7.7. Networked Versus Local Printers

Depending on organizational needs, it may be unnecessary to assign one printer to each member of your organization. Such overlap in expenditure can eat into allotted budgets, leaving less capital for other necessities. While local printers attached via a parallel or USB cable to every workstation are an ideal solution for the user, it is usually not economically feasible.

Printer manufacturers have addressed this need by developing departmental (or workgroup) printers. These machines are usually durable, fast, and have long-life consumables. Workgroup printers usually are attached to a print server, a standalone device (such as a reconfigured workstation) that handles print jobs and routes output to the proper printer when available. More recent departmental printers include built-in or add-on network interfaces that eliminate the need for a dedicated print server.