Anyone know why, technically, a scanner cannot share across networks?

Posted on 2004-10-11
Last Modified: 2008-03-06
There are plenty of answers as to how a person can overcome not being able to scan over a network (hardware and software solutions), but I would like to <i>why</i> I cannot share a scanner over a LAN or IP network in the first place?  I need the technical reasons or issues (EG: bandwidth, ports, packets, etc..).  I have a combo device for which I can I share a printer features, but not the scanner features.  Why?
Question by:primeradmin
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LVL 79

Expert Comment

ID: 12281990
The best reason that I can come up with is that the hardware must directly interract with the scanning software with bi-directional communications, and a TWAIN interface driver
Most scanners speak a common language, TWAIN. The TWAIN driver acts as an interpreter between any application that supports the TWAIN standard and the scanner.

There are some applications that make TWAIN scanners available on the network:


Expert Comment

ID: 12282068
um, there is no reason it can't be done, bi-directional communications across a network is a common application - I think I might have even seen one in the past, say 10 years back or thereabouts....but it is fairly bandwidth intensive and the queueing and correct distribution are problematic.  So practically, I don't think there are many interested vendors in this market.

waving to lrmoore :)

LVL 79

Expert Comment

ID: 12282114
Yo, Jon!
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LVL 11

Expert Comment

ID: 12288496
Agreed.  There are solutions that can share a scanner across a network, but they also require client TWAIN drivers that know to talk across a network to the device.  And few scanner manufacturers have bothered to write those.


Author Comment

ID: 12302877
Well, I appreciate the responses, but, like I said, I know how to solve the problem of sharing across a network, but, I needed to know, technically, specifically, why scanning cannot be accomplished with the basic tools of Windows? Penngwyn has touched on the idea of Twain compliancy, but, what specific reasons are there why Twain services might be the issue?

Accepted Solution

JonSh earned 250 total points
ID: 12303148
Okay, specifically, there are no windows-specific services for bidirectional *device-level* communication across a network.  All of the windows-specific services that come close are OS-to-OS services.  To have distributed device services, a 3rd party has to write them because Microsoft didn't.  Now, there are a few exceptions to this but they aren't useful to this discussion, imho.

Hoping this helps.

Author Comment

ID: 12360941
That'll work JonSh.  Thanks for the input.  

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