Eliminate Network Bandwidth Problems with Thin Client Printing

Posted by Chris Poole

The thin client architecture is ideal for environments that want to maintain a high degree of flexibility and a relatively low level of maintenance. Instead of having to touch each workstation when a change is needed, admins can often make single server-side changes that affect the entire client pool. That can save them as well as their end users a ton of hassle. But thin client printing? Well, that’s another story.

Owing to the very nature of the thin client setup, basic printing and print management can be exponentially more problematic even in these centrally managed environments. Instead of trying to address every one of those problems in this brief space, I want to look at one of the most universal issues: slow thin client printing.

Server-side computing is, of course, heavily dependent on the WAN connection, which links the local client to the server in the data center. If WAN throughput is diminished or interrupted in any way, client-side performance and functionality will invariably be compromised. This is especially true with routine printing, because it requires print-related interactions from the user on the endpoint device followed by print data being sent back and forth across the WAN to the local printer. When either one of those steps is affected as a result of limited bandwidth or a broken WAN connection, the user is bound to experience thin client printing issues in the form of speed or just general errors.

That’s a big vulnerability to contend with. Although WAN connections usually aren’t prone to daily or weekly outages, their performance can be seriously impacted every single day during high-traffic periods. And because printing can be fairly data-intensive, even when jobs are compressed, the demands of print-related network traffic can affect the bandwidth required for an optimal thin client computing experience throughout the day.

WAN load balancing or failover strategies can certainly be implemented in mission-critical scenarios, but these can also be expensive and require more admin oversight. That would unfortunately offset some of the inherent advantages of thin client solutions. As a result, many organizations simply accept slow thin client printing as a necessary drawback.

The good—and possibly surprising—news is that you don’t have to compromise. Thin client printing problems that stem from network bandwidth can be addressed quickly, seamlessly and cost-effectively with PrinterLogic, a next-generation, on-premises print management solution that leverages proven direct IP printing and uniquely combines it with powerful centralized management.

By establishing direct IP connections between clients and printers, PrinterLogic helps to reduce the print data traffic that travels across the WAN. Print jobs no longer have to make multiple network hops to arrive at the local printer, which circumvents a major cause of slow thin client printing. No print compression or WAN accelerator technologies are needed.

Another great advantage of PrinterLogic is that you can eliminate print servers from your thin client environment, regardless of whether you have them deployed locally or centrally. This not only removes another potential slowdown or point of failure from the network path, it also helps address longstanding thin client printing issues with driver management, printer deployment and downtime from spooler crashes.

PrinterLogic deploys rapidly even in large or customized environments, such as Citrix and VMware, and through the elimination of GPOs and scripts and the introduction of a self-service installation portal, it simplifies print management as effectively as it addresses the underlying causes of slow thin client printing. If your organization migrated to a thin client environment in part to reduce the time spent on management, you’re not enjoying the full benefits until you’ve implemented PrinterLogic.

Hurdles for Accurate GPO Printer Deployments

Posted by Jordan Pusey

When deploying printers, accuracy is key. If an end user winds up with the wrong printer, too many printers or even no printer, you’re looking at printing errors, wasted consumables, unnecessary frustration and helpdesk calls. That’s why one of the top responsibilities of any print management team is getting the right printers to the right users at the right time. Many organizations use group policy objects—or, more specifically, GPO printer deployments—to that end.

GPOs aren’t perfect, though. Their chains of contingencies leave plenty of room for error and not enough for flexibility. In fluid work environments, for example, end users who move from workstation to workstation or building to building can experience problems with their GPO printer not showing up because the policies that are in place don’t account for the users’ movements.

Although you can set up increasingly complex assignments to continue to deploy printers using group policy, this naturally increases the complexity of print management. And it also becomes downright impractical in modern IT environments that pride themselves on mobility and take a much more dynamic, ad hoc approach to where users are located.

To achieve a greater degree of customization, some print management admins turn to scripts. But that’s a subject for another blog post. For now, let’s focus on three broad hurdles you face when trying to deploy a printer via group policy and what you can do about them.

Driver problems: So many printing issues can actually be traced back to driver issues. To ensure that a GPO printer deployment goes smoothly, be sure to have the proper driver (and that includes distinguishing between 32- and 64-bit versions) installed on the print server, the client machine, and any of the other necessary network locations for your environment. Without the proper driver installed, your end users will certainly be unable to print, and in some cases, it could result in the GPO printer not showing up at all.

