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How To Use a Thin Client as a Printer Server

By July 19, 2019No Comments

Thin clients are networked computers which are used to connect to virtual desktops or apps. The endpoint device could be a printer as well. In client-server environments, these thin clients rely on the server to centrally manage most of the data processing. In a large organization with a distributed environment, maintaining WAN links can be stressful when using thin clients. But the upside is that thin clients always provide better security and ease of management due to centralized management functionality. This simplifies many processes. They are much less likely to be affected by malware infections as well.

Thin client printing comes with a lot of benefits such as low purchase costs, better security, centralized and better management, etc. but on the other hand, it can be a little tricky to make use of thin clients for printing or using them as print servers. It must be kept in mind that standard network printers are very different from the thin-client terminals and do not work the same way. Users generally tend to face challenges with thin client printing since they try to compare the conventional network printing methods with thin client printing, and as a result, are unable to comprehend why the remote server doesn’t immediately locate the local printer. After all, users expect a server that is powering the session to locate and print from a nearby printer without any problems.

Factors to be considered:

To see why this happens, it is important to understand the logic behind thin client printing.

  • First and foremost, it should be crystal clear that server connection is of utmost importance in a thin client computing scenario. When the connection to server is broken, interrupted or damaged, the printing facility automatically suffers. Therefore. Ensuring an uninterrupted connection is the first step towards successfully using a thin client as a printer server.
  • The next factor to be considered is the bandwidth. Any printing job usually requires enormous data processing. When using thin clients, this will create a strain on the WAN. The bandwidth needs to be maintained at an optimum range to avoid this. When this isn’t done, it can slow down the printing process and make it difficult for the other clients or end-users as well since it will slow down the computing process across server ends.
  • As mentioned earlier, thin clients heavily rely on the server for completing all tasks due to the central management system. This puts an enormous amount of stress on WAN if there is no back-up system in place. It is therefore practical to have a fallback WAN solution. This way, the productivity of the processes taking place aren’t disrupted.
  • Printer drivers and their management is crucial to any thin client printing task. Keeping the total number of printer drivers to a minimum can be beneficial for the set-up. This helps prevent errors and ensures better manageability.
  • From all the above-mentioned points, it is also evident that setup and installation process in a thin client computing environment can be a little challenging for end-users, especially when they want to use it as a printer server. But it can be done with ease once the user figures out the local printer installation for their purpose.

In today’s day and age, thin client printing doesn’t seem as much a challenge as it used to be, since there are numerous solutions by reputed companies that allow the end-users to install and configure the printers themselves with the help of a detailed self-help guide, package or tutorial. These can be greatly beneficial to office environments in huge organizations or for individual needs too.

Advantages of using thin client printing:

Now that we have an idea about what thin client computing is, we are also aware of the numerous benefits that come along with it even though configuration can seem a little tricky at first. The additional security and ease of management due to centralized controls makes it much easier to spot errors and rectify them. This makes them safer to use as it prevents access to unauthorized software or viruses.

  • A large number of print jobs can be done simultaneously using centralized control.
  • Since we are using a thin client as a printer server, it remains separated from all other servers.
  • The errors or bugs involved can be easily spotted and printing can be stopped centrally if need be.
  • The order of priority to print documents can be controlled centrally.

Discovering your printer:

It can be easy to assume that there is a problem with the detection of the printer when the remote server does not immediately locate local printers as we are on the ground. First and foremost, it is important to setup your local printer using the best driver. You can build a printer server and link the network printers using IP at the remote server. It is important to use the same driver level, otherwise, it may result in problems.

When using a centralized network, a common question that most users have is regarding ensuring that the right print job is assigned to the right end-user. In addition to this, it can also be ensured that any client not on the list, can be denied access.

Determine what drivers are compatible with your printers beforehand. This will make it a lot easier during installation, save space and ease the entire setup process. Any other printer servers at remote locations must be using the same driver if this is in an office setup.


Using a thin client computing service has proven to be challenging but extremely beneficial. More and more offices are switching to thin client computing methods because of the security and centralized management. Especially when it comes to thin client printing, many organizations can greatly benefit from the perks. Though it can be a little intimidating to do the job by oneself at first, once the right printer drivers, WAN, and bandwidth is figured out, its greatly beneficial.

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