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network printer sharing

I have a client who has several networked printers (each has a network connection and its own IP address). I noticed recently that several users have set these printers to "shared", even though everyone can directly access them via the printer's IP address.  I explained that these printers don't need to be shared unless the printer is plugged directly into the PC via USB or printer cable, but they don't want to unshare them, saying they don't know why, but they need to have the sharing turned on.  I also noticed that they all access the printer through the IP address port, and not through another computer's share.

Is there ever any reason to share a printer that is not attached to a PC, when it can be accessed via IP address?

Does having all these shared printers affect the network traffic in any way?
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In the event that there are a lot of printers and you would like to centrally manage the print queues then installing all the printers on a server as TCP/IP makes it easier to administer and also makes it easier to install the printers since then can be browsed to by clicking Start>Run and then typing in \\nameofcomputer.
This will bring up a list of all the printers and simply double clicking on them will install the printer and you will not have to walk through the new printer setup wizard and creating a TCP/IP port
No, there's no advantage to also share printers with LAN connections (at least not when they are shared through workstations, not servers). If anyone prints via the share, it'll also reduce the performance of the sharing PC, as it has to spool the print job.

If it is shared via a server, the server can provide the drivers of the printer automatically.
paul_innisAuthor Commented:
Thanks for the quick responses!  There are no server-shared printers, and I couldn't find any workstations that were using any other workstation's shares.  Since this was the first time anybody ever told me that they needed to share a network printer, even though the share was not being used, I thought that there might be a reason I had never heard of. (even though the non-technical client could not give me a reason, he just told me to take his word for it)

I have, however,  turned on the sharing for a printer on a workstation, just so I could add the printer to a new workstation and get the drivers.  Then I would change the port to TCP/IP, and turn off the share on the original workstation.

I guess I just like cleaner settings.  Many of the workstations had automatic searches for printers, so in addition to the networked IP-address printer, they had the same printer several times under other workstation shares.  I don't know if that has any affect on network performance or workstation processing, but if they are fine with it, so am I.  I just wondered for my own curiosity.
paul_innisAuthor Commented:
This was a small office with a workgroup network, a file server with no domain, and about 10 users.
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