In this video we’ll take a look at Printer Pooling, which is the process of connecting many physical printers to one of the printer queues. This is generally done in a print heavy department with a high volume of output so that printers are always available to load balance the print jobs. Printer pooling provides more output than one physical printer could ever provide. Let’s have a closer look.
0:24 Consider that you have a typical printer queue. Normally this printer queue would be connected to the physical printer, known in Windows terminology as the Printing Device. Printer Pooling allows one printer queue to be connected to 2 or more physical printers. Consider that you have configured a printer in Windows. There are 3 physical printers of the same make and model on the network. You can enable printer pooling so the one printer queue is connected to all 3 of the physical printers. If 3 documents were printed, one after the other, you can see that the documents will be divided up amongst the 3 physical printers. Printer pooling is excellent for certain situations. For example, if you have a student lab where there are a ton of computers and several available, shared individual physical printers – all of the same model of course. This allows many users to print their documents and not worry about which printer is currently in use. Since all of the printers are located in close proximity, it is not difficult for the student to locate the document amongst the printers that could have printed it.
How it works
1:30 Now we’ll go ahead and explain how Printer Pooling actually works. An available physical printer gets the print job which is done in a round robin fashion meaning the next one in order gets it, so it’s not a true load balancing. The size of the print job is not taken into consideration when the print job is sent to the printer. The physical printers also must be all the same type and should all be the same manufacturer and same model as well. This is because printer pooling uses the same printer driver all throughout so different physical printers may give unexpected results. Printer drivers can be very troublesome if they are not the correct versions. Configuring printer pooling is very simple. To enable it, first open the Control Panel and select ‘Devices and Printers’. Once Devices and Printers is open, right click on a printer and select the option “Printer Properties”. Once the properties have been opened, select the ‘Ports’ tab. Notice that only one port can be active at a time. To enable printer pooling, tick the option at the bottom of the screen “Enable Printer Pooling”. Once the option is enabled, you can select multiple ports. Notice that the ports do not have to be the same. For example, you can have one printer connected using the USB and the other over the network. The important point to remember is that the printers that are connected to each port are physically the same. That is the same model from the same manufacturer. If the port that you require is not visible, press the button “Add Port”. For example, if you have network printers you may need to add additional network ports. Notice also, the settings below this, such as the device driver. All of the printers in the printer pool need to share the same settings.
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