Printing from Smart Phones and Tablets

by Tony Chan

Nowadays, mobile devices such as smart phones and tablets have become an indispensable part of our daily lives.  In the academic world, most course-related materials are now being delivered in electronic form (as PDF, Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint files and so on) and thus can also be handily viewed online through these devices.  However, situations do exist that students may need to print these materials.  To cater for such printing needs, the Computing Services Centre (CSC) has spent time and effort in studying viable printing solutions for the two most popular mobile platforms, the Apple iOS and the Google Android.
Convenience is our major concern.  It would be nice if the mobile printing service can be integrated with our existing printing system so as to provide a consistent printing solution to users. In doing so, the same print operations and control for mobile printing can be applied for the existing high performance fast printers distributed in various buildings. Printing resources can thus be better utilized.
The complexity in finding a feasible printing solution for Android devices are much greater as Google's Android has no print support at all and currently different versions of Android operating systems are running on a wide variety of mobile devices of different brands.  Taking into account the integration with our printing system, we have finally selected the web print method for the support of Android devices.
Finding a proper printing solution for iOS devices is not straightforward either as the AirPrint (a feature in Apple iOS for printing) of iOS devices is not designed for a large- scale network deployment. Print jobs cannot be easily submitted to the central print servers across the complicated campus network through AirPrint. The CSC broke through this limitation by using the DNS-based Service Discovery method to enable AirPrint print job submission.

Print from iOS devices
Users of iOS devices such as iPads and iPhones can send print jobs to the central print queue(s) by installing the corresponding app from our server. After installation, users can submit print jobs from their iOS devices through the apps and then release them at any of the print release stations. However, print features are limited (for example, only single-sided printing is supported) and the acceptable file types are limited by the app installed. 
You may visit the following website for more information about printing from iOS devices.
Quota Controlled Fast Print Queue - free service (Guidelines for iOS devices)
Print from Android devices
Unlike iOS devices, users of Android devices can print by submitting print jobs through the web page of the printing system and then release the print jobs at any of the print release stations. Similarly, print features are limited (only single-sided printing is supported) and only limited file types (such as PDF, Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint) are allowed to be sent to the central print queue.

You may visit the following web site for more information about printing from Android devices.
Quota Controlled Fast Print Queue - free service (Guidelines for Android devices)
Green IT
As always been stressed, although printing from smart phones and tablets is easy and convenient, users should only print materials directly related to their academic work and those pages that are absolutely necessary.
As a responsible user, one can always save trees and help reduce waste in many ways. Some useful hints can be found in our Best Printing Practice website: