Printing across VPN

I have two Netgear FVS318 VPN routers connecting two offices.  I have a thermal label printer in the remote office USB connected to one XP workstation.  The users from the main office need to print to the printer in the remote office across the VPN.  We also have a Windows Server 2003 product in the main office.

Is it better to make the printer Jet Direct enabled and make a IP print queue on the Server that then prints across the VPN to the remote printer?  -or-

Make the XP workstation the print server to the USB connected printer and have main office clients print to it directly.

I guess it comes down to performance.  What is lighter in bandwidth utilization?  Pre-queue data or post-queue data?

I look forward to your feedback.


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In the scenario you describe, bandwidth will be nearly identical...  the JetDirect print server and the XP workstation will be doing the exact same thing - translating ethernet data to "printing" data.  Performance wise, a dedicated ethernet print server (JetDirect) should be faster since it was built specifically only to print (via hardware), while the XP workstation will use software spooling to print.  Even so, unless the workstation is being used heavily, users should not see a difference in printing speed.

The only main difference between the two interfaces in question is price and ease of use... do you share the printer for free or do you spend some money for the JetDirect.  Plus with JetDirect device, the XP box would not need to be on all the time to print serve (which can be a hassle if the desktop is being rebooted, etc.).

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Windows Server 2003

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