PWG Tests Interoperability of Recently Released
IETF Internet Printing Protocol (IPP) Standard
Successful tests included firewalls, proxies and security
November 20, 2000 - Piscataway, N.J. - The Printer Working Group (PWG), a program of the IEEE Industry Standards and Technology Organization (IEEE-ISTO), today announced a successful interoperability test of the Internet Printing Protocol (IPP). This test was the third held by the PWG and focused on the new Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) proposed standard for IPP. In addition to exercising the basic protocol, tests involving firewalls, proxies and security were performed.
Oak Technologies hosted the four-day event (October 17, 2000 through October 20, 2000) at their Woburn, Massachusetts office. Previous tests were hosted by Microsoft and Novell. Eighteen companies, representing printer manufacturers, operating system developers and others, jointly tested their implementations of IPP. Out of the 26 Printer and Client implementations, 20 supported the new proposed standard, IPP version 1.1 (RFC 2910 and RFC 2911). The remaining six implementations limited their support to IPP version 1.0 (RFC 2568 and RFC 2569).
Basic testing consisted of printing simple jobs and obtaining printer status. The overall basic test, including Clients and Printers of both versions, was 93% successful. When the participants were limited to those supporting IPP version 1.1, the success rate increased to 96%. Inter-version tests between Clients and Printers that support both versions were 100% successful.
Participants in the IPP interoperability test were Canon, Electronics for Imaging Inc., Epson, IBM, i-data International, Japan Computer Industry, Microsoft, Netreon Inc., NETsilicon Inc., Novell, Oak Technologies, Quality Logic, Ricoh, SEH Computertechnik Gmbh and Xerox. Seventeen Printers and nine Clients were tested. Also present were several Firewall and Proxy vendors, including Axent Technologies Inc., McAfee.com and Microsoft.
Firewall and HTTP proxy testing was a complete success. The testing with firewalls demonstrated that administrators could set policy regarding IPP printing. Firewalls were able to block, selectively allow or allow unrestricted printing between IPP Clients and Printers. The firewalls further demonstrated that they could add an additional layer of security requiring IPP Clients to authenticate to the firewall before allowing the IPP request through to a designated printer. The HTTP proxies operated transparently when used in IPP printing.
Security testing went well with both SSLv3 and TLS having no failures with a limited number of Printer/Client combinations (8 and 7, respectively). Basic authentication had the most combinations (59) with a success rate of 93%.
The interoperability test involving multiple independently developed implementations of a new standard is useful for determining the quality of the standard. Six issues directly relating to the specifications and their interpretation were identified, only one of which affected basic interoperability. The level of success indicates that the IPP specifications, RFC 2910 and RFC 2911, are complete, well-written standards that ensure ease of implementation.
What is IPP?
The Internet Printing Protocol is a client/server protocol that allows the server to be either a separate print server or a printer with embedded networking and server capabilities. The focus of this effort is optimized for printers. IPP provides a single, standard interface for interrogating the capabilities and state of a printing system, submitting a print job, and monitoring the state of that print job. IPP is deployed across a broad range of printers, printing systems and operating systems that inter-operate using the protocol.
History of the IPP Working Group
Chartered by the PWG, the IPP Working Group was formed in November 1996 and began developing necessary standards for print job submission and monitoring for the Internet based on early submissions by many different companies and individuals.
After a successful "Birds of a Feather" session at the December 1996 IETF meeting in San Jose, California, this group was also chartered by the IETF on March 6, 1997. Representatives from Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Lexmark, Microsoft, Novell, Sharp, Sun Microsystems and Xerox act as chairs, authors and editors for the IPP project. Internet drafts covering requirements, and other related areas of IPP have been submitted to the IETF. The IPP model and semantics, and the protocol, RFC 2911 and RFC 2910, respectively, have been released as proposed standards by the IETF.
More information about the IPP group and specific technical details are available over the Internet on the PWG Web site: http://www.pwg.org/ipp
About the PWG
The Printer Working Group is a program of the IEEE-ISTO consisting of representatives from printer manufacturers, print server developers, operating system providers, and print management application developers. The PWG is chartered to make printers and the applications and operating systems supporting them work together better. The PWG is open to any company or individual interested in developing these new printing standards. The group meets regularly in person and via telephone conference calls. The next formal meeting of the IPP Working Group at a PWG meeting will be held in San Diego, California, in early December 2000.