Posted by Jordan Pusey
Ever since the advent of the telegraph, network technology has been heralded for its potential to break down physical barriers and overcome geographic distances. But as most IT veterans will tell you, physical barriers and geographic distance still pose several challenges to distributed enterprise environments. This is especially apparent when it comes to remote office printing.
Remote office printing primarily suffers from issues related to speed. This is a matter of basic network infrastructure. Let’s say that an end-user in a remote office wants to print a document. When she clicks “Print,” she assumes that the document is sent directly to the remote office printer that is likely situated not more than a couple of yards from where she’s sitting.
Of course, that’s often not the case at all. In many typical remote office scenarios, the print job is actually relayed from the user’s workstation or a terminal server via the wide-area network (WAN) to a central print server, where it is processed and then relayed back across the WAN to the remote office printer. It naturally takes time for the data in that print job to make all those hops between various points along the network. For large print jobs, this means it’s not unheard of for users to wait half an hour for their job to hit all those waypoints and finally begin printing. From a productivity standpoint, however, just ten or fifteen minutes can seem like an eternity to a frustrated end-user.
Yet speed can remain a problem even with a remote office print server in place. Although they might be located onsite, these print servers act as bottlenecks because they aren’t always able to function efficiently under heavy loads. Multiple incoming print jobs have to be queued and rendered systematically, then held in the spooler before being sent to the remote office printer for printing. And that’s in an ideal situation. In real-world use, remote office print servers are a never-ending source of headache because they easily fall victim to driver errors and compatibility issues. When they stop working, remote office printing stops with them.
Management is another issue that affects both regional print servers and remote office print servers. Deploying the right printers to the right users using a set of easy-to-define criteria is close to impossible because print servers generally rely on group policy objects (GPOs) and scripts to carry out deployments. Delivering the right drivers for the remote office printers is difficult, too, because print servers are notorious for their poor driver management—which is partly why they’re so vulnerable to driver conflicts. Print servers don’t even offer an easy way to remotely manage print queues and purge the stuck jobs that can temporarily bring remote office printing to an abrupt halt.
PrinterLogic is the universal solution to all these issues that plague remote office printing:
The proponents weren’t wrong: Technology will overcome the prevailing issues of speed, infrastructure and management that continue to affect remote office printing. But that technology isn’t print servers. It’s PrinterLogic.