PaperCut NG is able to track the network printing use of any MFP or Copier. The control of off-the-glass copier usage (copy, fax and scan on an MFPs) is done in a special edition of PaperCut called PaperCut MF. PaperCut MF tracks off-the-glass usage via hardware-level integration using advanced embedded software and/or special hardware.
Visit www.papercut-mf.com to find out how to get PaperCut MF.
Why is copier control done under a different edition?
This is a good question and one we’ve wrestled with for some time. In an ideal world there would just be one edition of PaperCut and historically this is how it started. We however quickly learned that hardware (MFPs, devices and controllers) mixes in a whole new set of issues.
PaperCut NG is distributed online and can be installed and supported by any network administrator – the main level of integration is at the Operating System level. Hardware integration however is specialized at the device level. Even embedded software solutions on copiers can be difficult to setup (there is no current standard) and often need special firmware settings or hardware option changes.
PaperCut in support of the copy and print manufacturers must also ensure a correct notification and acceptance procedure is followed before any device can be loaded with PaperCut MF embedded software. Because of this complexity we’ve split PaperCut into two editions so there is a clear separation.
The two are however very related and many PaperCut MF users started out with PaperCut NG (in-house install) before migrating to PaperCut MF later. Migration between editions is very easy and no data and settings are lost.
How does PaperCut MF differ from PaperCut NG?
Both PaperCut MF and NG are very similar and at a technical level share the same code base. The difference is that PaperCut MF has the ability to interface with hardware devices (e.g. MFPs) to deliver extra features. Examples of this integration include:
- Embedded software that runs on the MFP to track and control access (e.g. copier use) at the device.
- Integration with 3rd party copier hardware terminals and controllers for devices (MFDs and printers) that don’t yet support embedded or onboard solutions.
- Network card readers to facilitate secure print release and find-me printing via card swipe at any print device.
- Cash payment hardware – enabling users to reload their PaperCut MF user account in pay-per-print environments.
- A few other complex integration areas which are too obscure to list here in an FAQ!
All other features, including general print tracking, print quotas, rules based printing and driverless web print, etc. are identical on both PaperCut MF and PaperCut NG.
The use of multi-function devices has changed dramatically in many organizations over the past few years. Today people are printing more with more computer generated content (printing emails, Word documents, internet pages and PDFs) while off-the-glass volumes have declined to as little 20%. However many organizations still wish to track off-the-glass content. Sites with adequate IT budgets may wish to track all multi-function device usage within PaperCut itself – PaperCut MF is the solution for these sites.
For more information on copier tracking please visit the PaperCut MF website.