I have a problem with one of our clients trying to initiate a TCP connection to our server but it fails.

In tcpdumpI see, that the client's device sends a SYN packet to which our server correctly replies with a SYN ACK. Immediately after that, our server receives a RST packet. After a few seconds the procedure repeats. Strangely enough, the connection is correctly established from time to time (about every 2 days around 8:30 am).

I have tried redirecting the packets to another server but get the same problem with that server.

Today I tried connecting the other way round. Our client currently does not have a port opened in his firewall, but I tried connecting anyways to see what happens. I used ssh to try the connection from different machines, here is what I discovered:

From my personal computer (Mac OS X 10.10): ssh: connect to host x.x.x.x port 22: Connection refused

From the server that is receiving the SYNpackets (Debian 8): ssh: connect to host x.x.x.x port 22: No route to host

From another server in a different hosting center (Debian 7): ssh: connect to host x.x.x.x port 22: No route to host

From another server in a larger company (Debian 7): ssh: connect to host x.x.x.x port 22: Operation timed out

The response I get from my personal computer at home is what I expect if the port is not opened in the firewall, but I am confused by the different outputs I get from the different servers.

Pinging the client's IP from any of these machines works fine.

Could I be looking at a routing problem here, where my SYN-ACK packages are routed incorrectly and therefor (almost) never reach the client? Do you have any suggestions on how to tackle the problem? Should I contact the client's ISP, or maybe my server provider?

Thank you for your help.


I did some further research on Jeff's Questions. Here are my results: IP TTL SYN: 55 IP TTL RST: 59 I am currently waiting on the client to grant me access to his network, so I cannot currently see if he receives the SYN-ACK or if he sends the RST

Traceroute: 1 x.x.x.x 25.793 ms 5.516 ms 5.516 ms 2 x.x.x.x 4.140 ms 4.172 ms 4.166 ms 3 x.x.x.x 4.158 ms 4.147 ms 4.139 ms 4 x.x.x.x 9.855 ms 9.877 ms 9.874 ms 5 x.x.x.x 15.506 ms !X 15.753 ms !X 15.970 ms !X The traceroute from my computer at home ist the same on the last two hops. Both traceroutes have 5 hops.

There is no firewall or load balancer at the server end.

The routing tables look good on the servers receiving the no route to host. They mainly consist of the default route and the local subnet route both working without a problem on all other occasions.

2 Answers 2


I don't have enough reputation to leave a question so these are more questions than answers, but they should point you in the right direction or allow others to provide more insights into the issue.

-What is the IP TTL (or hop limit if IPv6) in the SYN and RST?
-What does a capture from the client show?  
    -Does it receive the SYN-ACK, and does it send the RST?
-What does a traceroute look like?
    -How many hops between the server and the client?  
-Is there a firewall, load balancer or other network 
 device fronting  (NAT, VIP) the server?
-What do the routing tables look like for the servers 
 receiving the No Route to Host?
  • Thank you for your input. I added the information to my original post. Using the information I gathered, It seems like the client's router sends out the RST packets, as the original SYN packet has a TTL of 55, but the RST only of 59, witch corresponds exactly to the 5 hops in between the server and the client's public IP. Hopefully I can get access to the client's router and find out more there. I am a little confused about the 4 hops difference, as the client is a private household and I would have expected no more than 2 hops there.
    – Tim
    Jan 23, 2017 at 11:34

It all comes down to a configuration problem. The client granted me access to his network today and I found out, that he basically had two devices with the same IP-Address, resulting in a routing problem in his network.

Changed one of the IP-Addresses: Solved.

Thank you for your help.

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