The LP print service enables you to group several locally attached printers into one class. You can perform this task only by using the lpadmin -c command.
After you set up a printer class, users can then specify that class, rather than individual printers, as the destination for a print request. The first printer in the class that is available to print is used. The result is faster turnaround because printers are kept as busy as possible.
No default printer classes are known to the print service. Printer classes exist only if you define them.
Here are some ways you could define printer classes:
By printer type – For example, a PostScript printer.
By location – For example, a printer located on the 5th floor.
By work group or department – For example, the accounting department.
Alternatively, a class might contain several printers that are used in a particular order. The LP print service always checks for an available printer in the order in which printers were added to a class. Therefore, if you want a high-speed printer to be accessed first, add the high-speed printer to the class before you add a low-speed printer. As a result, the high-speed printer handles as many print requests as possible. The low-speed printer is reserved as a backup printer when the high-speed printer is in use.
Print requests are balanced between printers in a class only for local printers.
Class names, similar to printer names, must be unique and can contain a maximum of 14 alphanumeric characters and underscores.
You are not obligated to define printer classes. You should add printer classes only if you determine that using them would benefit users on the network.