Whenever your network printer is slow to respond, you might find that the delay offers the perfect time to think about the problems that cause slow network printing and what can be done about it. It's a fairly common scenario, and by now there are a few established workarounds for slow network printing.
Assuming you're using some variant of Windows Server, which happens to be the platform where many of these slow network printing issues arise, the first thing you'll want to do is access the printer's properties and ensure that the "Spool print documents so program finishes printing faster" option is enabled. This might sound like it adds an extra step to the printing process, but it actually avoids a situation where the network printer is delayed because it's trying to do too many things at once.
Next, you'll want to check the "Start printing after last page is spooled" sub-option—not the "Start printing immediately" option. The reason this is regarded as one of the top workarounds for slow network printing is because it won't split print jobs in the middle of printing or cause the network printer to be delayed for other users if another larger job is taking a long time to spool.
In the same properties box, also be sure to review the "Print Spooled Documents First" sub-option. If your network printer is slow to respond and the server is accessed by a large client pool, checking this option could speed things up. It prevents small jobs from getting stuck behind large jobs that take a long time to spool.
Aside from software options, there are a few other workarounds for slow printing that you can try. One is to use dedicated hard drives for spooling instead of using a shared drive for spooling and the operating system. Provided you have the budget, using solid-state drives (SSDs) can speed things up further and be more reliable. After that, if you're still seeing network printers delayed, you can begin removing cruft from the driver repository. Even when drivers are no longer in use, the monitoring software they leave behind can eat up RAM and processing power. As a last resort, you can upgrade your print server to a bigger, better faster model.
Unfortunately, many of these solutions are temporary, costly or not guaranteed to work. That's why one of the best and most reliable workarounds for slow network printing is PrinterLogic's enterprise print management solution. Unlike print servers, our next-generation solution removes single points of failure and creates direct IP printing connections between clients and printers. This makes printing more stable in high-traffic print environments yet easier to manage from a single location, thanks to our acclaimed centralized administration console.
A great example of how PrinterLogic accelerates day-to-day enterprise printing is in distributed environments that rely on a centralized print server. Because print jobs generated at remote sites first have to first travel to the central server for rendering, then back again to the local printer, printing speeds are subject to WAN traffic loads. This frequently results in the local network printer being slow to respond. Even though PrinterLogic's solution can be centrally located as well to minimize infrastructure, it actually reduces print-related WAN traffic by keeping print jobs between local devices.
So the next time your network printer is delayed, take that opportunity to research PrinterLogic and its ability to eliminate print servers in your organization. Not only will PrinterLogic's enterprise print management solution speed up printing and save you time, it will save you deployment hassle, installation frustration, and support costs.
Before becoming PrinterLogic's Technical Product Manager, Chris spent more than four years as a Technical Product Engineer, Systems Engineer, and Sales Engineer—working side by side with IT professionals to eliminate print servers from their environment. He has a B.S. degree in Information Technology and loves learning about all of the new and innovating solutions that continue to revolutionize the IT industry.