connection is established, DNS queries may fail or return unexpected results if the network interface metrics are not configured optimally.

Split DNS and Wired Ethernet

Split DNS (sometimes called ‘split brain DNS’) is when the DNS namespace is the same internally and externally. The most common scenario where interface metric settings interfere with DNS operation is when using split DNS and the endpoint is connected to the Internet with a wired Ethernet connection. In this scenario, the Ethernet interface will be assigned the same or lower interface metric value as the Always On VPN interface, which can yield unexpected results.

Viewing Metrics

Always On VPN administrators can view currently assigned interface metric values by running the following PowerShell command.


Assigning Metrics

Most Always On VPN administrators will never have to change interface metric settings. However, if your implementation uses split DNS and some of your endpoints connect using wired Ethernet connections, you may need to update the interface metric settings to ensure proper DNS operation. Choose a setting for the interface metric value that is lower than the wired Ethernet interface. I’ve used a value of ‘3’ without issue for many years. Use one of the following methods to update the interface metric for Always On VPN connections.


Updating interface metric settings in Windows can be accomplished by running the Set-NetIpInterface PowerShell command.

Set-NetIpInterface -InterfaceAlias <connection name> -InterfaceMetric 3

Note: Using PowerShell to assign the interface metric is not persistent! While this method is suitable for local validation testing, you should use one of the following methods to implement this change permanently.


To assign the interface metric permanently, Always On VPN administrators can edit the following settings in the rasphone.pbk configuration file.



Administrators can automate updating this setting using the Update-Rasphone.ps1 PowerShell script. In addition, the following scripts can be used with Microsoft Intune remediation.










Organizations using PowerON Platforms’ Dynamic Profile Configurator (DPC) to manage Always On VPN client configuration settings with Active Directory and group policy or Microsoft Intune can enable the VPN Tunnel Metric setting.

Additional Information

Get-NetIpInterface PowerShell Command

Set-NetIpInterface PowerShell Command

Managing Always On VPN Client Settings with DPC

Always On VPN DPC with Microsoft Intune

Always On VPN DPC Advanced Features

Always On VPN DPC Video Demonstration

PowerON Platforms Always On VPN Dynamic Profile Configurator (DPC)

Always On VPN Short Name Access Failure

Using Microsoft Endpoint Manager (Intune), administrators can provision Always On VPN to devices that are Azure AD joined only. Users accessing on-premises resources from these devices can still use seamless single sign-on, making this deployment option popular for organizations moving to the cloud.

Short Names

After deploying Always On VPN to Windows 10 devices that are Azure AD joined only and configured to use client certificate authentication, administrators may find that users cannot access on-premises resources by their short name, such as \\app1. The connection fails and returns the following error message.

“Windows can’t find <servername/sharename>. Check the spelling and try again.”


Interestingly, on-premises resources are accessible using their fully qualified domain name (FQDN), such as \\


Testing name resolution using the short name works as expected, and the resource is reachable at the network layer, as shown here.


This issue is related to how Windows performs authentication when connected via VPN. To resolve this issue, edit the rasphone.pbk file and change the value of UseRasCredentials to 0. Rasphone.pbk can be found in the $env:AppData\Microsoft\Network\Connections\Pbk folder.

After updating this setting, restart the VPN connection for the change to take effect.

Proactive Remediations

While helpful for testing, editing rasphone.pbk manually obviously does not scale well. To address this, consider using Intune Proactive Remediations. Intune Proactive Remediations allows administrators to deploy detection and remediation PowerShell scripts to monitor specific settings and update them if or when they change. Proactive Remediations will ensure the setting is applied consistently across all managed endpoints.

GitHub Repository

I have created a new GitHub repository dedicated to PowerShell scripts for Endpoint Manager Proactive Remediations for Always On VPN. There you will find detection and remediation scripts for the UseRasCredentials settings change described in this article.

Additional Information

Always On VPN Endpoint Manager Proactive Remediation Scripts on GitHub

Endpoint Manager Proactive Remediations Tutorial

Always On VPN Proxy Server Configuration

Always On VPN Proxy Server Configuration

Web proxy servers are not as common today as they once were, but a few organizations still leverage them to provide secure Internet access for their employees. Commonly they are used to inspect and control Internet traffic and to enforce acceptable use policies. Some organizations may wish to extend this protection to Always On VPN clients in the field by enabling force tunneling. Administrators can define a web proxy server for Always On VPN connections globally for web traffic or individual websites or domains.

