Printing to a remote printer through the internet

Lock asked:

I have a remote network (A) that is connected to a head office (B) through a private network.
Network A only has 1 PC that requires the connection, and this is into a terminal server at network B.

We want to save money by getting rid of the private network as only 1 PC now access it and it seems silly to pay ~$400 per month for something that is accessed by 1 PC. A VPN tunnel is out of the question as the provider wants to charge $600 a month for a VPN tunnel (more than a private network? I might get them to check these numbers).

I was thinking of 2 options:
1) VPN client on the PC. This wouldn’t cost a thing as we already have VPN users available.
2) Open up a port on the firewall of network B, forwarding to the terminal server.

Now the problem is this:
On the terminal server, the program that is accessed is for printing labels to the printer that is at network A. The program is setup to send all print jobs to a printer that is setup locally on the terminal server, which has its port mapped to the IP address of the printer that is at network A.

If we got rid of the VPN tunnel and used clients/open up firewall port, the printer would no longer be able to find network A, and hence printing would not work.

Any ideas to combat this issue? Can the printers at the remote network be setup as internet printers? I’ve never had any experience with internet printers. Can you open up ports and map to a public static IP address?

My answer:

Actually it sounds like you have a PC and a printer on network A, and you’re printing from the terminal server on network B, via some proprietary network “thing” that’s costing you $400 a month for something that should be approximately free (i.e. a VPN).

The VPN approach would be easiest (and, as I said, approximately free since you already have the VPN infrastructure) and would only require you to adjust the relevant IP address/port numbers so the terminal server can continue to reach the printer.

The simplest solution would probably be to install the label-printing program on a PC at site A and forget about running everything back and forth over the network twice.

View the full question and any other answers on Server Fault.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.