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Tip of the Day
Language: Web Development
Expertise: Beginner
Apr 11, 1997

Network printer or shared local printer: Which is better?

Question:
Please compare (in terms of advantages and disadvantages) the networked printer (with a network card) and the shared local printer (connected to one of the workstations). My hunch is that the networked one costs more due to the network card, while the local shared printer penalizes the workstation processor when printing.

Answer:
For many reasons, the networked printer approach is better than the shared printer approach.

When a printer is shared on a workstation, the workstation's processor and disk are used during network print jobs that other users send to the print queue. This means that the shared printer program that is running on the workstation uses valuable processor clock cycles to do its job. At the same time, your disk drive is also being used as temporary storage while the print job is sent to the printer. The other disadvantage is the extra work for your network shell or redirector, such as Novell's VLMs. They now have to process an additional stream of data in the form of the print jobs from the queue that are directed to your workstation.

When you use a network printer, all print jobs are sent directly to the printer's network interface card via a cable. On many occasions, this card has additional memory for spooling and therefore results in faster printing. Besides, the print server is now dedicated, so printing is the only job it does; it is much faster and more efficient than a shared printer attached to a workstation.

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