Workgroup printer plays hide-and-seek with NT

Workgroup printer plays hide-and-seek with NT



The Minolta PageWorks 18N printed 18 ppm only when they were all copies of the same text-only page.


By Michael Cheek

GCN Staff

A current radio advertisement in the Washington area has someone impersonating an Army officer saying that if Minolta Corp.'s PageWorks printers are good enough for the Army, they're good enough for you.


The Army may have bought a bunch. But based on my evaluation of at least one model, the PageWorks 18N, the Minolta PageWorks falls short on security and is not good enough for me.

Right out of the gate, the workgroup laser printer had a handicap. It resisted working on a network running Microsoft Windows NT Server. Despite the N in the name, which indicates a networking model, the PageWorks 18N refused to allow NT print server control'a must for security.

I do give the little printer kudos for grabbing an appropriate network address without much difficulty. But then things went awry.

Minolta's four manuals and three CD-ROMs failed to explain how to set up a server port so that all users on a network can access the PageWorks 18N'that is, if the PageWorks can attach itself to a server. In the end, my attempts to link it to a server in the GCN Lab failed.

Among several Minolta applets, I found one called IP Peer-to-Peer that circumvents the need for server management entirely'not a good approach in a managed enterprise environment.

Nonetheless, IP Peer-to-Peer found the PageWorks 18N, and I could attach a PC to the printer across the network without a server.

Windows lets users share printer resources, and because Minolta calls its applet Peer-to-Peer, I thought other clients would be able to share the connection. But it isn't so. Each client needs its own IP Peer-to-Peer applet.

If I attempted sharing the applet on two or more clients, the printer initially would begin to print a job. Eventually, however, the printer would abort the job, display an input/output error and spit useless drivel on the page.

And despite the manuals and CD-ROMs, Minolta fails to provide adequate documentation and instructions. Anyone installing the PageWorks 18N would have to do some guesswork. But I have an edge.




Box Score ''''''

PageWorks 18N

18-ppm workgroup laser printer

Minolta Corp.; Mahwah, N.J.;

tel. 888-264-6658

www.minoltaprinters.com
Price: $1,299



+Can snag IP address from network
server

'Refused to allow NT Server control

'Slow and less-than-stellar output




I have installed and uninstalled dozens of printers in the GCN Lab, so I'm probably a better guesser than many. I bet that even the most experienced administrator would find the installation frustrating.

Beyond the setup drawbacks, the output is not that great, either. The 1,200- by 1,200-dot-per-inch printer's product had grainy gray areas, and the dot pattern was obvious. Many 600-dpi monochrome laser printers produce better-quality output.

Despite Minolta's claim that the printer can reproduce 18 pages per minute, you won't get that rate unless you print 18 copies of a single text-only page. An 18-page test document took four minutes to print; it took nearly a minute for the first page to fall into the tray.

The PageWorks 18N controls consist of one button and three lights. Job status is unclear without text readout.

An integrated Web page helps some, but adjustments require a password, which is'if you look long enough through one of the manuals''sysadm.' I would expect an out-of-the-box product to arrive without a password so the administrator could choose one after installation.

At $1,299, the PageWorks 18N has company in the similarly priced Hewlett-Packard LaserJet 4050, which produces 17 ppm. Minolta is new to the printer market, so maybe future models will improve.

I hope the Army has a different Minolta PageWorks model'one that works better.

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