Wide Area Networks (WAN) Considerations
Last modified on 15 August 2020 07:00 PM
I am considering setting up PaperCut over a WAN network. One site will host the primary server and remote sites will host a local print server reporting back to the primary server. What are the technical considerations?
Option 1) Deploy a PaperCut Site Server.
PaperCut Site Servers provide the most robust multi-site PaperCut deployment model. The majority of PaperCut deployments are designed with a centralised primary server, complemented by a number of local print servers communicating back to the primary site over WAN links. These advantages include:
However this solution relies on the availability of the WAN link between primary and secondary sites. The PaperCut Site Server can be deployed at each remote site to defend against the primary server becoming unavailable, and retain all the features of a centralised installation. Essential print and copy services will remain available even during a network outage. System administrations should consider the following:
Option 2) One site will host the primary server and remote sites will host a local print server reporting back to the primary server.
Customers that have a reliable and good quality WAN link between their sites can choose to install their multi-site solution without the PaperCut Site Server. System administrations should however consider the following pitfalls:
Option 3) One site will host a reporting server and remote sites will host their own primary print server reporting back to the reporting server.
Installing PaperCut in a decentralized method is to have an independent installation at each site (each site hosts their own primary server). This can be a more appropriate configuration if there are a few largely autonomous sites. In this case, a primary PaperCut server can be installed at each site. This configuration leverages a PaperCut feature called “Central reporting”. This will allow each sites database to talk to one central location and consolidate the data together for easy reporting. The large advantage of this is that each site is not reliant on the WAN while maintaining reporting integrity. As PaperCut has a browser based administration console, administrators can manage the remote Papercut servers to enable centralized administration or the administration can be segregated to provide local administration, or a mix of both as required.
The client’s zero-install deployment method is the easiest method of deploying the client. The downside of this method unmodified in a WAN type environment is that client binaries and associated files are pulled in off the central server on start-up. This is not usually a problem on a fast local network, but may pose problems when pulling the client down off a WAN network. Because of this we recommend the following alternate methods on remote sites (sites other than the one hosting the primary PaperCut server).
It also should be noted that when the client is started, it does connect to the server. The traffic however associated with a standard connection is very minimal. The protocol is XML Web Services based over HTTP, is very bandwidth efficient, and designed to work well over high latency WAN links.