When slow network printing within an organization is discussed, the most common discussions and solutions revolve around which hardware to tweak or software configurations to change. But very often, the reason for slow printing doesn't lie in such inefficiencies. Instead, it lies in the very nature of how printers are networked. Because of this, it is often difficult to find the real solutions to the problems.
In this blog post, we want to discuss three such cases, and touch upon some solutions to each of them.
Print server overload causing slow network printing
The most common way that printers are networked is through print servers. Print servers can cause slow printing because they are a single point through which all print jobs are being sent and processed. So if there are inefficiencies in this one point, the printing can become inefficient in the entire network.
The way to solve this problem is either to change the way printers are networked, so that all print jobs aren't sent to one print server, or to improve the efficiency of the print server.
Print servers in remote offices causing network traffic and slow printing
Sometimes when an organization has multiple offices, the most cost-effective way to network printers might be to have a central print server to which the printers in all offices are networked. The problem, however, is that each time someone prints, the print file will be sent over WAN to the server and back, which can cause heavy network traffic and slow printing for remote offices.
The solutions to this problem can be to either use direct IP printing in some offices, invest in local print servers, use solutions that compress the print jobs before they are sent, or use a solution that consolidates print servers.
Terminal servers causing slow network printing
When printing through terminal services, slow printing can occur because the application is in the terminal server, which can be in a completely different geographical location than the user and the printer.
Each time a user prints, then, the print file will be sent over WAN to the printer. With many users printing at the same time, this can become quite a high load on the network.
There are different ways to install printers on a terminal server, and thus different solutions to the problem. Some of the more common ones are to render the print jobs at the client, increase network capacity and/-or to compress the print files.
Solutions to eliminate slow network printing
This blog post is meant as a summary of why network printing can be slow, but we haven't delved too deeply into the different solutions. That will be the focus of coming blog posts.