Adjusting PPTP KeepAlive Frequency

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Article ID: 193841 - View products that this article applies to.
This article was previously published under Q193841
IMPORTANT: This article contains information about editing the registry. Before you edit the registry, make sure you understand how to restore it if a problem occurs. For information on how to do this, view the "Restoring the Registry" online Help topic in Regedit.exe or the "Restoring a Registry Key" online Help topic in Regedt32.exe.
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Some ISDN Connected Clients/Networks that use PPTP may notice high costs associated with continuos ISDN link caused by the idle inactivity timer never expiring. This PPTP keepalive packet can be controlled to reduce the frequency of this test so that it is greater than the idle inactivity timeout value. PPTP, by default, sends "keepalive" packet every 60 seconds to verify the tunnel. This frequency can be adjusted by altering the registry.


The keepalive traffic consists of an echo request and an echo reply. When there is no traffic through the tunnel for 60 seconds, the client sends an echo request to confirm the validity of the tunnel. To confirm that these keepalive packets are being sent, the user can use Network Monitor to parse the traffic.

The packets look like the following:
   PPTP: Control Packet (1): Echo Request (5)
   PPTP: Control Packet (1): Echo Reply (6)

Please note the release version of Network Monitor has to be altered to correctly display the PPTP packets. For additional information, please see the following article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:

164601 How to Enable PPTP Port for Network Monitor

This must be set at both ends of the connection to limit the "tunnel test"

The InactivityIdleSeconds registry setting starts a timer that measures the number of seconds between packets. When the timer reaches the default of 60 seconds, it instructs the system to send a control channel packet to the server. The EchoReplyTimeoutSeconds registry setting defines how long the client will wait for a response to the echo request.

WARNING: Using Registry Editor incorrectly can cause serious problems that may require you to reinstall your operating system. Microsoft cannot guarantee that problems resulting from the incorrect use of Registry Editor can be solved. Use Registry Editor at your own risk.

For information about how to edit the registry, view the "Changing Keys And Values" Help topic in Registry Editor (Regedit.exe) or the "Add and Delete Information in the Registry" and "Edit Registry Data" Help topics in Regedt32.exe. Note that you should back up the registry before you edit it. If you are running Windows NT, you should also update your Emergency Repair Disk (ERD).

To alter the default, the user must add the following registry parameters to the system.
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Services\Raspptpe\Parameters \Configuration\

InactivityIdleSeconds: REG_DWORD: default: 60 Number of seconds PPTP will go with no activity on the control channel.

EchoReplyTimeoutSeconds: REG_DWORD: default: 60 Number of seconds PPTP will wait for a reply from an echo request. If reply is not received, PPTP drops the connection.


For additional information, please see the following article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:

164601 How to Enable PPTP Port for Network Monitor

181431 How Windows NT RAS Handles Auto Disconnect


Article ID: 193841 - Last Review: October 31, 2006 - Revision: 1.1
  • Microsoft Windows NT Server 4.0 Enterprise Edition
  • Microsoft Windows NT Workstation 4.0 Developer Edition
  • Microsoft Windows NT Server 4.0 Standard Edition
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