Network Printing for the HP3000

Product Information

PRINTPATH is a product name for the network printing capability that is built into ESPUL and ASP. The PRINTPATH product supports TCP/IP printing to many network printers and host systems with an extensive range of functionality. PRINTPATH Network printing for the HP3000 falls into these categories:

Network Printing Basics

PRINTPATH network printing is all done via TCP/IP. The TCP/IP stack on the HP3000 (Thinlan Link) is used to communicate with network printers and other host systems. PRINTPATH scans the HP3000 spool queue for candidate spoolfiles and matches spoolfiles to printers via spoolfile selection criteria such as MPE device, priority, file name and more. When a spoolfile is selected, a connection is established to the network printer and the spoolfile is printed to the printer.

PRINTPATH automatically handles printer busy/error conditions and retries until the spoolfile is printed successfully. PRINTPATH guarantees delivery of print jobs. PRINTPATH reports errors and printer attention conditions (such as paper out) to the HP3000 system console. A detailed log of printed files and any errors can be kept.

PRINTPATH performs all necessary carriage control conversions. Laser printer environment files (for printer format control) are fully supported and a selection of standard printer environments are included. Built in 2/4 up printing in landscape and portrait orientations.

Once configured, PRINTPATH runs unattended in the background. 

Printing to Directly Connected Network Printers

PRINTPATH supports printing directly to printers with TCP/IP network interface devices. Network interface devices are made by many manufacturers such as HP, Emulex, Intel, Milan, Extended Systems and others. The HP JetDirect interface is the most common. Multi-port print servers are supported.

In this scenario, the printer is a node in the network, connected via the network printer interface. It has it's own IP address and is directly addressable by the PRINTPATH software on the HP3000. PRINTPATH makes a connection to the printer via the interface and delivers print jobs.

PRINTPATH supports the TCP-RAW printing protocol and the LPD/LPR printing protocol. One or both of these protocols is supported by every TCP/IP printer interface. LPD/LPR enables PRINTPATH to support Xerox printers on the HP3000.

PRINTPATH handles printer sharing by retrying busy printers. PRINTPATH detects and reports printer attention conditions such as paper out or jam. 

Printing To/From UNIX Systems

PRINTPATH implements the UNIX  LPD/LPR network printing protocols. LPR (Line Printer Requester) allows a host to send print jobs to any TCP/IP system (or interface device) that supports the LPD protocol. LPD (Line Printer Daemon) allows a host to receive print jobs from another system that supports LPR.

PRINTPATH includes is both the LPR and LPD protocols for the HP3000. This allows the HP3000 to send print jobs to UNIX systems and to receive print jobs from UNIX systems. It also supports network printer interfaces that use the LPD protocol. Format conversion is handled automatically and delivery is guaranteed as far as the remote systems print queue.

PRINTPATH supports HPUX, SUN, AIX and others. It also works with the LPD/LPR implementations on large IBM systems, AS/400, NCR, DEC and other non-UNIX host systems.

Gateway software is available that allows PRINTPATH using LPD/LPR to access printers on Apple and Bayan networks. 

Printing To/From Netware Servers

PRINTPATH/NLM is the name for ESPUL's HP3000 to NetWare server solution. In this scenario, PRINTPATH on the HP3000 communicates with the PRINTPATH  NLM (NetWare Loadable Module) on the server, to send files to and receive files from, NetWare server print queues. The PRINTPATH NLM is supplied by RAC and is installed and runs on the server.  It uses the built-in TCP/IP on the server to communicate with the HP3000.

The PRINTPATH NLM uses a proprietary printing protocol that allows it to efficiently move print jobs between the HP3000 spool queue and NetWare print queues. It also supports LPD/LPR giving the NetWare server bidirectional printing with UNIX systems and network printer interfaces.

PRINTPATH/NLM is very efficient, using little resources on the server. It is compatible with NetWare 3.x or 4.x and is NDS compliant. 

Printing To/From Windows

PRINTPATH LPD/LPR can be used to do bidirectional printing between the HP3000 and Windows PCs. Windows NT has LPD/LPR printing support built-in. It is a simple matter to setup network printing between the 3000 and NT. On Windows 3.x/95, you will need LPD/LPR software. Many of the TCP/IP stacks and networking packages for Windows 3.x/95 have LPD/LPR included. There are several shareware LPD/LPR solutions available as well. RAC ships a shareware LPD server for Windows 3.x/95 on the HP3000 installation tape. 

The PRINTPATH network printing functionality is bundled with ESPUL (PRINTPATH/NLM extra). The ASP background processor is always available for use with ESPUL to perform network printing.

PRINTPATH/SE or Standalone Edition, is a special version of ESPUL and ASP with only the PRINTPATH network printing functions enabled. This option allows the purchase of PRINTPATH network printing without the other functions of ESPUL and ASP at a much lower price.

PRINTPATH/SE is priced at $1200 for any size HP3000 with 10% annual maintenance. Right-to-copy licenses are $600 each.

PRINTPATH/NLM is sold by NetWare server. PRINTPATH/NLM is $500 for the first server and $250 for a right-to-copy. Annual maintenance is 12%. PRINTPATH/NLM requires full ESPUL or PRINTPATH/SE on the HP3000. 

Network Printer Interface Vendors