Internet Printing Protocol, or IPP, is a standardised network printing protocol that can be utilised to print documents over a network. This allows users to print in the same building to the same printer, or to the printer at the home office from a thousand miles away. The standardized IPP is also capable of allowing user interfaces to manage printer resolution, media, print job queue, pause and cancel functions as if they were directly attached to the printer. The IPP is able to run locally, in the same building or city, or remotely over the internet, allowing several users to share the same printer to reduce office costs.
The History of IPP
The Internet Printing Protocol was originally the brainchild of Novell, who presented the idea to several printer manufacturers. Xerox and others joined in on the project in 1996, with Xerox and Novell presenting the initial project information. The project began with the coalition of the Printer Working Group, PWG, which included representatives from printer manufacturers and printer server program developers. At the conclusion of the December 1996 meeting of the Internet Engineering Task Force, it was determined there was industry-wide interest in the Internet Printing Protocol Project. The IETF is a collaboration to develop and promote best practices and standards for internet utilities. The IETF is organised into a number of working groups dedicated to completing work on a specific topic and then disbanding once the work is completed. The work group designated to work on the IPP, refining and clarifying best standards and processes, is the Printer Working Group, PWG.
The PWG is still working on refining the standardized portions of the IPP for use across all networks around the world. As of July 2009, the newest version of IPP was in development for universal release. Part of the functionality of IPP is using existing internet protocols, such as HTTP, as a backdrop to programming. By utilising existing protocols, greater security can be provided for users across internet and local networks.
How IPP Works
IPP allows users access to several options when printing over a network including identifying the printer’s capability, submit printing project to a specific printer, identify the availability of a printer and cancel a job that was submitted to a specific printer. There are several specific operating programs that utilise IPP as a printer function. Among the available products are the CUPS, or Common UNIX Printing System, which operates on the Mac OS X and Linux systems. Novell iPrint and Microsoft Windows, beginning with Windows 2000 also utilise IPP for printers.
Platform Specific Uses
As it relates to UNIX, the IPP CUPS, or Common UNIX Printing System, allows a computer to act as a server host for client computers. A computer running CUPS utilizes a printing spooler and scheduler and can accept print jobs from other computers, filter the jobs and convert the print data into printer language and utilize a backend system to send the jobs to a designated printer. CUPS is freeware that is distributed under a general public license program. It also uses a built-in web based interface for administrative user platforms.
Novell’s iPrint allows users to interact via IPP and install print drivers from a web browser. Users can also submit print projects over the internet or through a local network. iPrint servers use a combination of utilities including an IPP server, a printer agent, a print manager, the i-Print Gateway and a device driver store.
For computer systems running Windows, IPP is available with several Windows platforms via HTTPS including Windows 2000, Windows XP and Windows Server 2003. Computers running the platforms for Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows Server 2008 and Server 2008 R2 support IPP printing via the integrated Remote Procedure Call utility in the medium-low security zone.
Why Utilize IPP ?
The Internet Printing Protocol can save businesses thousands of dollars in printing equipment purchases. All users who have access to the home network can utilize the IPP to print documents from anywhere in the world that provides internet access. This also allows users to travel extensively without portable printing equipment or using other business’ equipment. Utilization of the IPP through a server can also allow administrators to monitor employee printer activity through a common source. With any of the operating programs utilizing IPP, users around the world can interface with the home office network to print anything that can be created on a computer. This greatly reduces the needed time in office for employees, especially sales forces in the field, and can lead to greater productivity and profits for all businesses.