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Print Servers???

Was just wondering what (if any) the advantage of a direct network connection print server is to a Dedicated PC print server? I know it's not going to make it print any faster but I was wondering if a direct connect server would free up the client pc faster?
For instance, the place I work has an HP DesignJet currently hooked up to a PC, also hooked up to this PC is a HP 1100 Laserjet. (Both Parallel) When the user is ready to plot a Cad design (Averaging 1 - 2 Mb in size) his PC is basically locked for several minutes, it almost seems useless to even have the PC Print Server there. Is their a way to speed up the release of his PC? Would a Direct connection accomplish this?

Thanks,

Carsten
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MCIce_2004
Asked:
MCIce_2004
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kronostmCommented:
well .... the dedicated print-servers are as the definition tells "dedicated" ... so they only know to do one thing, but they do it well.
the difference between them will be:
+ for PC as a PServer ... more flexible in management and reporting, also a bigger buffer (depends on how you set it)
- for PC as a PS ... it indeed slows when jobs are in progress, but it should't do as you said that it's COMPLETELY locked for minutes. There's something wrong with your setup I might say.
+ for a dedicated PS  ... cheaper and might solve some unknown setting problems you've done on the PC
- for a dedicated PS ... smaller buffers usually , the management is dumber than what you can do with a PC with a good software.
Of course, I'm not talkin' here about professional PSs, as those are by far recommended as your solution but the price is high.
Personally I'm using printers with netwk cards here, in one case where one of the cards got fried I connected the printer to a PS from Planet ($100 / Kg ;)  that is doing a great job since.

good luck
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smiddleditchCommented:
Your problem may be that your buffer on your printer(s) is too low (or physical memory) this is made worse being a plotter. Once the buffer is full on the printer, the pc is essentially waiting to send more data to the printer but only when the printer is ready for it. This is also made worse being parallel, which (i believe) has higher priority IRQ settings, this means everthing else waiting to be processed on the computer comes second.

If you swap this setup for a print server, i.e. a ethernet to parallel x2 - NETGEAR PS110 - you could send via a network to both printers freeing up the PC for other uses. see http://www.netgear.com/products/details/PS110.php or a single parallel unit from AXIS which has 2mb memory.

The other option is to try (if available) to increase the size of memory on the printers?

Not sure if this is the kind of info your looking for. but good luck!






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MCIce_2004Author Commented:
How do you set the buffer for Windows Nt Machines?
If my client sends his plot from his workstation to the plotter. This files is sent to the printer server computer which then spools and sends the file to the plotter. So the plot doesn't actually spool on my clients computer. So why does it take so long for the file to get from client PC to Server PC (at the same time locking the Clients PCs)? The reason I went with a print server( of any kind) was to keep the client machines free from spool times. But this is not the way it's working out.

Carsten
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smiddleditchCommented:
Slightly more odd than first thought,

What type of network do you have?

What version Windows NT? workstation? (both client/print server)



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MCIce_2004Author Commented:
We're Using a linksys router to share broadband connections, also have a few d-link switches at various places. Most clients are XP Pro, and a few NT 4.0 Workstations. The clients in the design office are all XP Pro, but the print server is running on old NT 4.0 Workstation. (Service Pack 6).

Any suggestions would be appreciated, I don't mind at all changing things around and trying different configurations.

Thanks,

Carsten
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