With today's network printers, you no longer have to connect the printer directly to the print server--all you need is a power outlet and a network port. Add a network printer and cables, and you have a remote printer. Well, almost.
Network printers are a shared resource that network workstations can access as if the printer were directly connected to the print server. This sharing has several benefits over direct network printer access by all users. First, Windows NT's security can control access to the printer because the print queue is an NT service. Second, the printer location is independent of the NT server. In the case of a network print pool, users can access several printers from one convenient location. Third, printer redirection is a snap. The NT server routes the printer requests, so using a different printer means making a change on the server, not the clients. However, you still have to make a change on the clients if you change the type of printer (e.g., changing a PostScript printer to a non-PostScript printer). Finally, network printers can support multiple servers, thereby providing a redundant path to a printer from a workstation through each server. After you configure the print server and network printer, printer management is minimal.
Although NT supports several protocols for connecting network printers, TCP/IP is almost universally available and lets other servers on the network (such as UNIX machines) access the network printer. However, to provide network printing support using NT Server or NT Workstation with TCP/IP, you have to complete the few extra steps that this article outlines.
Two network printers that use TCP/IP are Lexmark's Optra S 1250 and Xerox's DocuPrint 4512. Both printers support IP connections and other connection protocols such as NetWare printer support. NT's printer architecture can use print monitors to manage individual printers. The Lexmark printer uses a custom print monitor that ships with NT 4.0, and the Xerox printer uses NT's generic TCP/IP print monitor.
Both installations are similar but not identical to one another. Most network printers use NT's generic approach, although the custom print monitor can provide a more sophisticated remote network printer configuration.
Lexmark Optra S 1250
The Lexmark Optra S is a 12-page-per-minute, 1200dpi printer and comes with an Ethernet network adapter. Options include multiple 500-sheet drawer paper feeders and a duplex printing unit. Faster printing versions are also available. The Optra S comes with MarkVision printer management application software that lets you view printer status and change printer settings from within NT.
Like many other manufacturers that are Web-enabling their network devices, Lexmark has Web-enabled its Optra S 1250 network printer. The printer has a fixed number of customizable HTML pages that the mini-Web server generates on the fly (Screen 1 shows an example). You can use any Web browser to check the status of the printer and create a link from any Web site to the mini-Web server. This remote monitoring is great for the network administrator who needs to monitor several available printers. One click, and you can see the status of each printer.
To set up this network printer, you need to follow 15 steps (even if you use NT's generic TCP/IP printer support, you need to follow steps 1 through 9 in this section of the article):
STEP 1: Click the Start button in NT 4.0, and select Settings and Printers. Double-click Add Printer to start NT's Printer Wizard. The first dialog box in the Printer Wizard lets you install a local or network printer. Select My Computer, as you see in Screen 2, to install the network printer as a local printer on the print server. Later you will link the print driver to the network printer so that the workstations on your network can access this resource. Click the Next button to move to the next Printer Wizard dialog box.
STEP 2: The next step is to select the port for the network printer. For the time being, select any port in the list (such as LPT1) and click Next. You will add a specific port for this printer later.
STEP 3: The next Printer Wizard dialog box provides a list of printers. Select the appropriate entry for the Lexmark Optra S 1250. If this printer is not listed, click Have Disk. You will probably have to tell NT where to find the drivers for this printer because the default list is for direct-connect printers. If you click Have Disk, select the location of the printer drivers and click OK to move to the next step.
STEP 4: The new list of printers will include the network printer, as you see in Screen 3. Select the proper driver, and click Next (some printers support more than one printer emulation mode, in which case you will see multiple drivers in the list for that printer). You can set up additional printers by repeating these steps; however, check the printer's documentation to see whether it can support multiple emulation modes at the same time.
STEP 5: The Printer Wizard will ask you to enter a name for the printer. The default name reflects the type of printer, but you can change the printer name to be anything. I suggest that you make the name representative of the type of printer you are installing or its location, especially if you connect multiple network printers to your network. Enter a name, and click Next.
STEP 6: At this point, you can access the network printer only from the computer where you added the printer driver. To share this printer with other users on the network, enter a share name in the Printer Wizard dialog box and click Next. The share name can be different from the printer name you selected in the previous step. The share name must be eight characters or fewer if you plan to use DOS or Windows 3.x workstations with this printer.
STEP 7: You have reached the last Printer Wizard dialog box. Deselect the option to print a test page if it is selected, and click Finish.
STEP 8: You have now finished installing the printer driver. The name of the printer you entered in Step 5 will appear in the printer list, as you see in Screen 4. But before users on the network can print to this printer, you need to set up the printer port that NT uses to communicate with the network printer. You set the printer port from the printer's Properties dialog box. Select the printer from the list of available printers, and right-click the printer to open the Properties dialog box.
STEP 9: Select the Ports tab from the Properties dialog box to display the Ports page, as you see in Screen 5. You will see a check mark next to the port that you selected in Step 2 (i.e., LPT1). You need to add a new port so that you can share the network printer. To do so, click Add Port.
