Universal Print Drivers, also known as “virtual” or “emulation” drivers, are software programs that enable printers to be used across a network without the need for installing a specific driver for each printer. In many cases, they offer a simple, cost-effective solution for printing needs in organizations of all sizes. Universal Print Drivers allow printer models of different ages and manufacturers to work under a single, unified solution.
Universal Print Drivers (UPDs) have their uses in various types of print fleets. Some large businesses get their entire print fleet from a single manufacturer. Some businesses also recognize that they would need to diversify and opt for different printers for various workflows in their offices. In this instance, this may cause hassles for businesses to provide a driver for each individual printer, and this may cause problems when it comes to compatibility and integrating other printer servers.
This is why some businesses consider the need for a universal print driver to utilize the full capabilities of each print device, and make sure to centralize workflows to prevent printing delays or errors encountered when mixing up various devices.
In this article, we’re here to help you assess the pros and cons when going about your print driver management, especially when your business is using different kinds of printers in your work environment.
What a Universal Print Driver Can Do For Your Business
Like any technology, Universal Print Drivers have their own pros and cons that should be considered before adopting them as your primary printing solution.
- Centralized management: Universal Print Drivers allow for centralized management of printers, making it easier for IT departments to manage and maintain them. This includes monitoring and managing print jobs. By having all models work on uniform default settings, you can ensure that all printers are following the work environment rules you have set.
- Cost-effective: Universal Print Drivers are relatively inexpensive. This makes them an attractive option for organizations looking to keep printing costs low without sacrificing functionality. It also helps with cost recovery, especially when it comes to technical IT support. More printer drivers mean more things to manage for your IT team, and the same goes for the number of print servers. So fewer managed print drivers not only save money, but on the time for the IT to work on each individual printer.
- Compatibility: One of the main advantages of using Universal Print Drivers is that they’re compatible with a wide range of printers from different manufacturers. This makes them an ideal solution for organizations that use multiple printer models and manufacturers. It removes the need to install or manage individual drivers for each printer you use. The hard drive space is also increased, as there is only one single driver to install.
- Simplicity: Installing Universal Print Drivers is a straightforward process that does not require any technical expertise. It can be done in a few clicks, making it easier for IT departments to manage printers across the network. Installation times are greatly reduced, and there is no need to code individual printers differently when linking to another printer device or service.
- Reduced maintenance: Another advantage of using Universal Print Drivers is that they reduce the need for ongoing maintenance and support. Since they are not specific to any particular printer, there is no need for software updates or patches for individual printers.
- Limited functionality: Although Universal Print Drivers offer basic printing functionality, they may not support all the advanced features and capabilities of specific printers. This can lead to reduced print quality, especially for specialized printing needs such as color printing or high-resolution printing.
- Compatibility issues: While Universal Print Drivers are designed to be compatible with a wide range of printers, they may not work with all printers. In some cases, printers may not be recognized by the Universal Print Driver, or the driver may not support all the functions of the printer.
- Performance: The use of Universal Print Drivers can impact the performance of printers, particularly in large organizations with a large number of users. This can result in slow printing speeds and increased downtime, which can negatively impact productivity.
- Security risks: Since Universal Print Drivers are designed to work with multiple printers, they may be vulnerable to security risks such as malware or unauthorized access to the printer. It’s important for businesses to take steps to secure their printers and networks to prevent these risks.
- Lack of customization: Another disadvantage of Universal Print Drivers is that they do not offer the level of customization that is possible with specific printer drivers. This can limit the ability of business offices to fully leverage the capabilities of their printers and optimize their printing processes.
Universal Print Drivers offer a simple and cost-effective solution for printing needs in businesses of all sizes. While they may be suitable for organizations with basic printing needs, organizations with more specialized printing requirements may be better served by using specific printer drivers.
Still not sure if you should consider UPDs for your print management? Contact us today, we’re more than happy to bring you up to speed and see if Universal Print Drivers are the right fit for you.
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