Policy conflicts: As I mentioned above, group policy’s rights requirements and difficult defaults can create conflicts or even end up delivering more printers to a user than he or she actually needs at any one time. It might sometimes seem like a good idea to err on the side of overkill, but that also has the potential to sow confusion, especially when printers have confusing names. The best thing is to review your policies with a fine-toothed comb and make sure that, among other things, GPOs are linked to the right OU.

Head-scratchers: Occasionally (or more often than that), you’ll run into a bug where the GPO printer connection is not visible even though your Point-and-Print settings are correct, your drivers all check out, your GPO permissions are in order, security filters are correct, and you’ve basically double-checked every possible variable for error. This problem might lie outside the realm of group policy and instead be a more fundamental issue with your server or your clients. If you’re using older systems, it could be time to upgrade.

Deploy printers without group policy
Knowing full well how vital accurate printer deployments are to end-user satisfaction and productivity, PrinterLogic eliminates GPOs and all their headache from the deployment process. Our next-generation print management solution integrates seamlessly with Active Directory and features an intuitive web-based GUI, allowing you to deploy printers to users with total precision—but without having to account for rights management and obscure settings.

PrinterLogic puts an end to hard-to-troubleshoot deployment issues like a GPO printer connection not being visible because it delivers printers to users automatically and dynamically on the basis of granular AD criteria such as user, computer, container or even IP addresses and hardware identifiers. With its unparalleled centralized management, PrinterLogic can also ensure that driver incompatibilities and conflicts don’t cause individual deployments to fail.

GPO printer deployment is inefficient at the best of times and an infuriating struggle at the worst. Implementing PrinterLogic means you can enjoy pinpoint-accurate printer deployments without ever having to deploy a printer using group policy again.

Solved—Printer Not Mapping Through Group Policy

Group policy can be a useful, even essential tool for administrators when managing their IT environment. At the same time, group policy can be a colossal headache for those same admins when it results in unexpected behaviors or the sets of configurations called group policy objects (GPOs) seem to be applied arbitrarily. In print management specifically, admins will often encounter situations where a printer is not mapping through group policy, leaving users unable to print.

Aside from the basic loss of print availability and productivity for the end user, these situations can have profound knock-on effects. Frustrated by something that seems like it should be straightforward, the user will typically end up calling the service desk for help. The support rep will then have to take time to isolate the print mapping problem.

But because group policy relies on strict rights management, support staff are rarely authorized to make the necessary group policy changes, thereby complicating the troubleshooting process. As a result, the ticket for the user’s GPO printer mapping issue is escalated to the admin tier, which means the problem now has to be reviewed by a new set of eyes. Here, either an admin deals with it immediately, taking his or her attention away from more important responsibilities, or the user is forced to wait, unable to print in the meantime.

That’s how simple GPO printer mapping problems add up to wasted resources over the long term. And it illustrates why solving these problems would remove a major source of frustration for admins and end users alike. Although printers not mapping correctly can be caused by any number of improper configurations or overlooked settings, here are some general solutions.

  • Know your rights: For security reasons, you can specify elevated rights as a precondition for installing printers and drivers. However, in many situations, this requirement causes driver installations and print mapping to fail. Instead configure your GPO printer mapping to allow users to install printers without admin rights.
  • Avoid conflict: Given the hierarchical nature of group policy, it’s not uncommon for GPOs to override or conflict with one another. Though it might take some time, review your resultant set of policy (RSoP) for all clients, not just the ones experiencing print mapping issues, to ensure that your GPOs are complementary and not contradictory.
  • Preferential treatment: Group policy preferences (GPPs) offer more flexibility—more like a should than a must. But sometimes this flexibility can be exactly what causes print mapping to fail. If using GPPs, try experimenting with a more rigid set of conditions as well as your method of preference execution (e.g., “update” or “replace” instead of “create”).
  • Read from the script: Rather than using group policy for your print mapping, you might have more success with a custom-coded network printer mapping script. These run during the logon process and can be deployed on a per-user basis, giving you more control over the printer mapping process.

Bear in mind that each of these practices comes with a caveat or two. For example, removing the elevated rights requirement for the sake of convenience could have security implications. And a network printer mapping script can prolong logon times considerably.

