Laptop locking and cannot print locally while connected to VPN

Posted on 2010-04-05
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2012-06-27
We just installed a Sonicwall TX210 at a client where they have a domain, Windows 2000 and 2003 servers and printers.

I setup one employee with the VPN on her 1 yar old Dell Laptop. She has  AT&T DSL service at home with a Linksys wireless router she connects to. there is an HP Photosmart printer connected to the router. I added a TCP/IP port to XP on her laptop and XP found the printer and installed the driver.
There are two problems:
1. When she connects to the VPN,. she cannot print to her HP printer at home.
2. When logged into the VPN, she launches Outlook on her which connects to the Exchange server at the main office. She sees her email properly but adfter sending one email, her system locks.
Question by:Tony Giangreco
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Expert Comment

ID: 29801729
Have you tried resetting her Linksys router?  After doing that, reinstall the printer.
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Accepted Solution

B H earned 1000 total points
ID: 29802197
the vpn kills local internet traffic - that's a function of the vpn, to secure the network.  the best she can do is "print" to it, then when she disconnects the VPN it will send the queue to her printer.

alternatively, you would have to engineer a pathway so you configure port tcp 9100 to pass from the internet, thru her local home router, to her local printer's internal ip address.  then when she clicks print (on the vpn) it goes from her laptop, to your network, to your internet provider, across the internet, to her internet provider, thru her local router, to her printer

how big of an email is she trying to send?  it might just take time to upload it to your exchange server

Expert Comment

ID: 29811905
Another solution would be to print to a pdf file (lots of free pdf printers available).
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Assisted Solution

scrathcyboy earned 1000 total points
ID: 29848081
byron is largely correct inn that when connected to a VPN, the LOCAL resources on the system must in general be deactivated, otherwise it can be a problem.  However, with printers, you should be able to fix this by setting up the printer as a TCP/IP printer.  This setting is hard to find in XP, but it is LOCAL printer, not network, and at the bottom of that screen is a pull down list to select TCP/IP printer.  You have to set the printer to be a hard physical IP address in the printer setup, and use that in the printer connect dialog.

Since it is infront of the router, this IP number should still be seen, even though you are VPN-ing to a different IP.  As for outlook, it is definitely going to see the office network, no matter what.

The CORRECT way to fix all this VPN problems, a-la Microsoft, is to create TWO profiles -- one for the office and one for the user.  It is a bit of a hassle, but once you do this, outlook will also see the local.
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Expert Comment

ID: 29848203
oops -- "one profile for the office and a different profile for the user when at home" is what I meant to say.
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Author Comment

by:Tony Giangreco
ID: 29906728
Hi scrathcyboy, I did setup the local printer as a TCP/IP printer plugged into the wireless router at this user's home. She can print to it until she logs into the VPN. It looks like the VPN locks everything else out to make the link secure. How can I easily include that local network printer in the remote network so it is part of the VPN?
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Expert Comment

by:B H
ID: 29907443
you can't easily include it in the vpn because all traffic is separated out...

in fact, if you trace a route from her house to www.google.com, while on the vpn, you'll see it goes like this:

tracert www.google.com
her machine > your vpn > your router at your office > your internet connection > the internet > google
(bypassing her own internet provider)

because the laptop is locked down, you'll need to do as i said above:

setup:  when she's not on the vpn, have her to go www.cmyip.com and get you her outside ip address
install the printer on the server, assign it a tcpip address of her house's outside internet connection
on her router at her house, forward port 9100 to the internal ip address of her printer

then, when she's on the vpn, make her print to "the printer on server", it will send it back thru the internet to her printer.

the only other way to get her to print while on vpn, is to get her connected to the printer by usb/parallel

LVL 24

Expert Comment

by:B H
ID: 29907575
also note, if her outside ip address at her house changes a lot, you can set her up a free account at www.dyndns.com

you'll create a hostname like, vpngirl.getmyip.com
you'll get a username/password from the site
you can program her home internet router to automatically log in and update her dyndns account

that way, when her ip address changes, her router will instantly update the hostname you made

in that case, set up your server-side printer connection tcpip port to print to vpngirl.getmyip.com (or whatever hostname you made) instead of her ip address, which will likely change
LVL 44

Expert Comment

ID: 29933288
"She can print to it until she logs into the VPN. "

Then you should have it plugged via USB directly into her computer, that will solve the problem.  You can buy parallel to USB adapters for $1 - $3 on Ebay.

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