be it ever so humble, there's no place like home.
i am speaking of the advanced client, of course. i think i stumbled upon a scenario that seems undocumented. i've checked the following scenarios, both of which are good reads; neither of which discusses my scenario. anyway, here are the links, if you have interest.
since it's not mentioned, i'll describe mine.
i've a certain number of clients which are managed by the central site server. the reason for doing this is that the primary site server is shared. using the central server, allowed me some greater flexibility on access rights. the central site server has no distribution points since nor any boundaries. i can rely on the other site servers to handle the DP functions required for the clients reporting directly to central.
the clients themselves have their sitecode set to the central site server. this scenario works pretty well except when clients are sitting at a location where no site server is holding boundaries for that site. ordinarily, you shouldn't find yourself in this situation unless a site server goes south, which coincidentally happened to me. once the site server disappeared, so did the distribution point and any management of clients in that location. this does extend to the central site client that i referred to earlier - to some extent.
the client continues to function correctly since it can speak to the MP which is located at my office. the real problem is distributions are halted to this client. the missing piece of information is that if the client is in an area where no distribution points exist, it refers back to the assigned site to find distribution points to use as remote DPs. if you'll recall, the central site server has no DPs. at this point, the client simply stops any further searches.
thanks for the help wally.