Remote PC printing problem over a QVPN connection to WRVS4400N

Unanswered Question
Nov 15th, 2009

Hi,  I am trying to print on a LAN printer locally attached to a WRVS4400N, from a remote PC (Vista) connected to the router using QVPN.  I think I have all the latest QVPN software on the laptop (although I don't see an "about" menu to find out what version QVPN it is), and the router has v1.1.13 firmware.  Vista is up to date as well.

I exported the router certificate to the the laptop, set up the VPN Client account on the router, and connected properly.  I can browse to various embedded servers inside all of the devices attached to the home network by browsing to the various device IP addresses, including the router and the printer.  From the web server in the printer, I can print a test page too, so I know that the VPN connection is working.

But I can't print from a windows application, access a network attached storage server, or see other PC's on the home network from the remote location over the QVPN connection.  The home network is a typical simple home network, no local DNS or WINS server, etc., and the WRVS4400N is the DHCP server and the internet gateway for the home network.  When I try and print from the remote location over the QVPN connection, it appears that the laptop is trying to print to the network the laptop is attached to locally and is not able to find the printer via the QVPN connection.  So the print file gets queued and will only print later when I get the laptop back on the home network.

It's almost like netbios doesn't work over the QVPN connection, which sorta renders the VPN useless if windows network resources can't be found.

As an alternative, I created a Windows VPN and tried to see if I could get the Windows VPN function to connect, to no avail.  Probably a certificate issue, and it's way beyond my modest skill to figure out how to get the wndows VPN stuff to connect to see it if might work better than QVPN.

So how can I get windows stuff to work over a QVPN connection between a remote laptop and the WRVS4400N?  Seems like an obvious application.  Thanks in advance for any assistance!

I have this problem too.
0 votes
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Overall Rating: 0 (0 ratings)
Loading.
Alejandro Gallego Sun, 11/15/2009 - 16:50

You are correct NetBIOS adverstisements do not pass accross the IPSec tunnel (QVPN). So you will have to browse shares via IP address or create entries in your "host" file on your Vista machine.

From what you have stated it sounds like the printer is a network printer; correct? And you are able to access the web interface accross the VPN connection. The tricky part is that since QVPN creates an IPsec tunnel you are not concidered to be local (this may seem abvious but I will try to explain). The software and the router talk to each other and create a "Route Statement" so you can access the remote site. So sending print request accross the WAN may sometimes be confused or not fully understood by the devices.

One thing to try while you are connected via QVPN, is create a new printer on your Vista machine and point the network connection to the remote site where the target printer is located. If that is successful let us know; if not, let us know anyway.

Also make sure that when you are connected, Vista should prompt you about a new network has been discovered. When that happens make the network a Home or Work network, and make sure that file sharing is enabled on your machine for that network. At this point I would probably start there and then work on creating the new printer map.

-Alejandro

baystateenergy Mon, 11/16/2009 - 05:46

Hi Alejandro,  Thanks for the reply.  Yes it's a multifunction networked printer (Brother MFC-8460N) that I use to print/fax/scan, when I'm on the local network, and it would be nice to do the same with the network printer when I'm at a remote location on a laptop PC using the QVPN.  It would also be great to be able to make file transfers to/from a NAS storage server, and use other file sharing resources on the Home network via the VPN.

I'll give your suggestions a try today, but if NetBIOS traffic doesn't transfer via the IPSec VPN tunnel between the client PC and the home network, I'm skeptical that things will work.  I'll let you know how it goes.

But I'm wondering:  Why there isn't a router option that enables NetBIOS traffic to transfer thru the VPN?  Seems like someone in Linksys marketing should have specified this obvious feature for the WRVS4400N.  The intended market for this product is small business and SOHO, where most networks are probably pretty simple, no dedicated DNS/WINS or similar servers on the LAN, a small number of Windows PCs, a few remote or travelling employees, etc.  If NetBIOS traffic could pass thru the VPN, then in essence the VPN becomes just a long, secure string that connects a remote client PC to a network just as though the remote PC were still local.  When I'm at a remote location I have no use or interest in interacting with any of the devices on the net that I'm connected to locally, but I'm certainly interested in accessing network resources back home on the other end of the secure connection.  In a Windows environment with small simple networks, NetBIOS is the only way to access the services and features on a LAN.  In looking at some of the discussion threads, I'm not the only one who would like to see Windows related features working properly from a remote client location over a VPN.  I understand that it might be different and perhaps undesirable to do this if 2 routers have a gateway-to-gateway VNP connection.  Oh well enough product suggestions!  ;-)

Thanks for the input, and I'll let you know how it goes.

Ethan

Alejandro Gallego Mon, 11/16/2009 - 06:53

Thank you for the reply and further explanation. You are absolutely correct, as for a Small business being able to use NetBIOS is extremely useful especially when no server is present at the site. Our new, QVPN software alllows us to specify remote DNS but no feature that I know of to force or allow NetBIOS over the tunnel. If you create a gateway to gateway tunnel most of our routers will allow us to specify NetBIOS broadcasts over the tunnel and it does work very well.

