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Print Server: Why do we need it?

Posted on 2013-01-18
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Last Modified: 2013-01-19
Hi,

This is related to the Small Enterprise Network (around 30 machines). I am still confused with the Print Server; I need 2nd opinion from Experts please.

The subnet is 192.168.100.0/24

Printer#1: 192.168.100.60
Printer#2: 192.168.100.61
Printer#3: 192.168.100.62

There is a file server (with the Windows 2008 server); I want to make this server also as a print server (The name of this file server is “BOBA”)

The things that I do:
For Printer#1
-      Go to Control Panel>Printer>Add Local Printer> Select the “Standard TCP/IP”> Key in the IP address of Printer#1 (192.168.100.60)> Browser to the “Brand name of the printer” (Here is HPLJ 4300)> Select the Driver

I do the same configuration for Printer#2 and Printer#3

So I believe I create a Print Server

To access the Printers (Printer#1, Printer#2 and Printer#3), a user just Map it to the print server with this direction: \\BOBA\printer#1, etc

My Questions:

1)      Why do we need the Print Server?
•      Is it just to make easy by just mapping like this \\BOBA\Printer#1?
•      Please provide your opinion

2)      What about we just get rid off the Print Server? Any computers in the network just do like this: Control Panel>Printer>Add “Local Printer”>Give the IP address of Printer#1 (or Printer#2 or Printer#3)> Browse the “Brand of the Printer”> Get “The Driver for it”
•      By Doing this, Will I create more BURDEN to the network (compared with the existence of a Print Server)? (I believe NO).Your opinion is greatly appreciated please

Thank you

tjie
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Question by:tjie
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5 Comments
 
LVL 3

Accepted Solution

by:
IKtech earned 500 total points
ID: 38794186
With the print server:

Pros
Easy to update drivers (just once on the server)
Easy to map printers to users (maybe with a login script)
People will not be able to adjust settings that could create a service ticket

cons
If the server goes down no one can print
If one user creates issues all users could be effected

As far as the net traffic with a print server i don't think you will notice the difference between the two scenarios

Without a print server

Pros
you can still use a script to install the printer however it is tougher to get right

users are still printing even if one user has an issue or something gets stuck in their print que

Cons
if a driver needs to be updated it has to be installed on every computer

you may have different settings on every computer so each users problem might be different making

My opinion on the matter is to go with a printer setup on each machine and not bother with a print server.  That is what i currently do and it is only because i have 10 computers that use a couple different printers.  If you have many PCs the print server would make more sense
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LVL 30

Assisted Solution

by:IanTh
IanTh earned 300 total points
ID: 38794189
you use a print server so the client send the job to the queue when its local the queue is local

you can use ad to use the printer if you ad is set up for regions see what I mean and you can use printer manager to install the printer drivers for 32bit and 64bit systems
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LVL 27

Assisted Solution

by:Jason Watkins
Jason Watkins earned 400 total points
ID: 38794362
I would argue against the print server. I have folks printing directly to the printer and it works fine. There is no reliance on a server for access. The only thing I have noticed is that access control would be better served with a print server. If I want to restrict a specific group of users from using a printer, I cannot, unless I go with the print server.
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LVL 39

Assisted Solution

by:hdhondt
hdhondt earned 400 total points
ID: 38795990
Both methods usually work fine, but there are some differences.

For a small network I prefer to let the users connect directly to the printer. That is the most flexible option, as every user has full control over printer settings. The user can even print if the only things running are the PC and the printer. They need access to the driver files though, but this can be alleviated by putting the driver files on a server, and you can also use a script to install the driver automatically.

For a large network, however, a server has distinct benefits.
1. The users can install the driver without having access to the driver CD.
2. IT management can control who gets access to which printer, and what they can do with it (print, modify settings, etc).
3. Any driver updates propagate to the users. However, it is very rare that a printer driver needs updating. The original driver usually works fine for ever.

30 machines is probably borderline between the two options. To decide, consider how many printers you have, and who needs to access which printer(s). With only 1 printer and 1 server, I'd be inclined to the first option. If you have multiple printers, or if the users fall into more than one category you should consider printing via the server. Also keep in mind the expected growth of the organisation. If next year you expect double the number of users, you may as well start using the server now.
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LVL 39

Assisted Solution

by:ChiefIT
ChiefIT earned 400 total points
ID: 38796981
On any server service, a server is used for: Centralized Control and administration.

A print server is used for centralized management of drivers for all machines, deploying printers (& mapping for the end users), and managing permissions to the printers centrally.

If you have a hand full of computers that you are administering, you may not need centralized control of those features.

A print server is not necessarily fail safe and it can go down.

By the way, mapping directly to the printer by \\printername\ and downloading the printer's drivers on line for each individual computer, is not utilizing the print server. To map to a managed printer on a print server, you are going to map it through the active directory browser on a Windows Domain, OR you deploy the printers to the OU's of computers and map these printers for them.
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