Best Print Server for recommendation?

By ABAMOTO ยท 5 replies
Feb 11, 2005
  1. Dear all:
    Recently I purchased a LINKSYS EFSP42 2-port Print Server. Before I opened the box, I expected to finish the testing in approximately 10 to 15 minutes because most of the Linksys products I have are hassle-free setup.

    However, this Print Server took me the whole day for testing. I experienced graphical texts failed to print, slow respondance, and Admin Software not able to search the print server on network and/or upgrade the firmware. I have even tried to visit Linksys's official website and downloaded the latest version of drivers and firmwares, but still no use.

    Right now, I am in the market shopping for the most reliable print server for SOHO standard (means faily inexpensive but performance is good and reliable at same time). Can you share your Print Server experience with me, and perhaps give me some recommendation?

    My friend has a NETGEAR PS101 and hethinks that works great. However, I searched the web and found out that it's got a problem with giving itself a static IP.

    Currently we are hosting a RedHat Linux + Samba workstation as the print server, and the performance is so fantastic. However, it has some compatibility issue with Crystal Report. Switching to a Windows based workstation may help but currently the only PCs we've got are those old P2 and some old P3 with 128RAM; can such slow PC handle the print jobs well as a print server???

    Thank you all =)
  2. Nodsu

    Nodsu TS Rookie Posts: 5,837   +6

    The best solution is no print server at all and having printers with network support builtin..

    If you set up the print serving computer with raw print queues (the pages are rendered by the client computer) then you don't need any computing power at all. You can use something as slow as a 286 in that case since all it has to do is take data from the network and send it to the printer port. Only some memory/disk space is needed for buffering/spooling.

    Do you use raw print queues in your current setup? Or do the clients use a generic PS driver to send pages to the server which then renders them for the printers?

    ABAMOTO TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 27

    Well... Our IT budget is very limited. Therefore unless the printer basically stops functioning for whatever reason, I am stuck with it....

    How would I know whether the pages are rendered by clients or by Printer Server? Anyway to know from client desktop/workstations?

    I also want to know if all of you feel Printers are one of the biggest hassle for IT people? IMO, some printers just never worked fine, and some people can never operate printers well. That gives me headache.

    Please share your experience of using Third Party Printer Server =) Thank you.

    OH YEAH, HAPPY VALENTINES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :angel:
  4. Nodsu

    Nodsu TS Rookie Posts: 5,837   +6

    Well.. What printer drivers do the workstations have installed?
    And you can check what driver the printer on the server has.
    The printer should be listed as "raw" on the Linux side.

    Where I work we still use those ancient HP DirectJet boxes to network parallel printers. Work like a charm.

    As for the "plug and print" consumer print servers.. People seem to have more problems with them than without them.

    This is a very straightforward Linux based printserver using raw queues on a single floppy:
    We are running those on some old 486 desktops. No glitches this far.

    ABAMOTO TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 27

    Thank you for your info. HOwever, Linux based printer causes problem in our crystal report for not being compatible with Windows. Therefore, either I get a Win 98 CD around and share printer in that way, otherwise, I think print server is my only choice.

    By the way, clients are set up at RAW. and we are using HP 2200 Laser Jet, which also support RAW printing. =)
  6. Nodsu

    Nodsu TS Rookie Posts: 5,837   +6

    No.. Not that RAW.

    It's easier to check it on the server side. See which printer queue is shared by Samba and then see what driver that queue uses. If the driver is anything but RAW then it means the server is doing some PostScript filtering and you may get compatibility problems.

    A thing to explain.
    You cannot have compatibility problems with Linux if the server uses raw queues and copies the data byte by byte as it comes in from the client since, well, the data is copied verbatim as if the printer was attached directly to the client.
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