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Slow Network Printing and Spooling

Posted on 2009-06-29
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Last Modified: 2012-06-21
We have a DIS (device interface server) for our SQL database application PowerPath that uses small print jobs to print out slide labels with barcodes and text.  PPath uses a Crystal report to create the print job.  Up until a couple of days ago, everything was peachy.

Printers:
We use Zebra TLP-3448Z label printers with 1" x 0.87" labels.  A normal print job of 10 labels printed from a local USB connection can print 5-7 labels per second.

DIS
The DIS Server monitors a folder, and when a file gets dropped to it, it creates a print job out of it. There are two ways the DIS server can print a file, either by spooling it to a local printer, or by spooling it to a remote workstations spooler.

Problem Case 1
In this case we're working with a workstation spool with an attached USB printer (typical of this environment).  Jobs are queued from the server and take 5-6 seconds to spool down to the workstation.  The workstation spools and prints the jobs immediatly.  If you pause printing, and wait for jobs to build up and then print, they print very quickly until they catch up to the active job, then it's back to 5-6 seconds for the job to arrive.  (One thing to note here is that the sending server's spooler maxes out to 100% every time a job is sent).

Problem Case 2
In this case we're working with a remote workstation spooling to a  networked printer. Slightly Atypical for our environment, but it does happen.  Jobs take between 6 and 20 seconds to print, jobs are of about 700K in size, and used to take less than a second for 3 or 4 jobs.  Print spooler on the server is maxed out again when sending jobs to the remote spooler.  Unlike the example above, pausing the jobs has no effect on the print speed, the device seems to only be able to handle one job at a time.

Problem Case 3
Server spooled network printer.  In this case, the print jobs spool immediately queuing up quite fast, the print spooler does not hardly have to work at all.  Once the jobs are spooled however, they take a long time to print (4 - 8 seconds).  However in this case, the spooler is hardly working at all (5 -10% cpu).

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Question by:Ronoa
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8080_Diver earned 500 total points
ID: 24741585
Problem Case 1:
Jobs are queued from the server and take 5-6 seconds to spool down to the workstation.
What this sounds like is a network data transfer delay.
Problem Case 2
Jobs take between 6 and 20 seconds to print, jobs are of about 700K in size, and used to take less than a second for 3 or 4 jobs.  
Again, data transfer delays . . . only doubled this time.
Problem Case 3
Once the jobs are spooled however, they take a long time to print (4 - 8 seconds).  
Initial fast response is because the data is pumped into a local spooler.  The follow up delay is because of . . . you guessed it . . . network delays. ;-)
used to take less than a second for 3 or 4 jobs.  
Okay, so what changed?  Work load?  Decided to print to a network printer? Decided to add a spooler to try to address the network printer slow-down?   Something changed . . . whatever changed is what introduced the problem.  
Now, to address the issue, you could try any one of the forllowing (or any combination ;-):
  • Put the spooler on the printer server and spool to it from the database server;
  • Put the spooler on the database server and attach the printer to the database server;
  • Run the report apps on the printer server with the spooler and printer on that same server;
  • Set up local printers.
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Expert Comment

by:cansib
ID: 37661835
Hi Ronoa,

We too are PowerPath users with DIS controlling the label printing.  I'm just curious if you got this resolved?  Thanks.

Mark
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