Configuring SOHO Multifunction Devices – CompTIA A+ 220-901 – 1.13

Today’s multifunction devices can provide us with many different features. In this video, you’ll learn how these multifunction devices can print, scan, fax, copy, and connect to our modern networks.

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SOHO stands for small office home office. And if you are someone who works at home or you work in a smaller office, then you probably have one of these multi-function devices somewhere in your organization. These are devices that can perform a lot of different uses, all from a single piece of hardware. It can be a printer, it could be a scanner. We can have fax capabilities in this device. These are usually connected to the network in some way so you can access it without a separate print server.

There’s often a phone line connection for the fax communication. And there’s even newer systems that allow you to print from any device over the web. With so many different capabilities and so many things that this device can do, there’s so many opportunities to have a problem. So in this video, we’re going to look through a number of the setup and configuration details that you need to know with these multifunction devices.

With so many different capabilities in this device, you need to make sure you have exactly the right software to integrate with this system. So you need to make sure that the printer driver that you are using is exactly the correct driver for this specific model of multifunction device. You also want to match it to the operating system that you’re using. So there might be one printer driver or multifunction driver for Windows Vista. There may be a separate installation utility for Windows 7, a separate driver for Windows 8, and different driver for Windows 8.1.

You need to check with the manufacturers website to make sure that you’re downloading and using the right driver for that specific multifunction device model. You also want to make sure that you’re using the right version of the driver for the operating system that you have, whether it’s a 32-bit or a 64-bit operating system. The operating system is very particular about which driver you’re going to use. If you have a 32-bit operating system, you use your 32-bit drivers. If you have a 64-bit operating system, you must use the 64-bit drivers.

This is different than running a normal application. In a 64-bit operating system, you could possibly run 32-bit applications. But device drivers are different. You need to make sure the device driver matches the operating system exactly. Since all of the functionality of this device is really based on the operating system integrating to that device through the device drivers, you want to be sure everything matches exactly. You can’t choose a device driver for a printer that’s close to this particular model. You want exactly this model’s driver for exactly this operating system.

There are a number of different print settings that you can have on these multifunction devices. The first one we’ll look at is the duplex setting. A printer that can support duplex is able to print on both sides of the page at one time. If your printer doesn’t support a duplex setting, then you’d have to print everything on one side of the page, manually take those papers, flip them over, put them back through the printer, and then print the second page.

With the duplex settings, this is done automatically. When you get the paper off of the printer it has already been printed on both sides of the page. If you’re printing a lot of copies of a document that has multiple pages, you may want to look at the collation function. This allows you to print the pages and then have them automatically placed on the printer in the proper order. For example, a non-collated printer might print page 1, 1, 1, 1, 2, 2, 2, 2, 3, 3, 3, 3, 4, 4, 4, 4. But if you turned on the collation, it would be able to print page 1, 2, 3, 4, 1, 2, 3, 4, 1, 2, 3, 4 and 1, 2, 3, 4.

And you can simply take the pages off of the printer and everything is already in the proper order. Another important configuration setting when you’re printing is the orientation. This designates whether we’re going to be printing in an up and down view, which is the portrait mode, or side to side, which is landscape. The portrait mode is called portrait because that’s normally how we see portraits of people, where it is longer towards the top and bottom than on the sides. Whereas landscape is how you might print out a landscape. So you might have a wider view left to right and a smaller perspective from top to bottom.

What’s interesting about this is, of course, the printer is not physically changing the direction of the paper. It’s simply changing how it’s going to print on that paper. So you need to decide how you want your output to look and what orientation it’s going to take. Some additional important settings deal with the quality of the output. You can change what the resolution of the image that’s your printing happens to be. You can decide where you’re going to print in color or in grayscale. And on some printers you can save some ink by putting the printer into a color saving mode.

If you’re connecting this printer to a computer, it’s probably going to connect via USB. The USB Type B connector that we see here is one of the more common ways to connect to one of these multifunction devices. The type A connection is what goes to your computer. And the Type B connection is usually what you’ll find on the back of the printer. If you have an older multifunction device, it may not have a USB connection on the back of the printer. Instead, it may be connecting via a parallel connection.

This means that on your computer you’ll need one of these DB-25 parallel ports. And you’ll probably have a centronics connection on the printer. If your multifunction device supports a network connection, then it probably has an RJ45 connection on the back, and you can plug it directly into the ethernet network. And everybody can access the multifunction device across the network. Here’s a better view of the parallel cable that you might see on an older multifunction device. You can see the DB-25 parallel connection that might connect to your computer and then this is the larger centronics connector that you would have on many of the legacy printers.

Of course, printers these days may not need any type of wires to connect to the device. You could connect to it through the wireless network. Some printers will support a Bluetooth connection, so you can use or mobile device and simply print to the printer through the Bluetooth that’s built into our mobile devices. These of course, would have a limited range. You need to be somewhere near the printer to be able to print to it. If you’re on a network with an 802.11 access point, then you can print through your 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac connection.

This is one where you simply connect to the normal wireless network and the printer is one of the devices that’s available on that network. 802.11 also supports an ad hoc mode, which means there’s no access point. You’re simply connecting directly to the multifunction device and doing all of your printing, scanning, faxing and all of those functions directly with the device. These network connected multifunction devices have the print server capabilities built into the device itself. So you don’t need an external device or you don’t need to configure an operating system. You simply plug in the device and it’s ready to print from anybody’s machine.

The jobs are printed directly to the printer. There’s a print queue in the printer itself. It’s storing the jobs inside of the printer. And everything that you manage with what gets to print and how to cancel the print outs are all managed through some software that is on the printer itself. This print management process can often be done by connecting to a web front end for the device. The manufacturer of the multifunction device may also make a client piece of software that you can install on your operating system and manage the device from there.

Our newer multifunction devices support cloud based printing, so we can be anywhere in the world on any device and send our print jobs to a specified place in the cloud. And that cloud based service will send those printouts down to our machine where it’s then print it. There are many different ways to connect and share these multifunction devices. One is through the TCP set of protocols. We connect to a TCP port number and we’re able to access that device.

This is commonly seen in the Windows operating system. You’ll see TCP and UDP ports 135 through 139 used for this. Apple operating systems and software might use the Bonjour protocol to find these devices out on the network and use them. This is built in to the Mac OS operating system. And it can be added to Windows, especially if you install Apple’s software such as iTunes. Apple mobile devices that are running the iOS operating system use the AirPrint protocol. This allows these devices to print to other printers that are compatible with AirPrint.

As with any resource on our network, we want to be sure that we configure the proper authentication for this multifunction device. Do we want to allow everyone to print or do we want to specify certain users or groups to have access to this device. You might also want to set up a different group of people for printing to the device, and a different group to be able to manage the device.

We also want to be aware that the information we’re sending to these multifunction devices is being stored out there on the network. This is especially important if we are printing or scanning very sensitive information. There’s usually some type of cache on the device. Maybe it’s in memory or some other type of storage device, so that that information can be queued up before it’s printed. Your local operating system is usually creating the print job and sending that into the spooler that’s on the printer.

And there it sits until it has time to complete the printing process. Usually once the print out is completed, the job is removed from the spooler and deleted from the printer. But not all printers will delete the job. Some printers will store the job in case you want to go back later and perform a reprint without having to send it from the original operating system. So you need to be very careful about exactly what you’re sending to the printer and how long that information might be stored on that device.