Eliminate group policy print mapping entirely with PrinterLogic
PrinterLogic is a next-generation print management solution that leverages direct IP printing and centralized management to ensure high print availability, dynamic printer deployment and effortless printer management throughout your organization. Its native deployment capabilities eliminate the need for GPO printer mapping or custom network printer mapping scripts, neatly avoiding the drawbacks of both. Yet it integrates seamlessly with Active Directory (AD), so you can automatically get printers to specific users on the basis of the same AD criteria you would be using for group policy.

By design, the installation possibilities don’t stop there. PrinterLogic empowers your end users with a self-service installation portal, giving them a consistent, intuitive way to identify and install nearby printers—even if they’re in a new and unfamiliar location—with a single click. They no longer have to wrestle with complex manual print mapping processes or be at the mercy of GPO printer mapping to print precisely when and where they need to. That reliability and ease of use likewise cuts down on service desk calls and support tickets.

PrinterLogic integrates quickly and seamlessly with any environment and can replace your print servers altogether—eliminating not only your current and future GPO printer mapping issues but your costly print infrastructure as well.

Print Management Trends: 2018

For many years now, and with only a few notable exceptions, print management in the enterprise has remained fairly stagnant. The vast majority of organizations are conducting print management more or less as they always have: either struggling with print servers or struggling with conventional direct IP printing.

However, as these organizations grow (through mergers, acquisitions and diversification) and evolve (by transitioning to a more mobile client pool, for example, or using “gig economy” freelancers in lieu of permanent in-house employees), both the need and the demand for print management software alternatives is starting to reach critical mass. Organizations want to spend fewer resources on managing printers and more on their core operations. For those reasons, we’ll see some of the emerging trends in print management turn into widespread behaviors in the coming year.

Cloud-Based Solutions
Industry analysts such as Gartner are projecting a $162 billion global spend—up from $67 billion in 2015—on cloud-computing initiatives in 2020, and cloud-based enterprise print management will certainly be a part of that. A rapidly increasing number of organizations are starting to recognize the exciting benefits that cloud services have to offer, such as convenient and predictable software-as-a-service (SaaS) pricing models, reduced physical infrastructure, and ubiquitous access and administration.

BYOD and Mobile Support

From an anecdotal standpoint, IT professionals tell us they’re seeing a sharp uptick in enterprise mobile computing initiatives. These tend to arise from and stimulate increased requests for BYOD use and guest access. The analytical data backs that up. One research firm expects that the BYOD enterprise mobility market size will reach $73.3 billion by 2021, more than doubling the 2016 figure of $35.1 billion.

Unfortunately, traditional print management software is well behind the mobility curve, offering minimal to no native support for mobile devices and making BYOD support far more challenging than it ought to be. At a time when enterprise print management needs to be more flexible and intuitive for admins as well as end users, the status quo is holding many organizations back.

Print Security

Security has always been a priority for system admins, but recent high-profile data breaches have put it at the front of everyone’s mind. Those concerns have extended to the way that organizations approach day-to-day printing as well as managing printers. On the backend, they want better 10,000-foot oversight, more auditing capabilities and more insight into specific printing habits. On the frontend, they want convenient methods of secure printing for their end users.

In 2018, organizations will start focusing even more on print security and considering ways to implement effective, user-friendly secure printing functionality, such as pull printing, through their print management software.


Well before these trends established themselves, PrinterLogic was revolutionizing print management software with its next-generation on-premises enterprise print management solution, which is now complemented by a powerful cloud-based SaaS solution, PrinterLogic SaaS (formerly PrinterCloud). Each solution integrates quickly and seamlessly with your organization’s existing environment (including Citrix and VMware), enabling you to eliminate print servers completely while enjoying direct IP printing uniquely coupled with centralized management.

In addition to making the process of managing printers incredibly easy through the elimination of GPOs and scripts, PrinterLogic provides your organization with advanced native functionality such as Mobile Printing and Pull Printing to satisfy even the most challenging BYOD and secure printing requirements. Unfettered from the limitations of traditional print management software, PrinterLogic also gives macro- and micro-level insight into your print environment through comprehensive Print Auditing functionality.

As more organizations discover the no-compromise advantages of our low-footprint, cost-effective approach to enterprise print management, augmented by the choice we now offer of an on-premises or cloud-based deployment, it’s possible that migrating to PrinterLogic could become the defining print management trend of 2018. And beyond.