Printer server in BYOD environment


I work for a company which deliver printers to different types of temporary clients, like production offices and press centers. This means that basically all users bring their own devices.

Our method has been to just provide the printer and include a USB flash drive with the drivers for Windows and MacOS. This method has given us some extra work, since not all people are tech savvy enough to install a printer on their device and since printer drivers are not always plug and play. For bigger deliveries, this has meant that we have been forced to have assign personnel to run around and help users with their devices, which is very time consuming (especially since the user count might be anywhere between 100 to 1000 people).

Therefore, we have now started to look into the world of printer servers.

In a perfect world, the user shows up, receives a simple instruction to install a printer, which in turn really is a print server, with some generic (preferably preinstalled) printer driver. The print server, which have the actual printer installed with the real driver for the printer, then relays the print to the printer.

I’m not sure if this possible to achieve, but it would be the target delivery. We have looked into CUPS a little bit, but I’m not sure if it can act as a “printer relay” like I described above for both Windows and MacOS.

What do you guys think? Is this possible to accomplish, or is there some other solution which might work better or would be easier to set up?

(We have spoken with our printer supplier, and they use some Windows+Linux-server setup, but I haven’t received the specs on this yet.)

If I remember correctly CUPS print servers can be set up to provide printer drivers to Windows clients via Samba. I don’t think it can serve drivers to Macs though, but Apple is pretty good about getting drivers when printers are set up through the System Preferences panel so I don’t think you would have an issue there.

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Possible on windows client, but for anything that is not B&W text on a A4/US letter job, you are probably going to want the specific driver for each printer.

For a print server running Linux, run cups backend with samba front end that client connect to. You can also have windows clients connect directly to cups if needed, however only samba has automatic driver downloads/installs. The setup is kind of a pain, especially in a non-domain environment, but I have gotten it running before. See the wiki pages for how to set it up.

For a window print server, the built in print management tool can setup sharing printers over SMB, including automatic driver downloads.