Like many other devices on computer networks, the printer handles a large number of requests from entire departments. Unlike many devices designed for network use, the technology behind handling multiple print requests still hasn't been perfected to the point of avoiding slow performance when there are too many people needing too many pages. Although every network is different, consider a few techniques that can digitally unjam the printer queue and reduce future failures.
Why Does The Printer Queue Fail?
Although there are some slight differences depending on the operating systems used in your business, printing is a process of building a package of text for the printer and slowly feeding it across the network.
Printers are computers with a limited amount of memory, which keeps costs down in a market that is constantly replacing, upgrading and adding to printer networks. Unfortunately, a lot of the lengthy or graphically complex printouts needed by workers may be a bit much for the printer to understand--especially if there's a lot of people trying to print at once.
To combat the print job overload, a process called spooling was developed. Instead of sending the entire file to the printer at once, the data is sent in small packets that can be fed to the printer while keeping resource usage low. Like many processes in the computer world, spooling is an amalgam of different projects and programming mindsets that usually works well, but critically fails often enough to frustrate people who aren't into the more high-tech side of things.
It's important to understand this before buying multiple wide format printers or other high-performance printers. It isn't the printer's fault that spooling errors occur; spooling is just a problematic process that hasn't been perfected yet.
Most spooling errors can be solved by shutting down the printer and every computer trying to print to that printer, then starting everything up again. If the process seems like a lot of work, don't worry; seasoned technicians can help.
You May Need A Physical Print Server
Although you'll need a technician with some system administration skills as well as printer repair experience (which isn't a rare combination), spooling can be configured to send the entire file at once. Instead of relying on spooling to break up information, a print server can be built to handle the requests.
A printer server performs like any other server, and can even be made from a cheaper, old computer. The print server simply accepts all of the print jobs from the network, then manages the printing data itself. Customized print management configurations can be made to keep all of the printing jobs associated with the computer it came from, and the printer only has one customer to deal with.
If you'd like a print server configured or suspect physical problems with your printer capabilities contact a printer repair professional.