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Printing to LAN printer while on VPN

Discussion in 'Networking' started by yorkshire_red, Oct 7, 2008.

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  1. yorkshire_red

    yorkshire_red Thread Starter

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    At home we have a desktop PC with a couple of printers attached connected to the broadband router. When I'm working at home I can use my laptop to connect to the wireless router and print to either of the printers unless I connect remotely to my office VPN.

    OK, I know the office network admin would have to allow split tunneling to let me access the local resources, and I know about the security implications of that, but how about this? If, before I connect to the VPN, I open the print spooler dialog box for ither printer and keep it open and then connect to the VPN, the route to the local printers stays open and I can print to them. What's going on there?

    Sometimes (OK, often) I might forget to open the spooler before connecting, then once I'm ready to print my data its too late to disconnect from the VPN without having to re-run the report. Very frustrating! If I can force the route to the local printers to stay open when I connect to the VPN, shouldn't I be able to open ip the route to them if I'm already connected?

    Is there any way I can inspect what's going on with the routing in this setup? I'm not a technical person, though I'm just about smart enough to have worked out how to set up my local network without help. Any suggestions as to what I could try would be gratefully accepted.

    Thanks

    Yorkie
     
  2. zx10guy

    zx10guy Trusted Advisor Spam Fighter

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    What VPN client are you using?

    I just did a test using repeated pings to my printer along with opening up the print spooler and got zero connectivity after I initiated my VPN connection with my Cisco VPN client.

    I would say there's a significant hole/bug in the VPN setup you're using and I would report this to your IT folks. I know it's going to be a pain for you as they'll probably look into closing up this security hole which would make your life that much more difficult.

    The only thing I could suggest for you to overcome this problem is to directly attach to the printer via a USB connection.
     
  3. yorkshire_red

    yorkshire_red Thread Starter

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    I'm just using the Windows XP software VPN client.
     
  4. DoubleHelix

    DoubleHelix Banned

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    I don't know what opening the print spooler dialog box before establishing a VPN connection gets you. I don't even know what you man by a "print spooler dialog box". The bottom line is that you can't connect to resources on the local network while you have a secure tunnel established with another network. This is for security purposes.

    This question is becoming more common as telecommuting becomes more prevalent. Maybe one day there will be a utility available to do this, but I don't believe anything exists at the moment.
     
  5. avisitor

    avisitor

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    Well, a temporary solution would be to print to file and then print that file once you're disconnected.
     
  6. zx10guy

    zx10guy Trusted Advisor Spam Fighter

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    It's been a while since I've configured the built in XP software client. But as far as I know by default, the XP client operates under split tunneling. I also don't recall any provision to force all traffic down the tunnel by policy.

    The reason why VPN setups like Cisco is used in a corporate environment is because of the ability to set security settings at the VPN server and push them down to the client. The end user has no ability to make any changes to the way the VPN client is set up.
     
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