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Mobility Print architecture

When planning to set up Mobility Print in large or complex environments, questions often pop up about what the best architecture is and how many servers will be needed.

Before you decide, answer these question:

  • How many subnets are in the network?
  • Is there an internal DNS server?
  • How many print servers need Mobility Print?

Based on your answers, now choose the setup method most suited for your environment.

# of Subnets Is there an internal DNS Server? Recommended # of Mobility Print Servers Recommended setup method
1     Single Mobility Print server with mDNS
2     Single Mobility Print server with mDNS, patched into multiple networks
> 2 No internal DNS 1 Single Mobility Print server with mDNS, with a network configured for Bonjour Forwarding or mDNS reflectors
> 2 No internal DNS > 2 Multiple Mobility Print servers with mDNS
> 2 Yes internal DNS. 1 Single Mobility Print server with DNS-SD records set up
> 2 Yes internal DNS > 2 Multiple Mobility Print servers with DNS-SD records set up
> 2 Internal DNS for some networks   Hybrid—a Mobility Print server with mDNS enabled and the DNS-SD records set up

Single Mobility Print server with mDNS

In cases where there is a simple flat network with only one subnet, then just install Mobility Print on the print server.

By default, mDNS just works to broadcast the printers in the local subnet. Devices outside of the subnet will not see the broadcast.

Single Mobility Print server with mDNS, patched into multiple networks

When there are multiple subnets on the network, for example a wired network and a Wi-Fi network, just plug the Mobility Print server into both networks. You can do this by adding a network interface (such as a Wi-Fi dongle) to connect the Mobility Print server to the second network.

The Mobility Print server will automatically broadcast printers on both interfaces, and clients on both subnets will be able to discover the printers.

This is a handy deployment method if there are a couple subnets in the network, but no internal DNS server.

Single Mobility Print server with mDNS, with a network configured for Bonjour Forwarding or mDNS reflectors

This scenario is rare, but if the networking hardware supports Bonjour Forwarding, then it is possible to configure the router or wireless access points to forward mDNS traffic from the Mobility Server VLAN to the user VLANs.

Another way to achieve this is with an mDNS reflector appliance. However, it is best to set up the DNS records if there is a DNS server.

Multiple Mobility Print servers with mDNS

If each site already has it’s own print server that serves the local subnet, then simply install Mobility Print on each server and use the built in mDNS. Even though there are multiple Mobility Print servers, clients will only see the printers broadcast from the Mobility Print server in the same subnet.

This isn't recommended if the print servers are all located at one data center and all the mDNS broadcast traffic has to squeeze through a WAN connection.

Single Mobility Print server with DNS-SD records set up

This is the trusty, tried, and true method. Just follow the steps on the Mobility Print server to set up the DNS records.

Instead of the Mobility Print server broadcasting the printers, clients check with the DNS server to discover the printing services and are then redirected to the Mobility Print server.

PaperCut MF customers can use this solution in tandem with Find-Me printing, allowing users to send print jobs to the Find-Me Print queue from any device, from anywhere in the network, with the ability to release the print job at any copier.

Multiple Mobility Print servers with DNS-SD records set up

There are plenty of other ways to set up Mobility Print for extremely large environments; however, managing the DNS records can get extremely complicated. Take a look at Discover your printers using DNS.

Hybrid—a Mobility Print server with mDNS enabled and the DNS-SD records set up

In most networks, clients can discover the Mobility Print server using DNS-SD, because they are pointed towards the organization’s internal DNS server. However, what if there is a Guest Wi-Fi network that uses an external DNS server instead?

Fortunately an easy solution is to patch the Mobility Print server into the Guest Wi-Fi network and re-enable mDNS broadcast on the Mobility Print server.

Clients pointed to the organization’s DNS server will be able to discover the printers, and clients pointed towards an external DNS server would still be able to discover the printers because they are in the same subnet as the Mobility Print server.