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My network-enabled printer supports several network printing protocols:

  1. LPR/LPD - The "traditional" unix printing protocol
  2. "Raw" TCP/IP printing
  3. IPP
  4. WSD

In addition, several network discovery protocols are supported: uPNP, SLP, mDNS, as well as SNMP.

I'm going to print from Windows 7 machines only. Several people are going to use the printer simultaneously in home environment.

I've had problems with WSD protocol in the past (Windows print spooler crashing randomly), IPP protocol allows to set up security (username/password), and allows clients to query the server, but apparently IPP print jobs are handled differently from WSD print jobs, so if two users use different protocols my printer gets confused. LPR/LPD is the oldest and dumbest protocol, most robust but no security at all.

I'd like to settle on just one protocol, and disable all the others, to simplify troubleshooting and to reduce the attack surface (we sometimes have guests, including kids with laptops on our Wi-Fi network).

Question: Which is the preferred network protocol for Windows clients?.

share|improve this question
Preferred how? One that works is usually good enough. :) Which have you tried? What problem are you experiencing? – Ƭᴇcʜιᴇ007 Jan 12 '13 at 4:43
@techie007: I've added some info to my question. – haimg Jan 12 '13 at 5:45
up vote 2 down vote accepted

The preferred protocol is Raw. Every printer understands it, as does every Windows PC. LPR/LPD would be my next favourite. It does date back to the old Berkeley Unix days, but it works very reliably. It uses a "queue name" that can be printer-specific with older printers. Newer printers usually don't care what name you use. I would only use IPP if there is no other way of getting to the printer. WSD will only work with the latest printers.

All protocols allow any number of users to print simultaneously - even if they use different protocols. The printer accepts the jobs on a first-come-first-served basis.

I've never worried about security on printers. What is any hacker going to do to it? Yes it's possible to cancel jobs or change printer settings, but that is not a major hassle. If you're worried about security, protocols like telnet or http should be higher on your list.

share|improve this answer
I don't mean to be offensive, but both of those things could be very annoying or time consuming to troubleshoot, so I agree with wanting to reduce chances for trouble. – K.A Jan 14 '13 at 0:13
@KA I assume you mean cancelling jobs or changing settings. In that case, remember that both can be done via http, or even from the front panel. In contrast, they cannot be done via the LPR or Raw protocols. – hdhondt Jan 14 '13 at 0:21
There are reasons to be concerned with printer security these days. They can run Java and have gigabytes of storage, so they can be launching points to run servers or pierce firewalls. – Kevin Panko Feb 13 '14 at 16:46
As far as I know, very few printers support Java. The only ones I'ma aware of are printers that use a Fiery hardware RIP. They're also the main ones with "gigabytes of storage" – hdhondt Feb 15 '14 at 10:07

LPD is much more stable for me in cases with printing errors than raw because LPD seems to pass printer status much reliably (or at all). I configure LPD (port 515) whenever possible, followed by Jetdirect (9100).

share|improve this answer
I agree with that. The only issue is that some printers are petulant about using the correct queue name. Most are not though. However, I never use an manufacturer's standard TCP/IP port (e.g HP). And, port 9100 is not a Jetdirect port. As far as I know, the protocol was started by Adobe, and known as Appsocket. – hdhondt Feb 15 '14 at 10:11
@hdhondt From and historical memory, I've always seen it as the HP port. Its listed as either PDL or JetDirect in most places; both of which are HP. It may pre-exist that but I'm not aware of it. – mikebabcock Feb 17 '14 at 4:58
I did use it a couple of decades ago in Tektronix thermal wax colour printers, before HP printers started using it. Here's a doc from 1993:‎ . BTW, PDL means Page Description Language, e.g. PCL or PostScript – hdhondt Feb 18 '14 at 9:45

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