Keep us posted.

baystateenergy Mon, 11/16/2009 - 07:10

I'm going to have to read up on the remote DNS feature, how it works, and how to configure it if it's is applicable.  Do you have a documentation reference?  It's WRVS4400N Hardware Release 1.  I do not have a domain name in the internet naming sense, so I don't know if this will work.

If you could pass along a new feature request to transport NetBIOS over the tunnel between a QVPN Client and a WRVS4400N, this would hopefully solve a lot of issues, and be a very business enabling feature.  Thanks!  Ethan

David Carr Mon, 11/16/2009 - 09:04

Hi Bay, Actually there is a feature called dyn.dns and you can get a free account and it will monitor that ip address for you and if it changes it will change it.  Therefore you will not have to connect to the router using an ip address, you would use a FQDN do access it.  It is an excellent tool for dynamic addresses.  But yes the qvpn client will not resolve netbios through the tunnel, Cisco knows that it will not resolve it and I am not sure if there is a fix in store for it.  I hope this helps you out.

ethanfharris Fri, 01/22/2010 - 08:46

I got QuickVPN to successfully use DynDNS to resolve the IP address of the WRVS4400N router by configuring DDNS on the router and specifying the DynDns name in the QuickVPN Server Address field and then clicking connect.

NetBios does not work over the VPN so I am not able to see a NAS storage server on my SOHO LAN from a remote internet location via the VPN.  If it helps others, I was able to get printer and scanner services to work by establishing the VPN, and then having Windows install a new printer (it's the same printer, just give it a different name when accessing it via the VPN).  I am able to access the NAS as well by using FTP without the VPN, although by forwarding port 21 to the NAS, the NAS is now visible to the outside world and less secure - not a solution I prefer.  If a future QuickVPN / WRVS4400N Firmware release can include an option to transport NetBios over a QuickVPN tunnel, this would be better and more secure.

Thanks!

jasbryan Fri, 01/22/2010 - 09:51

Hi,

This might help you some, but it's a issue with the qvpn client and usually a client to gateway doesn't support netbios. Users can use a LMHOSTS file as a work around. More information can be found at

http://www.microsoft.com/technet/prodtechnol/windows2000serv/reskit/cnet/cnfd_lmh_qxqq.mspx?mfr=true  This is under the release notes when you download the qvpn utility.

As for the NAS device you should be able to access it via ip address over the tunnel . Go under (START) (RUN) type  \\ip address of NAS\  and hit enter and it should pop up for a user name and password. Log in and you should be able to access your shared files.

Jason

baystateenergy Mon, 11/16/2009 - 06:54

Allejandro,

Here's an update.

  • I connected with my VISTA laptop to a wi-fi network next door, and then connected the remote client to my home WRVS4400N network using QVPN.  As before I can see the embeddeed web servers on the WRVS4400N LAN, but none of the NetBIOS based services were working.  I used the Windows "Add a Printer" function in the printer control panel.  When Windows failed to find the printer on the wi-fi net that the remote laptop was connected to, I was presented with a popup where I specified the IP address of the printer on the WRVS4400N LAN (on the other end of the VPN connection).  With this, the remote Vista PC added the printer, and I was able to print from the remote client PC via the VPN.  So it looks like the upper layer printer protocols that use IP for transport are transferring data properly over the VPN.  A good step forward...
  • As this is a multifunction printer, I tried scanning,  I had to specify the scanner IP address in the properties in the scanner control panel, and got this to work as well.
  • Faxing via the multifunction printer does not work as there is no method of specifyint the IP address.  So it looks like the only way to find and access the multifunction's fax services is via NetBIOS.

The shared folders on the Network Attached Storage server are not visible either, although I can see the embedded web server inside the NAS box.  I would not expect to be able to see shared folders or drives on the WRVS4400N LAN.

So it looks like I need to assign a static address for the printer on the WRVS4400N LAN so that I don't need to try and print, get an error, and then have to reinstall the printer if it doesn't work because the printer's IP address changed due to DHCP handing out a different address once in a while.  This will maek scanning easy too.

Given these results, this leads to the rather obvious question of whether Linksys could add support for transmitting NetBIOS over the VPN to enable a remote client connected by QVPN to see and interact normally with all NetBIOS based stuff on the WRVS4400N LAN, as of the network storage resources remain inaccessible.

One other question:  Since the WRVS4400N receives its IP address from my ISP via DHCP and thus the router's WAN IP address can change, is there a way to find out what the current WAN IP address when at a remote location? Otherwise it might be impossible to know what to fill in for a WRVS4400N IP address in the QVPN client dialog box if the ISP changes its WAN IP address.  Can you think of a way to use DDNS or some other method to handle this?  Maybe the router could email a report if there's a configuration change?

Thanks for the help!!  Ethan

Actions

This Discussion