Before you setup your IPP printer, it’s worth asking: is the IPP printing protocol the best choice for me? Emphasis on the for me bit.
See, there’s no right or wrong answer here. Which protocol you adopt for your network printing will ultimately depend on a bunch of factors, including the size of your network, how many users there are, and considerations like printer security and printer compatibility. Short version: IPP printers are amazing, but IPP isn’t the only protocol out there.
In this article, we’re going to run through some of the benefits of IPP printing, and compare IPP against some of the other popular printing protocols. Apologies in advance for all the acronyms, OK?!
What is an IPP printer?
An IPP printer operates via the IPP protocol. IPP stands for ‘Internet Printing Protocol’. It’s basically a secure protocol for network printing via the internet. In other words, instead of physically hooking your printer up to your computer, or running dozens of ethernet cables all over the place, IPP allows multiple computers to print wirelessly – and even remotely – over a single network.
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What are the benefits of an IPP printer when it comes to network printing?
IPP has become the go-to printing protocol for many larger organizations because it simplifies the whole set-up and sync process. With an IPP printer, administrators can manage print settings and troubleshoot issues from a single location – everything’s run through the network. There are other benefits too:
Cross-platform compatibility – IPP works across different operating systems and platforms, including macOS, Windows and even Linux. So you don’t have to worry about printer commands getting lost in translation.
Remote printing – With an IPP printer, users can print from anywhere, as long as they’re connected to the network. This is obviously amazing for branch offices, remote workers, or staff who are printing from the road.
One protocol to rule them all– Printing is complicated enough without dozens of protocols running side-by-side. IPP is an industry standard protocol, developed by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), so you know it’ll work across different printer brands and software platforms.
How network printing compares: IPP vs LPD
LPD stands for Line Printer Daemon, and it’s been around for over 40 years. Based on the old-school Berkely printing system, LPD is another network printing protocol, making it similar in many ways to IPP. So which is better? Well, as always, that depends…
IPP printing – IPP has more robust features than LPD, which makes it generally better for modern, complex print environments. Admins and users can quickly check job attributes, status queries and error reporting. The downside is that IPP is a bit more complex to implement, and some older printers won’t support full IPP capabilities.
LPD printing – LPD is known for its simplicity, which is a good and bad thing. It’s incredibly easy to setup and troubleshoot, but it also lacks a lot of modern features. LPD is a great choice if you’re looking for minimal overheads: just efficient, basic print jobs. As an older protocol, it’s also widely compatible with different printers and operating systems.
How network printing compares: IPP vs SMB
SMB (Sever Message Block) is technically a communication protocol that includes printing, rather than a dedicated printing protocol. It means you can use it for other stuff, like file sharing across devices. Very handy on certain networks.
IPP printing – IPP has way more print job management capabilities than SMB, making it the better choice for networks that do a lot of complex printing. It’s also generally more secure than SMB, allowing authentication and encryption, which is pretty much essential for networking printing these days.
SMB printing – If you need printing and file sharing capabilities, SMB could be the way to go. It’s an incredible versatile protocol, although it’s generally used in Windows networks, rather than macOS or Linux. Keep in mind, SMB has some limitations: it doesn’t have standardized printer discovery, and it’ll struggle if you’re mixing different platforms and operating systems.
How network printing compares: IPP vs JetDirect
JetDirect is HP’s proprietary network printing protocol, so if you’re running a lot of HP printers, it could be a good option. It allows remote and wireless printing, just like IPP, and seamless integration with the entire HP catalogue.
IPP printing – IPP still wins this battle when it comes to advanced features and functionality. If you want really granular control over your print jobs and functions, IPP is probably the way to go. But it does depend on your hardware, too. If you’ve got a lot of HP printers, especially older HP printers that might not be IPP-compatible, JetDirect will be the way to go.
JetDirect printing – JetDirect obviously wins the compatibility battle, but only for HP printers. You’ll run into compatibility issues trying to print other manufacturers across JetDirect. For HP users, however, JetDirect is great: it’s easy to setup and troubleshoot, and even offers legacy printing support for older models. Keep in mind, using JetDirect will basically lock you into the HP ecosystem (which is, of course, why they created it).
Need help figuring out the right printing protocol for your office? Our team can help.
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