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Network says "connected" but doesn't work

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I have run into a problem with TCP/IP networking on my XP-based tablet PC (service pack 2). I'm stumped.

At work, I have an ethernet switch with a number of D-Link DUB-E100 USB-to-Ethernet converters (network adapters) attached to the ports. I point is to be able to walk over, plug one of the USB plugs in to the tablet PC's USB port to get a network connection. (I can't use the RJ45 jack.. that's a different story).

So what happens is that often times the network will fail to work correctly if I have the USB device already connected when I power up the tablet or when coming out of standby. The network will 100% work if I hot-plug the USB device in when the computer is already on.

The strange part is that everything looks great in Windows XP. The USB device is acquired, and if I look in the Network Connections screen it shows a connected 100MB/s network, same as it looks when it really is working.

I can tell it isn't working because I can't ping anything (get "Request timed out") And if I configure the tablet to "Obtain IP Address Automatically", it won't do it. It can never handshake with the DHCP server. But as soon as I unplug the USB, and then plug it in again... voila. it works. And once it works it will work for as long as the tablet is connected to it, whether I shutdown, standby or not.

If during shutdown or standby I unplug the device, and plug it into a different USB device, the problem is recreated.

I did see a security audit error that IPsec had a problem with network connections. Could that be related?

Does anyone have any suggestions? Thanks very much.
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