VPN Proxy

A VPN web proxy server can be defined when the Always On VPN user tunnel connection uses force tunneling. Although you can still configure a VPN web proxy server with split tunneling enabled, it will not work. It is only functional when force tunneling is in use.

Administrators can configure a VPN web proxy server using the Microsoft Endpoint Manager UI or custom XML deployed with Endpoint Manager or PowerShell. Administrators can define a VPN web proxy server explicitly, or a proxy automatic configuration (PAC) file can be specified.

Note: VPN proxy server settings only work when force tunneling is enabled. Force tunneling is an unsupported configuration for the device tunnel, making the global proxy server setting for the device tunnel unsupported.

Proxy Autoconfiguration

Perform the following steps to configure a VPN web proxy server with a PAC file in Endpoint Manager.

  1. Expand the Proxy section in the Configuration settings of the Always On VPN configuration profile.
  2. Enter the URL for the PAC file in the Automatic configuration script field. Be sure to include the port number in the URL when using a non-standard port.
  3. Leave the Address and Port number fields blank.
  4. Choose Enable or Disable from the Bypass proxy for local addresses drop-down list.

To configure a VPN web proxy server with a PAC file using custom XML, include the following code between the <VPNProfile> and </VPNProfile> tags in the Always On VPN XML configuration file.

Explicit Proxy

Perform the following steps to configure an explicit VPN web proxy server in Endpoint Manager.

  1. Enter the IP address, hostname, or fully qualified domain name (recommended) in the Address field.
  2. Enter the port number in the Port number field.
  3. Choose Enable or Disable from the Bypass proxy for local addresses drop-down list.

To configure an explicit VPN web proxy server using custom XML, include the following code between the <VPNProfile> and </VPNProfile> tags in the Always On VPN XML configuration file.

Namespace Proxy

Administrators can also define VPN web proxy servers on a per-namespace or per-hostname basis. Namespace VPN proxy servers can be helpful for scenarios where routing public websites over the Always On VPN connection is required. Most commonly, this is necessary because the public website restricts access to the IP address of the on-premises Internet gateway.

A namespace VPN proxy server is implemented using a Name Resolution Policy Table (NRPT) rule. At the time of this writing, a bug in Microsoft Endpoint Manager prevents administrators from deploying this option using the UI.

As you can see here, administrators can specify a proxy server as part of an NRPT rule in the Endpoint Manager UI. Notice this section of the UI validates the proxy FQDN correctly.

Always On VPN Proxy Server Configuration

However, when you try to save the configuration profile, Endpoint Manager returns the following error.

“Unable to save due to invalid data. Update your data then try again: ProxyServerUri must be a valid URL or be empty.”

Interestingly, when entering a URL such as in the Proxy field, the Endpoint Manager UI accepts it and successfully validates. But according to the VPNv2 Configuration Service Provider (CSP) reference, the value must be entered as an IP address. A hostname or FQDN also works based on my testing. Entering a URL as shown in the example above will not work at all.

With that, the only way to implement a namespace VPN web proxy server is to use custom XML. To do this, include the following code between the <VPNProfile> and </VPNProfile> tags in the Always On VPN XML configuration file.

Include the leading “.” to specify the entire domain, as shown above. Omit the leading “.” to specify an individual host (for example, Repeat this section for each additional host or domain, as required.


Unfortunately, the Microsoft Internet Explorer web browser is the only browser that functions with the namespace VPN web proxy server. All modern web browsers, including Microsoft Edge, ignore the namespace proxy setting entirely, which seriously limits this feature’s usefulness in most organizations today.


If routing a public website over the Always On VPN tunnel is required, adding its IP address(es) to the Always On VPN connection’s routing table is needed. However, doing this presents some unique challenges, as public websites frequently have many IP addresses, which are often dynamically changing. Also, it is common for public websites to pull content from many different domains or use Content Delivery Networks (CDNs), making the problem of identifying which IP addresses to add to the Always On VPN connection’s routing table even more challenging. Further, administrators must update the client configuration each a public website’s IP address changes, adding significant management overhead.


Routing client Internet traffic through an on-premises web proxy server for Always On VPN clients works well when force tunneling is enabled. Administrators can explicitly define a web proxy server or use a proxy automatic configuration (PAC) file. All web browsers work without issue in this scenario. Using a namespace proxy is only effective when browsing with Microsoft Internet Explorer. All modern web browsers, including Microsoft Edge, ignore namespace proxy settings.

Additional Information

Windows 10 Always On VPN and the Name Resolution Policy Table (NRPT)

Windows 10 VPNv2 Configuration Service Provider (CSP) Reference

Windows 10 Always On VPN Client DNS Server Configuration

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