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Network printers in an SBS Small Business Server 2003 R2 environment - RJ45 or USB connections ?

We have 2 laserjet printers within 6' of the new SBS 2003 R2 server.  They are brother HL2070N printers... (network capable).  So the question is, best practices, would you connect the printers to the server with USB cables or put them on the network with RJ45s?  The desktops will deal with them via the server either way (taht's what we want, right?)  So is there a rationale for using USB or putting them on the network directlly / have them get an IP address?

thanks!
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babaganoosh
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babaganoosh
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5 Solutions
 
fetch_Commented:
I haven't dealt with Brother printers, but generally, I think it would be best to put the printers on the network rather than the USB port of the SBS.  My reasoning: the SBS has a lot to do: email, dns, file sharing, SQL, etc... putting a usb device on there when it's not necessary just doesn't make any sense.  It seems you can help keep your SBS a little cleaner and let the IP stack do the work.  Anyone else have any thoughts?
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dalton1976Commented:
Using USB is more instable than Ethernet with TCP/IP.  Less things to manage when using TCP/IP.  Cable is less expensing with Ethernet.

So i suggest Ethernet with TCP/IP   for sure
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Stephen MandersonSoftware EngineerCommented:
I would agree with Fetch and dalton, go with ethernet.

It would allow you to manage the printer directly on the network with its http interface, also to add it would allow for the printer to be moved easily within the network without additional configuration.

Regards
Steve
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NetAdmin2436Commented:
I absolutely agree with everyone above.

In addition, networked printers (ethernet)  give me less headaches in my scripts. I haven't really dove into why, but network printers just plain work better with my scripts.

How about security? Ideally you don't want users to be able to even touch your server(s). With USB they would be within reach. For a small company this is may be typical to have a server in the open, but at some point in the future you want your servers locked up somewhere, away from any printers. Use ethernet if you have the choice.


I hope this helps
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hdhondtCommented:
For what it's worth, I'll add my agreement to the above posts. Networked printers will always give less trouble than usb. Only use usb if you have to.
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babaganooshAuthor Commented:
THANKS guys!  Interesting how clear the view is.  I was thinking it was one of those gray / no wrong answer / wouldn't have a clear concensus.

Now try this question:

http://www.experts-exchange.com/Hardware/Peripherals/Printers_Scanners/Q_22733310.html
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babaganooshAuthor Commented:
netadmin - you mention security... you as admin have more control over a usb pritner, right?  a network printer a user can connect to directly (rather than through the server, which is how you'd do it?) and print at off hours, etc.?

Right guys?  You would still share the network printer from the server?  Or just have the PCs talk directly to the printer?
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NetAdmin2436Commented:
Yes, I'd still connect the printer locally to the server by creating a TCP/IP port on the server, then share the printer from the server to all clients. This allows you to set printing defaults and preferences on the server, then all the clients have the same defaults. ie, easier to administer.
http://www.microsoft.com/resources/documentation/windows/xp/all/proddocs/en-us/print_add_tcpip_port.mspx?mfr=true

But yes users *could* connect to the printer directly using a local TCP/IP port (bypassing server). However, most users i don't think know how to connect to a TCP/IP printer in that manner. In addition, a standard windows 'user' cannot install local printers, they would have to be 'power user' or have admin rights on there computer. Even still,  if they were a power user and had power user rights, I wouldn't be too worried about it from a security stand point. My point about security was to keep users physically away from the server.

Hope this helps
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hdhondtCommented:
I agree with NetAdmin2436. On a simple network, I'd use direct TCP/IP connections. If you like security, most networked printers let you nominate a list of IP addresses that can use the printer. Any other address is rejected.

However, a TCP/IP connection from the server gives you more control. It also makes it easier to deploy the printer through a large workgroup. At the simplest level, users can simply install the driver from the server. You can also set up scripts to propagate the driver to the users automatically. Ditto for any driver updates or other changes. And you can set the printer to only accept jobs from the server's IP address.
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babaganooshAuthor Commented:
thanks again guys!
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