If you’re running Windows XP Professional, it’s actually possible to extend your network printing capabilities clear across the Internet. When Internet Information Services (IIS) is installed on Windows XP Professional, you have the ability to connect to and manage your printers via the Internet Printing Protocol (IPP). IPP works by processing print jobs sent to the printer using the HyperText Transfer Protocol (HTTP), the same protocol used to connect to web pages.
You may question why you would possibly want to send print jobs over the Internet, but there are a few handy applications. First, you could be sitting at the office and send a job to your printer at home, ensuring that it will be ready and waiting for your return. Or, you may want to do exactly the opposite, namely print to a printer at work from home. Regardless of the reason why you choose to use it, Internet printing extends network printing to a long way from home.
Once IIS is installed on the print server, you can manage a printer from Internet Explorer by accessing the address http://printserver/printersharename. This will allow you to control the printer’s settings, and handle tasks like purging or pausing print jobs. If you want to print to the printer, use the Add Printer Wizard to add an HTTP printer using the URL http://printserver/printers/printersharename/.printer. If you need to get to your printer over the Internet, you’ll also need to configure your firewall to redirect requests to your public IP address on port 80 to the internal IP address of your print server, and specify that public IP address in the URL to access the printer.