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As you say, they are the way some McAfee products talk to EPO. It's tcpip traffic as you say. There's lots of information on EEPC/Data Channels on kc.mcafee.com - what version of EPO you need to be on before they are supported over NAC/Firewalls etc.
The usual problem is that the EPO server can't directly resolve the IP of the host.
Fantastic! took a look through the KB's and after conferring with Platinum, we seem to have an answer as to why the systems that stay inactive also have EEGo Data Channel failures.
For people who may look at this thread- KB68628 talks about the need for the Agent wakup port to be available. when the client creates the events and sends them to ePO, ePO has no way to communicate back without that port.