What is a port and what does it have to do with outputting a large sized plot from MicroStation to a printer on your network? Ports are interfaces between the software/operating system and the physical network interface card that services a given printer/plotter. These ports are based on specific network protocols. Usually, plotters would be accessible by plotting to the hardware address (usually hard-coded for the specific network interface), or to the TCP/IP address for that specific network interface.
While printing to the hardware address can be a valid method of plotting, it is not routable across a large corporate network. This is a severe limitation with printing to specific hardware addresses.
Most organizations will set up printing to the TCP/IP address for the network interface, which is routable across large corporate networks.
Now, we come to the question of which protocol to use when creating a port in the operating system to print to the network interface card for the specific printer/plotter.
Delivered with Microsoft Windows 2000 and Microsoft Windows XP is a protocol called "Standard TCP/IP Port." For normal Windows applications, this protocol works fine. However, for the plotting of large design files and raster data, this may not be an appropriate choice. Bentley's support team has seen numerous issues associated with plotting large design files and raster files using this protocol. Some of these issues have included extremely slow plotting, missing data and incomplete plots.
Our recommendation is to create and use an LPR port instead. LPR protocol has been around since Unix was the operating system of choice. Very robust in operation, it can be used across multiple operating systems.
Figure 1 Figure 2
Under Windows 2000/Windows XP, LPR can be loaded by performing the following steps: Go to Start>Settings>Network and Dial-up Connections (Figure 1). A Network and Dial-up Connections box will open. Select Advanced>Optional Networking Components (Figure 2). A Windows Optional Networking Components Wizard will open. Highlight Other Network File and Print Services, and select Details (Figure 3). An Other Network File and Print Services box will open. Check Print Services for Unix. Select OK. This will dismiss the Other Network File and Print Services box (Figure 4). In the Windows Optional Networking Components Wizard, select Next. You will be prompted to insert either the Windows 2000 operating system install disk or the Windows XP operating system install disk.
Figure 3 Figure 4 Upon completion of these steps, LPR service will be installed on this PC. The next group of steps will be used to create an LPR port to a specific printer or plotter. At this point, you will need to have the TCP/IP address for the network interface card installed in the specific printer/plotter, or external network interface to the printer/plotter in question.
To create the LPR port, follow the steps listed below:
Figure 5 Figure 6 Go to Start>Settings>Printers (Figure 5). Select File>Server Properties, then select the Ports tab (Figure 6). In the Print Server Properties box, select Add Port (Figure 7). In the Printer Ports box, select LPR Port under Available Port Types, and then click New Port (Figure 8).
An Add LPR compatible printer box will open. In the entry point "Name or address of server providing lpd," enter the TCP/IP address for the network interface being used.
Figure 8 In the entry point "Name of printer or print queue on that server," if plotting to an HP printer or plotter, and using a single port network interface card, leave this entry point blank (Figure 9).
Some manufacturers of network interface card/boxes require the LPR port mode to be set to raw. If this is the case, enter the word raw. If plotting to a multi-port network interface box, enter the word raw followed by the port number on that network interface box, such as raw1 or raw2 (Figure 10).
Figure 10 Select OK, which will finish creating the new LPR port. From this point you will have created the LPR port. The rest of the creation of the printer will be done much as you would create any other type of printer.