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Fast Release Card Reader Terminal Network Protocol


What is Fast Release?

Fast Release is a cost-effective print release (Secure/Find-Me Printing) solution that uses off-the-shelf card readers available from multiple manufacturers. The Fast Release terminals are connected to the network (not the printer) allowing them to be used with any printer on the market. A USB card reader is connected to the the Fast Release Terminal and users use their proximity card to authenticate. PaperCut releases the users held print jobs to the printer associated with the Fast Release Terminal.

The solution does not rely on embedded software and hence will work with any printer type.

Here’s how it works:

  1. The administrator places a networked card reader next to the printer. The card reader in PaperCut (identified by an IP address) is linked with a queue.
  2. A user prints to the queue. The job will not print immediately and will be held.
  3. The user walks up to the printer and presents their card at the reader.
  4. The card number is sent to the PaperCut server and the user identified.
  5. Any jobs in the queue for the adjacent printer (which belong to this user) will automatically start printing.

Fast Release Supported Hardware

The same reader types used on most embedded solutions can also be used for Fast Release. This ensures the maximum level of card compatibility. The two popular readers are Elatec and RFIDeas . The standard USB Elatec reader can be turned into an Ethernet/IP networked reader with a simple TCP Converter Box. In some cases special firmware needs to be loaded onto the reader to support Fast Release. For example, the specially written scripts for the Elatec reader allows the PaperCut server to send different audible tones and lights on different conditions (e.g. no jobs, unknown card).

As well as card readers the Elatec TCP converter can also be used with USB keyboards. This can be useful when customers wish to enter in a number to release jobs. Please note not all USB keyboards/Number pads work so please contact support for models we have tested.

All PaperCut Authorized Solution Centers are able to advise on appropriate technology for a given situation/setup.

PaperCut MF currently has official support for the following network card readers.

  • Elatec TWN3 with the TCP Converter
  • RFIdeas Ethernet card readers

When using these terminals, PaperCut can provide additional functionality to provide feedback to the user (e.g. successful/failed login). For example beeping or changing/flashing the LEDs.

General Protocol Overview

How it works:

  1. The PaperCut server opens a TCP socket connection to the network card reader on the configured port.
  2. The PaperCut server does some basic probing of the card reader to try to detect the card reader type. If an Elatec or RDIdeas reader detected we can use a more complex protocol to control beeps and LEDs.
  3. Then PaperCut waits for the card number to be sent over the TCP connection. The card number should be sent followed by a new line character.
  4. After the card number is read by PaperCut it authenticates the user and then goes back to step 3 to read the next card number.

In order to support this workflow all a network card reader needs to do is:

  1. Listen on a port of your choice for a connection
  2. Accept the connection
  3. When a card is swiped send the card number followed by a new line character
  4. Wait for the next card swipe and repeat

Default Ports used when setting up the Fast Release Device:

Elatec TCP Converter Type 1

  • USB Device = 7778
  • Serial Device = 7777

Elatec TCP Converter Type 2

  • USB Device = 7777
  • Serial Device = 7778

RFIDeas Ethernet 241 Adapter

  • USB Device = 2001
  • Serial Device = 2000

If you have any questions, please contact your Authorised Solution Center , your Reseller or PaperCut the support team.

Categories: Reference Articles , Scripting and APIs , Releasing Print Jobs

Keywords: fast release , network reader , protocol , connection , integration , mf-only


Last updated June 13, 2024