Separate balances for printing and internet

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Important: This is a legacy article. The internet control module is currently under EOL transition.

Introduction

By default PaperCut has a single account balance that is used for both Print and Internet quotas. This has a number of advantages including:

  • Simplified management
  • Easy to understand for your users (just like a bank account)
  • More flexibility (user can choose how they spend their balance)

However some organizations like to keep the two accounts separate so that if users use up their Internet quota, then they can still print. PaperCut can be setup to allow separate balances, however in most circumstances it’s not necessary because users learn quickly to manage their balance carefully.

Configuring separate print and Internet balances

Usually additional PaperCut servers are added to your network as “Secondary” PaperCut servers. This means that the additional server shares the same PaperCut user database and therefore the user has a single shared balance.

To set up separate print and net balances, when you install PaperCut for your Proxy/Internet server, set it up as a Primary PaperCut server so that it has its own user database with a separate balances.

So now when users print, the cost of printing will be deducted from the account stored on the print server. When they use the Internet, their usage cost will be deducted from the account on the proxy server.

Allocating different quotas to printing and Internet

Now that there are two Primary PaperCut servers, (one hosting the Print balances, and one hosting the Internet balances), you can easily define separate quotas for Print and Internet by defining different scheduled quotas on each server.

For example, to define a $2 a week printing allowance and a $10 a month Internet quota, then you would:

  • On the print server, set up a weekly schedule allocating $2 to users
  • On the proxy server, set up a monthly schedule allocating $10 to users

With separate balances, how can users see their available balances?

Now that users have two balances there are a number of options that allow your users to view their current print and internet balances. Users can view their balances using either the User Client Tool or the Web Tools interface.

If you prefer to use the user web interface, you can set it up on both your print and proxy servers. Then when users want to check their print balance they view the web tools on the print server, and when they want to view their net balance they view the web tools on the proxy server. Administrators can set up two separate links on the Intranet site so users can quickly log in to either system.

If you prefer to use the user client tool then the key is to start two copies of the client at startup - one off the print server, and the other off the proxy server. This can be done by launching both clients from your login script:

e.g.

\\printserver\PCClient\win\pc-client-local-cache.exe

and

\\proxyserver\PCClient\win\pc-client-local-cache.exe.

So that users can tell the clients apart, the config.properties file should be changed. This file is located in the same directory as the client executable - it’s a standard text file. Modify the following entries:

  • windowtitle the title that appears on the client window. Set to something like “Internet Balance” and “Print Balance” accordingly.
  • windowposition place one in the ‘ ’top-right” and the other in the “top-left”
  • background-color (Optional) consider changing the window color so it’s easy to tell to two apart.

By customizing these entries it will be possible for the users to tell which windows and messages apply to the print and net balances.

An alternative to starting both clients at startup, is to to create two separate shortcuts in the user’s “Start Menu”, so the user can choose to view whichever the quota balance they would like. For example, “My Internet Balance” and “My Printing Balance”.


Categories: InternetControl


Keywords: individual, separate, multiple, accounts, credit, running two clients

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Article last modified on November 14, 2012, at 01:16 AM
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