Hello folks, today I am going to talk about a new feature that’s available in Microsoft Windows 8.1 and Server 2012 R2 called NFC “tap to connect” Printing. NFC stands for Near Field Communication, which allows a two way communication between devices (endpoints) within a very close proximity; typically no more than few centimeters.
NFC “tap to connect” printing makes installation of printers very simple, in short, the user can just tap an NFC enabled device (for ex: a laptop or a tablet) on an NFC enabled printer and can then immediately install that particular printer.
This way, the user does not have to follow the traditional method of printer installation and does not need to know any details of the printer. For example, the print server where it’s hosted on, or the actual printer name itself. NFC “tap to connect” printing can be used for both WSD printers and shared printers.
There are printers that already have NFC capability built-in. The good news is, you can make any existing non-NFC printer NFC capable, by using an NFC tag. NFC tags are like stickers that can be programed to store the required information.
So how do we program an NFC tag? You can do this by using a simple PowerShell cmdlet called Write-PrinterNfcTag. Below are the steps to accomplish this:
1. Launch PowerShell as an administrator on a Windows 8.1 / 2012 R2 system that has NFC hardware capability. You can verify whether the system is NFC capable in device manager; if the system has an NFC device, it will be located under “Proximity devices” in device manager.
2. Type in the following command in the PowerShell window:
Write-PrinterNfcTag -Sharepath <UNC path of the printer>
Write-PrinterNfcTag -Sharepath \MyprintserverPrinterX
3. Once you run this command, you will be prompted to tap the NFC sticker (tag) against the device on which you ran the command. You now need to tap it against the NFC radio on the Windows 8.1 / 2012 R2 system within 30 seconds. Once tapped, the printer share information is written into the NFC tag. That’s it! Your NFC tag is now encoded with the printer share information and all you need to do is attach the NFC tag on the printer that you have specified in the Write-PrinterNfcTag command.
- It is recommended to use NFC forum approved tags, of at least 1kb capacity
- You can use the -Lock parameter with the above mentioned commands if you want to prevent further modification of the NFC tag once its programmed
- To read an NFC tag, you can use the Read-PrinterNfcTag cmdlet
For a user to print, all they need to do is tap an NFC enabled device (for instance a tablet), on the NFC tag that’s attached on the printer, and the user will be prompted for the installation of that particular printer.
Please note, the NFC tag and the Printer never communicates with each other, the print process still uses the existing infrastructure and the network. NFC “tap to connect” printing is just a way to pair and install the printer and it does this like a charm!