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Locate Network Printer

Have you done an 'Add a Network Printer' lately?
  [vote for,

Every time I have to add a network printer at work, I get a list of printers which are not only on my floor, not only in the office building, but since ours is a global firm, the entire list of printers from all over the world which are on the network! And it takes about 10 minutes to find all of them in the first place! If this isn't a waste of time and technology, what is?

Why doesn't the 'Add Printer' Wizard show the plan of the floor, with the locations of the printers on my floor, and maybe show a red dot indicating my cubicle? And it can show only those that are in the network.

Do we really need to integrate a GPS in our computer for this? After all, the network guys always coordinate their network diagrams (and IP addresses), with the office diagram. So, I'm sure this can be integrated into the wizard as well.

abh1jit, Aug 03 2004

802.11 client location detector http://www.halfbake...location_20detector
Another solution to the same problem [hippo, Oct 04 2004]


       I agree. The add a printer wizard is abysmal and location should be encoded somehow.   

       Hint: don't use the wizard but browse the printer network directly. In Windows it might be something like: start->run->\\prn-corp1 (or whatever the printer network is named) which will spawn a view of every printer, type "B37" (or whatever building designator is used) which will immediately bring the list to the building 37 printers, and double click on the printer you want to use. It will be installed nearly instantly.
bristolz, Aug 03 2004

       There is another thing I hate about that Wizard, at least on some versions of Windows. If you are adding a Unix LPR-style printer (which by *definition* is a network printer) the correct answer to the very first question ("Local printer or network printer?") is to say "Local". Huh?
krelnik, Aug 03 2004

       the IT guru at our office was absolutely amazed to find out that the cryptic names she had assigned to the printers meant absolutely nothing to anyone but her. (+)
xclamp, Aug 03 2004

       Until such time as GPS is truly ubiquitous, there are other ways that your local OS might work help here, with or without help from the local sysadmin. Just off the top of my head:   

       - If the printer has an IP address, the administrator could assign a reverse DNS lookup to it that resolves to a DNSLOC record. DNSLOC is a way of recording a GPS-style location in DNS. Printers don't move much, so this might work well, as long as the admin carried a GPS when they set up the printer and recorded the info in DNS.   

       - The local OS could match the IP addresses of the printers against local network topology. A printer on your local subnet is more likely to be near you than one that is three hops away. The printers could be sorted in ascending order of network distance. This wouldn't work in networks that rely heavily on switching instead of routing, though.   

       - If there is some sort of local directory (like NIS or Windows Directory Services), the OS could record the "default printer" for each user as a public attribute in their directory entry. Instead of searching for printers, the OS could search for people that are close to you in the corporate hiearchy (in the same user groups, etc.) and look at what printer they use. Those could be listed first. (I.e. someone in the same department as you, likely sits near you, and likely uses the same printer).
krelnik, Aug 03 2004

       How about a small routine running nightly on a local server which pings each printer's IP address, and builds/updates a local database of results sorted primarily by the TTL (response time). At the top of the list should be the physically closest printers, which should respond quickest due to less switching hops. Then when you need to install a network printer, a quick squint at the local results table on this server should give you the closest ones, so you can just use their IDs for a manual connect. Or am I completely thinking old school here.
phlogiston, Aug 03 2004

       [phog], you are totally thinking old school, and for that I commend you. Could I bun an anno, I once again would.
absterge, Aug 03 2004

       Does no-one use active directory?   

       In the corporation where I work, when you use the add printer wizard, it automatically knows where I'm at USA/<city,state>/<building #>/. I can either browse to another location, or click "Find Now" to get a list of all the printers in my buiding. That list has the printer name, a "location" field (2nd floor copy room), and a description of the printer (HP LaserJet...).   

       Okay, so it doesn't do floor plans, but it get's you most of the way there. The trick is getting your IT department to set it up properly.
scad mientist, Aug 04 2004

       Oh, we use active directory but I still find it much faster to just display the list of printers w/o the wizard.
bristolz, Aug 04 2004


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