Comparing Device Meters Counts to PaperCut Logs
PaperCut is an end-user tracking and charging system as opposed to a meter collection and device billing system. Hence our objective is to track usage of MFPs and printers by users. When comparing the copier logs, device meter/billing reports with the PaperCut logs there is usually not a perfect match.
We have analyzed data from a number of customer sites, and have found there is typically less than 1 or 2 percent difference between these counters. The precise differences will depend on how the devices are used.
The reasons for differences between the meters and PaperCut counts are explained below.
PaperCut tracks usage performed by users, including:
- Network printing from workstations
- Off-the-glass MFP usage of copying, scanning and faxing (when using PaperCut MF).
However, there are some types of usage that may not be tracked by PaperCut because they are not performed by individual users which include:
- Technician / admin device reports (e.g. configuration reports, meter count reports, etc)
- Inbound fax prints
- Fax transmission reports.
Other reasons for differences can include:
- Prints that are sent to the printer directly (not via a print server PaperCut is monitoring). This can be avoided by locking access to direct printing - see here
- When print jobs are cancelled at the printer/MFP (after PaperCut has recorded the job at the print queue). This can be reduced by implementing hardware page checks - see here
- When PaperCut On Demand User Creation is configured to not add the user and allow printing.
- Periods where PaperCut is not monitoring the device usage. e.g. if the device is being serviced, or PaperCut is disabled temporarily.
- Rare error events such as a power failure or system failure leading to missed event reporting.
- PaperCut miscounting the number of pages, color or duplex in a print job. If you find cases of these please report them to us to be resolved - see here.
- Printers configured incorrectly in PaperCut - ensure that the color detection mode is set correctly for all printers. i.e. color detection isn’t being used for printers that only print grayscale (should be set to ‘this is a grayscale printer’), and vice versa (accidentally setting a color printer as ‘this is a grayscale printer’ - which will result in color jobs being printed, and PaperCut counting them as grayscale).
- Paper jams, while rare, may cause undercounts or overcounts depending on how the printer behaves, e.g. does it reprint the job or not. This can be reduced by implementing hardware page checks.
- Depending on the device type, some large page sizes (e.g.) 11×17 will be counted as two ‘clicks’ on the actual device for billing purposes. However in PaperCut it will still be counted as one (large) page.
- Moving/replacing physical devices - the physical device counter will then differ from the set of jobs being reported that went through the server’s print queue associated with the (now replaced) device.
Keywords: device meters, billing meters, charging meters, billing reports, MFP, MFD, invoice, reconcile, page count, incorrect