STEP 10: The Printer Ports dialog box shows a list of print monitors. By default, NT installs with a set of monitors, including one for Lexmark. Select the Lexmark Network Port, and click the New Port button to open the Configure TCP/IP adapter list.
STEP 11: Unless you have configured other network printers for use with this computer, the Configure TCP/IP adapter list will be empty . Click the Add Adapter button to set up a connection to the network printer.
STEP 12: The Add New Adapter dialog box has two fields, as shown in Screen 6, page 179. The first is the TCP/IP Address or Name of Adapter. You can use a name instead of an IP address in this field if you have a Domain Name System (DNS) server on your network that can resolve the name into an IP address. A name is better than a fixed IP address because you can change the IP address and adjust the DNS server without having to change the printer configuration. The second field is the Community Name. The default entry for this field is public. Do not change the name in this field unless the printer's documentation instructs you to enter a different name. Click OK after you fill in both fields.
STEP 13: The Configure TCP/IP dialog box list will now include the newly added TCP/IP adapter. If not, you did not enter the values correctly in step 12 and you will have to repeat step 11; otherwise, click Done.
STEP 14: After you set up the TCP/IP adapter, you will see the Add Lexmark Network Port dialog box, as shown in Screen 7. This dialog box is specific to Lexmark printers (it is a part of the Lexmark port monitor you selected in step 10). You need to provide a name, such as OptraS1250, for the logical port in the Logical Port Name field. The name is not crucial, but I suggest you use one related to the printer, its location, or its general use. You can ignore the other tabs. Click OK after you enter the network (logical) port name.
STEP 15: The last step is to verify that the port selection on the Port page of the printer's Properties dialog box has changed from LPT1 to the network (logical) port name, such as OptraS1250, you entered in step 14.
You can now test the printer by printing a test page from the General tab of the network printer's Properties dialog box. If the document fails to print, check the printer, the network connection, and the printer's queue status.
You can ping the network printer from the command prompt to test the connection to the printer. In this case, ping 126.96.36.199 will show whether the IP settings are correct. If you can successfully ping the printer, you can run the LPQ command from the command prompt to display the network printer's status. You can also run the LPR command from the command prompt to print a specified file.
To adjust the network printer's settings, open the printer's Properties dialog box. The Device Settings tab provides access to printer-specific settings, as you see in Screen 8. After you confirm that the printer is connected and functioning, you can configure the clients on your network to use the printer: Run the Printer Wizard, and select the network printer from the workstation.
Xerox DocuPrint 4512
The Xerox DocuPrint 4512 is a 600dpi, workgroup printer that generates documents comparable to output from 1200dpi printers. Duplex printing and two 250-sheet paper drawers come standard, and an envelope drawer is optional. A large toner cartridge and a separate drum cut the consumables cost to almost half that of comparable printers.
This network printer uses the generic Windows NT TCP/IP print monitor that ships with NT 4.0. The generic support works with any TCP/IP network printer. First you add the Microsoft TCP/IP Printing support. The second step is to perform steps 1 through 9 in the previous section to set up the printer driver. Finally, you combine the Microsoft TCP/IP Printing support with the printer driver. Use the following five steps to set up the 4512.
STEP 1: Open the Network applet in the NT Control Panel, and select the Services tab. Typically, the list of installed services will not include the Microsoft TCP/IP Printing support. If Microsoft TCP/IP Printing is not listed, click Add; otherwise, skip to step 3.
STEP 2: Locate Microsoft TCP/IP Printing on
the list of network services, as you see in Screen 9, and click OK. Next, click
OK to close the Network applet. NT will prompt you for the location of the NT
CD-ROM or floppies if it cannot find the files it needs to in-
stall the Microsoft TCP/IP Printing support.
STEP 3: Perform steps 1 through 9 from the previous section, but select the driver for the Xerox DocuPrint 4512 instead of the Lexmark printer. After you step through this process, you will end up in the Printer Ports dialog box for the Xerox printer. An LPR Port monitor is available in this screen that was not available during the Lexmark installation. Screen 10 shows this port monitor. Select it, and click New Port.
STEP 4: You will see the Add LPR compatible printer dialog box, which lets you enter the printer name and the printer port name. You will see an IP address or DNS name that NT assigned to the printer, using the printer's configuration process. The port name for this network printer might be a fixed name, such as PORT1, or any name that you give to the port. Check the printer's documentation to be sure, and click OK when you're finished.
STEP 5: If you share the Xerox DocuPrint 4512 network printer as you shared the Lexmark printer in step 6 of the previous section, the printer will now be accessible to users across the NT network. The troubleshooting comments from the previous section also apply to this configuration.
Installing a network printer doesn't have to be difficult. Most problems occur from mismatched IP addresses, DNS names, or printer names, so check these areas first. Also, disable non-TCP/IP support on the printer if you don't use other protocols on the network.
Optra S 1250|
Contact: Lexmark * 800-539-6275
Contact: Xerox 800-428-2995