How to Print to WAN Printer

goldylamont
goldylamont used Ask the Experts™
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Hello, I am looking into the feasibility of having people in a separate office print to our main office over a WAN. Each office has it's own separate firewall and Static IP address.

I would like any experts suggestions **that have actually done this configuration before**. I know theoretically it can work, but I'd like to know how stable this setup works and how hard it was to implement for you.

I'm assuming I will need to do port forwarding and/or NAT routing on the two firewalls in this equation. After determining how many hours this would take to implement I can suggest to client whether we should proceed. End result should be rock solid printing over WAN.

For demonstration purposes, please assume:
Remote Office WAN IP:  88.88.88.88
Main Office WAN IP: 99.99.99.99
Main Office Printer LAN IP:  192.168.1.99
Printer ports used for communication??

thanks!
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David AtkinTechnical Director
Top Expert 2015

Commented:
Hello,

The easiest way for this to work would be to create a VPN between the sites.  You wont be able to get this to work successfully through natting.

The most simple way of doing this would be to create a site to site VPN between the two routers (If they have the feature).
bfrostmbiSystem Admin

Commented:
PTP VPN like stated above or give the printer an public ip address on main office router with nat to its private ip. Setup ACL to only allow access from Remote IP and only to the ports needed. Then just setup the printer on the Remote office machines or print server as a network printer referencing the External IP address of the main office printer. Depending on the router config at the remote office you may need to configure the ACL to allow the correct ports as well.

Do they have AD domains setup at both sites? VPN with appropriate domain trusts and you can share alot more then just printers.

Author

Commented:
thanks guys, site-to-site VPN is not an option. I would have to go over the WAN as specified.

bfrostmbi, have you actually implemented your solution of printing over the WAN using an External IP and Port forwarding? I understand this is a solution before asking the question. Thanks for the suggestion--however would help me a lot to know how challenging this was to setup, and how stable it is working for you in the real world.

thanks!
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System Admin
Commented:
As long as everything is static. No problems except SECURITY. Remember this information is not excrypted or protected in any way. I would not set this up my self. I would educate the customer and propose the 1st solution. Another option is using an eprinting service so that there is no router configuration involved and you are not exposing internal assests to the world. One option might be http://www.printershare.com/ or similar software. Basically connecting a printer which connected to a printer server or pc via software to some web service.

In your case if the 1st is an absolute no then the print anyware software may be the best option.

Author

Commented:
dude, the PrinterShare software looks like the way to go. if you have any other suggestions for services that you've used or would recommend i'm all ears.

VPN is NOT an option. And printing over the WAN seems like it's too complicated and unsecure otherwise.

thanks
Depends on the printer model.
Printers these days can offer RAW, LPR, IPP, FTP, HTTP and even HTTPS printing.

There are also several solutions on the market that offer secure remote printing without drivers, usually via HTTPS

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