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Workgroup printing

Does anyone have a good - or bad - word to say for workgroup printers? Seems like a good idea, put a heavy duty printer on the network and let everyone share it. But does it work in practice? What are the advantages/disadvantages in practice?

Any comments would be greatly appreciated to help put the finishing touches to this months printer series on AccountinWEB.
Nigel Harris

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Health and Safety considerations
When we relocated to new premises, one of the things I insisted on was a networked printer so that everyone, including me, had to get out of their seat regularly. My back and posture has been transformed in the last two years. I urge anyone to look further than immediate cost implications and force eveyone to get off their backsides occasionally.

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Networked printers
We have a number of networked printers within our offices which all operate reasonably well. Over the years we have been removing printers attached to local machines once obsolete. We have a large heavy duty printer which takes the bulk of the work - mainly multi page documents. As long as there are no problems with it, it works fine. The only problem we faced with it is people printing single sheet or short documents who then go to the outtrays and mess up what is there awaiting the arrival of the person who originally sent it. We have another two printers reasonably close i.e no more than 5 metres, which are designed to handle the small things with letterhead, plain etc. Once the people realised it was easier to walk a few yards, the problem disappeared. As previous respondents have said, it is horses for courses.

We are saving money in cartridge terms and there is less time being spent sorting out printer problems as there are fewer printers. One thing we did learn is not to share a printer through windows but to network it properly. The number of problems just increased.

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workgroup printers or not...
I guess it all depends on the number of users and what they want to print. If you have 3 or 4 people in an office, it might even be cheaper to go with personal printers as the cost of a cheap laser printer is about £100-200 and a decent workgroup printer is probably £5-600. You may then need to add network interfaces into that cost, they dont always come as standard.

More than one printer also means a breakdown does not put you out of action, you just share one of the remaining printers and off you go. There are certain times of year when having one (broken down) printer could be a big disadvantage...

There is always a need in larger companies for a large/heavy duty printer/copier, but in the smaller offices, personal laser printers may sometimes be a better option than a workgroup printer.

John R

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Yes and no
Depends what your needs are. I work in a department where most print needs are for black and white, multipage documents, printed double sided. This indicates a fast, duplex printer. However, each user probably only prints a couple of times a day, and this fits in perectly with a workgroup printer. In fact we have two large HPs with multi-bin output and a single colour laser serving a department of 30. Works fine for us.

If users have different needs, e.g. short documents, colour, lots of prints, then individual printers may be a better bet.

Horses for courses, really.

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agree
i think most correspondents usually agree with Neil!

i run 1 printer for a 4 person 2 room network because

1) location
2) cost
3) everybody knows how to use it (and fixit)
4) reliability
4) they cant choose the wrong printer
5) supplies are all the same

i could go on but its monday morning and i am knackered already

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