Native iOS Printing

Posted by Steve Kelley

Solving iOS printing without an MDM
As IT professionals, it is inevitable we face the need to support iOS devices for printing. As of 2014, over 800 million iOS devices were in the market [1]. So, if your corporation is like PrinterLogic or the 1,500 plus customers we support with tight BYOD policies and traveling sales staff needing fast and convenient printing, iOS printing is likely a hot topic. There are a few officially licensed AirPlay printers available, but what about all those fancy Multi Function Printers (MFPs) that took a chunk of your budget last year? Let’s take a look at how PrinterLogic helps you securely utilize those printers with iOS devices.

Native iOS Printing
PrinterLogic enables you to integrate native iOS printing from iPhones, iPads, and even iPods into your printing environment. Customers ask me during demonstrations if their iOS devices need to be enrolled in a mobile device management (MDM) tool. MDM is not needed to use PrinterLogic’s awesome native iOS printing capabilities.
With PrinterLogic and our Mobile Printing and BYOD and Guest Printing features, you just create a MobilePrint queue. The next step is to simply add a few DNS entries that we have documented in our User Guide. Now, your MobilePrint Queue will show up on all on-network iOS devices. That is it! No downloading an application on each iOS device, no configuration on your end users part, and no confusion at where your end users should print to. That means less service desk calls and higher internal customer satisfaction.

All you need is one easy-to-use PrinterLogic native iOS print queue on all of your iOS devices. On top of that your users can send those mobile print jobs to any printer in your environment! No need to buy new printers, no MDM, and no integration headache.

End Users Experience
Now that end users have the mobile print queue available on all their iOS devices, how do they get print jobs from their device to the printers? From their iOS device a user selects the MobilePrint queue from within any application. The user then authenticates at a PrinterLogic enabled MFP and the job is pulled down using the printer’s console. PrinterLogic makes authentication simple too. You can use a RFID badge on supported MFPs, a computer browser, or even use the same iOS device to pull the job down to any printer.

Behind the Scenes
For those who want to know all the behind the scenes action, it is quite simple. Your PrinterLogic server is being setup with a MobileQueue that is a virtual AirPlay printer. That queue ends up on all your iOS devices through Apple’s DNS service discovery protocol, NOT BONJOUR MULTICASTING. Bonjour services sometimes get a bad reputation for causing a lot of unnecessary network traffic and issues with cross-network compatibility. However, with PrinterLogic’s iOS printing this is not the case. Because it is only the one virtual AirPlay printer that is using bonjour DNS-discovery service your network engineers will likely embrace this solution. To set up this bonjour service all that is required is four specifically formatted DNS entries. After that your MobilePrint Queue will be available on all your iOS devices. It is important to note that this can also be setup across different VLAN’s as long as IPP port 631 and DNS port 53 are open. So no worries about your segmented WIFI or guest network.

Tracking iOS Printing
You could definitely file this feature under “cost savings”, and this advantage is worthy of a separate highlight. The at-a-glance reporting of PrinterLogic makes it easy to determine which printers are being utilized the most, including which ones are now being used for iOS printing. Data points like date, time, printer, user, computer, color and document name are all readily available, enabling you to track usage throughout your entire organization in an incredibly granular way.

So if you are ready to bring iOS printing to your environment in the most cost-effective way, reach out to us and we’ll be happy to set you up with a live demonstration and even a free Proof of Concept to try out iOS and all our printing features in your environment.

(1) Cook, T. (Director) (2015, June 8). WWDC Keynote. World Wide Developer’s Conference. Lecture conducted from Apple, San Francisco.