One tool that may be beneficial to an office or business is a universal printer driver. This driver communicates with all the printers on a network in a standard language, rather than one that is tied in to only a single printer brand. The pros and cons of this printing method are outlined below.
Many offices have many computers and a mix of operating systems, which can make a central printing solution quite challenging, even if the operating systems involved are only a few years old. Universal printer drivers were created for networks, which means they can be put into use quickly without the hassle of configuring print settings on each individual machine. A very large business network may require VDI printing in order to obtain more custom settings.
Universal Print Drivers at a glance
Printing is considered as a mundane task but printing problems can cause a loss in productivity and time. In fact, printing erros are one of the most common problems that IT professionals have to deal with. In most office networking environment, getting a universal print driver can do a lot of good. Getting a UPD means you’re using one driver for all printers in your network. This simplifies the work of IT dept since they don’t have to manage separate drivers for each printer. Ultimately, this translates to less down time for end users and fewer IT service calls.
One disadvantage of putting a universal printer driver into use is it may limit the options available on the printer. Features such as scanning and faxing operations will not be available using a generic driver. A printer manufacturer may provide its own universal driver, as well as separate drivers for the extra functions. This does not usually happen and the network using the generic driver is limited to simple printing.
Just printing in and of itself can be problematic with a universal driver, espcially for lower end drivers. Printer manufacturers do not consider the possibility of a generic driver being used with their model and this can result in artifact characters being produced. Artifact characters, also known as error fonts, appear when the information being passed from the computer to the printer is not translated well. It is chalked up to the convenience of using a universal driver.
In most situations, a universal print driver will work well and provide smooth network printing. If this is not the case, the IT department may have to resort to using the manufacturer provided drivers. In the long run, it may be more practical to invest in a single brand of printer (and maybe opearting systems and software for every user) and not have the extra worry of universal printing issues. But then again, problems can also exist from having different model printers even if you get them all from the same manufacturer.
At the end of the day, UPD may not be suitable for every business but they do provide benefits for the companies that use them. It provides convenience both to the end users and administrators. It also has a partial cost-saving effect since the time of employees are used on more productive activities instead on troubleshooting and downtime.