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[opensuse-security] SSH access refused for legitimate user under heavy load

Hi all,
I use SSH forced commands and key authentication to execute remote
commands from a web application on a computation server.

I use this approach on ubuntu 8.10, Fedora and Suse linux enterprise server 10.

The SSH commands are sent based on a cron job that executes the remote
commands each minute.  The amount of SSH commands sent depends on the
requests that the web application had written to a database.  Most of
the time, the cron job executes *no* commands.  However, under heavy
load, it can execute to 7 SSH commands each minute.

It turns out that on Suse, the SSH server (or firewall, or ...)
already refuses access when about three SSH commands need to be sent.

The error message sent to CRON is as follows:
> ssh: connect to host <themachinedns> port 22: Connection timed out
(I have omitted the domain name of the actual machine here).

I guess this indicates on Suse the Firewall (iptables?) blocks
connections, right?

Can you please help me figure out how to overcome this problem?
Please note that I have not configured iptables before...

Kind regards and thanks in advance,
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