Printers to get own Web addresses

Sending e-mail messages over the Internet may take a new twist by early next year, when users will be able to send e-mails and files, not to another PC, but directly to someone else's printer.

The Printer Working Group, composed of all major printer vendors, has ratified Version 1.0 of the Internet Printing Protocol (IPP) and sent it on to the parent body, the Internet Engineering Task Force, for final approval which is expected in a matter of weeks.

Once approved, companies such as Hewlett-Packard and Lexmark are expected to incorporate the IPP into their printer products so that users will be able to submit print jobs to a printer, learn the status of a print job, cancel a print request, and discover a printer's features, such as colour capability, paper size and number of paper bins, officials said.

"Eventually, if you had a printer that is IPP compliant, that printer will have a Web address and anyone around the world who can get on the Internet can print to that URL," said Robert Palmer, the editor of HardCopy Report, in Boston, a publication that reports on the printer industry.

However, another industry expert warns that there is still some distance between the acceptance of a technology as an industry standard and its implementation by printer companies.

"You need a sponsor or an intermediary that will host the service so that if you are not online the server will resend the print job to you or directly to your printer when you get back online. An ISP might offer this service," said Grey Held, a senior analyst at Lyra Research, in Boston.

The IPP also offers an alternative to sending faxes, especially when colour hard copy output is preferred, Held said.

Microsoft holds the final key for implementation of direct printing over the Web.

"The real bottleneck is Microsoft," Held said. "You need software on your computer that will allow you to select and talk to a destination device."

The software giant is promising that client-side software will be available with Windows 2000, Held said.

On the commercial side, industry players are lining up to support the IPP.

"Netware Distributed Print Service [or NDPS] incorporates printers with Novell Directory Services, for manageability. We are integrating the IPP into our NDPS so that printers are not just available over IP but manageable," said Brad Christensen, product manager at Novell. "A system administrator could manage his printers from a hotel room."

By putting IPP into Novell's printer management suite, administrators will also be able to make older printers available over IP, Christensen said.

Lexmark's commercial division also announced support for the IPP and will make the software available as an upgrade to its print server software.

A member of the Printer Working Group from Hewlett-Packard also expressed her support.

"Everything is moving toward TCP/IP in the corporate world and this dovetails nicely with that transition. It basically allows you to use a printer like you would a fax by addressing its IPP address. It is a powerful way of transmitting documents in corporations," said Sandra Matts, a member of the Printer Working Group and an engineer scientist for Workgroup Colour LaserJets at Hewlett-Packard.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Ephraim Schwartz

PC World
Show Comments

Essentials

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

GGG Evaluation Team

Michael Hargreaves

Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell

LIFEBOOK UH574

The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi

STYLISTIC Q702

The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?