Networking Connectivity
NetportExpress? Print Server
Printing peer to peer vs. spooling print jobs

Document overview
In a Microsoft* network, there are several ways to print through your NetportExpress™ print server. The purpose of this document is to define the options available with the NetportExpress print server on a Microsoft network, and describe each printing method so that you may make the best choice for your network. This document does not provide configuration instructions, but is instead a guide to help you determine which instructions you should follow. Instructions for the different configurations are available separately on the Intel® Customer Support Web site.

The NetportExpress print server in a Microsoft* network
It is the function of the NetportExpress* print server to receive print jobs and pass them through to the printer. The NetportExpress print server does not hold or store print jobs sent to the printer; this is the role of a print spooler or print queue. For example, in a Novell NetWare* environment, the NetWare print queues collect and hold the jobs until the printer is available to process them. In that environment, the printing options are very limited.

In a Microsoft network, there are a wider variety of choices for printing. You may choose to:

In addition, for most of the spooling options, jobs may be spooled at the server or at nearly any workstation on the network.

Print directly to the print server
You can print directly to the print server using:

  • Windows for Workgroups workstation
  • Windows* 95 workstation
  • Windows NT* server (3.51 or 4.0)
  • Windows NT workstation (3.51 or 4.0)

This is the simplest method of configuring and printing though your NetportExpress print server. Once the print server has had share names assigned to it with the NetPort® Manager software, each workstation is able to use the NetBIOS protocol to browse for the printer and direct print jobs to it. The print jobs are not spooled. Unless the network is very small (five or less users), this is not generally recommended.

Pro's

  • Configuration is very quick and simple.
  • It can be done in an entirely peer to peer (no file server) environment.
Con's

  • The print jobs are not spooled.
  • Only one user can print at a time. If the print server is busy servicing a job when another job is sent, the second user will receive an error message, stating that the "Queue is full."
  • If a user attempts to send a print job when the printer is down for any reason (powered down, out of paper), the user will receive the error message stating that the "Queue is full."
  • All workstations must be on the same network segment due to the limitations of the NetBIOS protocol.

Print directly to the print server using the Intel® NetportExpress™ port monitor
You can use the port monitor to print directly to the print server using:

  • Windows* 95 workstation
  • Windows NT* server (3.51 or 4.0)
  • Windows NT* workstation (3.51 or 4.0)

The port monitor is a watchdog of sorts. It operates under the NetBIOS protocol to monitor the status of the printer and sends print jobs only if the printer is available. If the printer is off-line or busy servicing another print job, the port monitor will hold the job until the printer is back on-line or has finished the current job. It can be used with all NetportExpress PRO print server models and, to a limited extent, with the NetportExpress XL print server.

This is not difficult, but it is somewhat more involved than printing directly to the print server without using the port monitor software. It is a much better option for a peer to peer (no file server) environment in those circumstances where it is possible that more than one user may attempt to print at a time. The extra steps involve installing the Intel NetportExpress port monitor software at each workstation and then creating a local port at the workstations, referencing the NetportExpress print server. If using the port monitor, it is important to educate individual users on the correct way to create the printer at their workstations.

Pro's

  • It can be done in an entirely peer to peer (no file server) environment.
  • Eliminates the "Queue is full" messages.
  • Allows users to continue spooling print jobs when the printer is down or out of paper. The port monitor will hold the jobs until the printer is again available.
  • Allows individual users control of the print jobs at their workstations.

Con's

  • Port monitor software needs to be installed at each workstation.
  • Users need to be shown how to connect to the print server using the port monitor software.
  • Works only to a limited extent with NetportExpress XL print servers due to bi-directional limitations of this model.
  • All workstations must be on the same network segment due to the limitations of the NetBIOS protocol.
  • No centralized administration.

Spool print jobs using NetBIOS
Using the NetBIOS protocol, you can spool your print jobs on:

  • Windows for Workgroups workstation
  • Windows NT server (3.51 or 4.0)
  • Windows NT workstation (3.51 or 4.0)

In this mode, the workstation or server selected to spool the print jobs will forward the jobs to the printer using the NetBIOS protocol. The spooling workstation or server holds each job and sends one job at a time as it sees the printer is available to receive the job. If the printer is busy or off-line, the jobs will be held at the spooling station until the printer is again available. Because the jobs are collected at a common workstation or server, all workstations can continue to send print jobs to the spooling station during off-line conditions.

To configure your printing in this way, a logical local port is created at the spooling station, identifying the UNC of the NetportExpress print server as the port name. A printer is created at the spooling station, identifying the new logical port as the print destination. This printer is shared and users are allowed access to it from their workstations. Each user prints to the shared printer created at the spooling station.

Pro's

  • Users can continue sending print jobs when the printer is not available.
  • Centralized administration of the printer at the spooling station.

Con's

  • Individual have a limited amount of control over their own print jobs.
  • Users need to be educated in selecting the correct printer to which they should direct their print jobs.
  • NetportExpress print servers must be on the same network segment as the spooling station due to the limitations of the NetBIOS protocol.

Spool print jobs using TCP/IP
Using the TCP/IP protocol, you can spool your print jobs on:

  • Windows NT server (3.51 or 4.0)
  • Windows NT workstation (3.51 or 4.0)

This is very similar to spooling with NetBIOS. As with the NetBIOS configuration, the spooling workstation or server holds each job and sends one job at a time as it sees the printer is available to receive the job. If the printer is busy or off-line, the jobs will be held at the spooling station until the printer is again available. Because the jobs are collected at a common workstation or server, all workstations can continue to send print jobs to the spooling station during off-line conditions.

The difference in the configuration is the way in which the port is created at the spooling station. Rather than identifying the UNC of the print server as the port, a LPR port is created at the Windows NT workstation or server. This printer is shared and users allowed to access it from their workstations.

Pro's

  • Users can continue sending print jobs when the printer is not available.
  • Centralized administration of the printer at the spooling station.
  • NetportExpress print server need not be on the same network segment as the spooling station due to the flexibility of the TCP/IP protocol.
  • It is not necessary to assign share names to the ports on the print server, decreasing the risk that users connect to the wrong share.

Con's

  • Individual have a limited amount of control over their own print jobs.
  • TCP/IP addressing is somewhat more complex to work with than NetBIOS share names.

Spool print jobs using the Intel® NetportExpress™ port monitor
Using the Intel NetportExpress port monitor, you can spool your print jobs on:

  • Windows* NT server (3.51 or 4.0)
  • Windows* NT workstation (3.51 or 4.0)
  • Windows 95

Using the Intel NetportExpress port monitor to spool print jobs for a specific workstation or server is very similar to spooling the print jobs with either NetBIOS or TCP/IP. The difference is that by using the port monitor, it is possible to use a Windows 95 workstation as the spooling station.

Pro's

  • Users can continue sending print jobs when the printer is not available.
  • Centralized administration of the printer at the spooling station.

Con's

  • Individuals have a limited amount of control over their own print jobs.
  • Users need to be educated in selecting the correct printer to which they should direct their print jobs.
  • NetportExpress print servers must be on the same network segment as the spooling station due to the limitations of the NetBIOS protocol.

This applies to:

Intel® NetportExpress™ 10 and 10/100 Print Servers
Intel® NetportExpress™ PRO and PRO/100 Print Servers



Solution ID: CS-015141
Last Modified: 07-Oct-2013
Date Created: 25-Aug-2004
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