Virtual Print Queue

Posted on 2011-05-12
Last Modified: 2012-05-11
I once used a virtual printer system when at a large private campus which allowed me to print to my "account" from any workstation, and then to be able to go to one of many print stations, and print the document there that I had sent to my printer account.

I have a few questions.

1) What software is out there that allows a person to do this.

2) Are there solutions that do that, but for hybrid environments (ie, Mac OSX, Windows XP/Vista/7, RHEL desktops) and work with all of them together?
Question by:ifrogz_forum
    LVL 5

    Expert Comment

    1)  To my knowledge that solution is a feature of the printer.  Some of the larger companies like Ricoh and Kyocera offer what they call a Mailbox or Box.  You print to that, then you go to the printer, select the box and print the options.

    2)  Again this goes back to Answer 1.  If the printer drivers support it for all those operating systems then yes.

    Author Comment

    I am aware of the built in printer options for this.

    What I'm looking for is the software management option that allows the print job to be retrieved from the virtual system, at any printer/workstation combo, anywhere on the network. IE, from a workstation, you print to your printer account. You could then go to any "print station", not a specific  printer, but any print station, where you entered your user ID and password, and then select your queued jobs, and print the ones you want. Then they're pulled from a server hosted queue down to your local print-station, and sent to the "dumb printer". A dumb printer, being just any printer plugged into the print station and configured to use it.

    Author Comment

    Also, to clarify, the "print station" was basically a workstation computer locked down to a login screen where you entered your printer username and password, and then were displayed your documents that you had sent to your printer queue. It pulled these from a central server where your queued documents were stored for up to 24 hours.
    LVL 10

    Accepted Solution

    It sounds like you were using one of the larger solutions - although there are others Pcounter will do this exactly as you require, but now allows much more control.

    In your situation users would print to a central queue, which was paused and then you authenticated at a basic workstation through a custom application (Pcounter Print Station) and your jobs are shown. You then choose which to print, and the jobs are moved from the central queue and moved to the nearby printer, which is normally IP based also. (Remote to local printing is available though)

    This hasn't changed much in 10 years, and is still used ...however you now have many more options including :

    Card\Biometric Support at the release station; simpler authentication.
    Web based release (with optional teacher control)
    Complete copier control - release jobs and account for copying via either the copier screen or external units. Multiple card and biometric support.

    When tied is to the various rules and multiple account limits it creates a simple to use system for users, and a easy to manage but adaptable solution for the support.

    To confirm this is via Pcounter which is the reliable one I know; there are alternatives also.

    Author Comment

    Thanks for the info on Pcounter. Do you have any other names of alternative products and or open source projects?
    LVL 10

    Assisted Solution

    Equitrac, Print Manager Plus, Papercut, Uniflow all chargeable  at the level you need
    Open source not sure, theres been a one mentioned a while ago. this it was pure for audit purposes only though.

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