How does a Managed Print Services software work?

The heart of any Managed Print Services is the remote monitoring and management system for printing devices, which must be able to detect and manage data via network from most devices, of any make and model. To enable this feature in a standardized way, the devices provide a protocol called Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP).

The standard recognized by the market for monitoring printers via SNMP is called Printer MIB v.2 and is regulated by the RFC 3805. All manufacturers of printers and MFPs should guarantee their compatibility with the SNMP MIB standard.

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What is SNMP MIB?

The database that contains all the information that a printer exposes according to this standard is called MIB (Management Information Base). It has within it the so-called Public MIB, i.e. a set of information that, theoretically, should be consistent and compatible between the various device manufacturers, so as to enable standardized and independent monitoring, not tied to the specific hardware manufacturer.

The reality is very different: all manufacturers have developed proprietary MIBs, called Private MIBs. Most manufacturers expose information via SNMP only using the Private MIB, thus making it more difficult to detect and interpret the data. While the documentation of the Public MIBs is freely available, it is not so for the Private MIBs. Very often the manufacturers do not release publicly any information on the data essential for monitoring and managing their devices.

Many developers try to create monitoring systems capable of interpreting the Private and Public MIBs correctly, thus able to detect data from many different models of printers. These attempts, however, are often stumped by the extreme variety of cases, the complexity of the MIB structures, and the frequency with which hardware manufacturers introduce new models with different rules and algorithms.

MPS Monitor solved this problem many years ago, developing technology and processes that enable the retrieval of data from Public and Private MIBs of any printer that has a minimum compatibility with the Printer MIB v.2 standard, even though much of the data is available only in the Private MIBs. This way, the MPS Monitor is able to correctly retrieve the data used for the management of over 5,000 models from 18 different printer manufacturers.

The development methodology applied in MPS Monitor ensures that if a printer presents its data in ways that the system does not recognize, the development team is able to identify and correct the problem within a few hours, making the printer model manageable very quickly. The changes applied to the system for that specific model are instantly propagated to all customers where the data retrieval software is installed.

The MPS Monitor team of developers has such a broad and in-depth experience on Printer MIBs that they can interpret any information in the MIB that is deemed useful for managing the device.

Moreover, thanks to the custom testing performed by Buyers Laboratory, most new models presented by manufacturers are tested and certified with MPS Monitor in the BLI laboratories in the United States and Britain before their release on the market, so as to ensure that when these devices are installed at customer sites, they will immediately be monitored by MPS Monitor accurately and without data errors.

Dealers who use the MPS Monitor Portal, and developers who access the MPS Monitor API from their systems, have access to the huge wealth of knowledge and experience of SNMP MIB, without having any experience or devoting any resources to learning about monitoring technologies.

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