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How To Set Up Proximity Printing with Citrix XenApp and XenDesktop

More and more mobile devices are being used in enterprises everywhere, from tablets, to phone, all the way through netBooks and laptops. This mobility frenzy comes with the added hassle of having to support the miscellaneous components of day-to-day computing. A good example of this is printing: When users are roaming through the enterprise with their cool devices, it is only when they try to print or do other similar tasks that IT takes a step back and says, "Oops, I did not think of that...." For this reason and many more, I always stress that is crucially important when choosing a desktop virtualization solution to pick one that is flexible, enterprise-driven and can accommodate user computing.

One of the coolest but not-so-popular features of Citrix XenApp and XenDesktop is the concept of proximity printing. Here's an example: An iPad user is roaming the campus of the organization and bumps into a manager. That manager wants the iPad user to print a document for one reason or another from where they both stand. Well, the iPad user has a printer configured, but that printer is on the second floor, where the user is usually stationed. When he bumps into his manager, he just so happens to be on the 96th floor. Certainly, one option is to go back down 94 floors or call the helpdesk and have them configure his printer. So, what happens if that user lands on the 56th or 32nd floor? Citrix recognizes this as an issue and as a result supports proximity printing.

Proximity printing basically detects a user's current IP address and then maps the user to a printer in the user's subnet. Granted, one would hope that maybe every floor has its own scope or some kind of an identifier that would make it unique so that you can map a printer accordingly. Assuming that is the case, you can configure Citrix print policies to map network printers for users based on the IP address of their device.

To configure proximity printing, follow these steps:

  1. Create a separate Citrix Policy for each subnet or each geographic location
  2. Enable proximity printing through the session printing policy rule in Citrix Policies
  3. Add the printers for that subnet or geographic location in the policy
  4. Set the Default printer policy to use the Do not adjust the user’s default printer setting
  5. Filter the policy bt Client IP address

Now there is another method which you should be aware, called Workspace Control. This feature is useful when users disconnect from their existing session, move to a different location and a different device and connect back to that same session. Typically, without Workspace Control, if they resume the same session the printers will not change. With Workspace Control, when they connect again, it automatically detects that they are connecting from a different location and a different device and maps their printers. Cool, no?

Posted by Elias Khnaser on 06/09/2011 at 12:49 PM


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