Newsletters Subscriptions Media Kit About Us Contact Search Home

OS/400 Edition
Volume 3, Number 28 -- July 22, 2003

Device Gives Twinax-Like Control over IP Network Printers

by Alex Woodie

Custom Business Link recently started shipping a new network device that gives companies greater control over printers connected to OS/400 servers via IP. The new device, which the company calls the SNMPDRV Print Server, takes advantage of Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP) based printing capabilities that IBM added to OS/400. Custom Business Link says the new product gives companies using newer IP printers the type of print control previously enjoyed with older twinax printers.

One of the features that OS/400 shops gave up when they moved from twinax networks to IP networks is feedback from their printers. If a job didn't go through, or there were errors during printing, the AS/400 or iSeries server was not notified of the problem. "A user has to cross his fingers and hope that it reached the printer and was printed," says Allan Jones, president of Custom Business Link, a Salt Lake City, Utah, company that specializes in print protocol converters for OS/400 servers and mainframes.

IBM addressed this limitation in IP printing some time ago by using SNMP to send messages back to OS/400. However, this solution has its own shortcomings, according to Jones. "The problem is that regular Ethernet print servers do not support properly the SNMP communication back to the AS/400," he says. His company developed a new Ethernet print server called the SNMPDRV Print Server to support the OS/400 server SNMP requirement, he says.

With SNMPDRV Print Server, users can receive printing status and error notification messages if there is a problem with printing. The device also allows a printer to be configured as a regular device on the OS/400 server that has a page range printing capability, just like the traditional twinax printers. It also allows OS/400 shops to evade the Remote Output Queue method of printing to IP printers.

SNMPDRV Print Server plugs into the 36-pin parallel connector on the back of any IP printer. The other side of the device plugs into your RJ45 Ethernet wiring. As long as the printer has the parallel connector, the device should work with any type of printer, including dot matrix, laser, band, line matrix, or inkjet printer, from any printer manufacturer, including IBM, Hewlett-Packard, EPSON, Lexmark, and others.

In addition to working with practically any IP printer, SNMPDRV Print Server should also work with most older twinax printers, as long as the printers have a parallel port, the company says. This feature should prevent companies from having to replace their older twinax printers as they upgrade to an IP network, Jones says. "This product answers the need of many AS/400 users," he says. "They just need to know that there is now an answer available."

SNMPDRV Print Server requires OS/400 V4R5 or later, with the latest SNMP and TCP/IP PTFs installed. The devices cost $449 each, and Custom Business Link is allowing companies to try out the device for up to 14 days, with no obligation. For more information, go to

Sponsored By

For tough production and warehouse environments, Affirmative introduces the industrial-strength YEStablet wireless thin client.

Featuring a magnesium alloy case and shock protection boot for industrial applications, the new YEStablet supports 5250 and 3270 emulation with built-in GUI and touch-screen keyboard.

The USB port supports barcode scanners and other data collection devices. Vehicle mount and wearable options are also available. Visit for more information.


California Software
Aldon Computer Group
CMS Manufacturing Systems
Affirmative Computer
RJS Software Systems


Pat Townsend Teams with iSoft for Native OS/400 AS2 EDI-INT Software

Jacada Integrator 4.0 Brings New Development and Runtime Options

Car Auctioneer Cruises Through Twinax Workstation Controller Setup

Tango/04 Overhauls OS/400 Security Agent with Version 2

Device Gives Twinax-Like Control over IP Network Printers

News Briefs and Product Shorts

Alex Woodie

Managing Editor
Shannon Pastore

Contributing Editors:
Dan Burger
Joe Hertvik
Shannon O'Donnell
Timothy Prickett Morgan

Publisher and
Advertising Director:

Jenny Thomas

Advertising Sales Representative
Kim Reed

Contact the Editors
Do you have a gripe, inside dope or an opinion?
Email the editors:

Copyright © 1996-2008 Guild Companies, Inc. All Rights Reserved.