Zebralink Solutions For Enhancing Zebra Printer Business

Zebralink solutions for enhancing zebra printer business

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A Zebra Technologies White Paper
ZebraLink™ Solutions for Enhancing
Zebra® Printer Business Integration
2 A Zebra Technologies White Paper
Executive Summary
Each business has unique needs, and printers fill a vital role in boosting business productivity. ZebraLink is a
suite of software, firmware, and connectivity solutions that enhances and extends the performance of Zebra
bar code and RFID smart label printers. ZebraLink makes it simple to design, manage, and adapt a bar code
printing application tailored to meet specific business processes. ZebraLink Solutions help unlock the full
value of Zebra printers by:
• Reducing configuration, integration, and management time
• Making label design and modifications easy
• Providing real-time connectivity and control
• Simplifying networking configuration
• Leveraging features that improve printer efficiency and performance
This white paper introduces the ZebraLink software, firmware, and connectivity components, and shows
how to maximize performance and value from Zebra printers

ZebraLink Overview
ZebraLink encapsulates a family of software applications, utilities, connectivity tools, and other resources
developed to extend and enhance Zebra printer capabilities. Users can select each ZebraLink solution as
they need—all are optional and are not required to run Zebra printers. Zebra designed ZebraLink for users
and developers with different experience levels, business goals, and printing environments. ZebraLink can
help customers using a single printer, and enable scalability for managing hundreds of printers worldwide
from a central location. Most solutions target Zebra printers that use the ZPL® printer command language,
and offer selected support for CPCL and EPL™ models. Many ZebraLink solutions are available as free
downloads from www.zebra.com

How well a printer creates labels is an incomplete measure of its value. Ease of use, required IT support,
compatibility with legacy systems, support for enterprise security standards, and other business process
considerations have a tremendous impact on total cost of ownership (TCO) and the value the printer provides

It is impractical and cost-prohibitive to support all the potential enterprise interfaces, security and networking
protocols, and other features in every printer on the market. Therefore, users must choose printers with the
features and options that provide the most value for their specific printing and business environment

A Zebra Technologies White Paper 3
ZebraLink provides a way to efficiently add capabilities to bar code and smart label printers on demand,
without expensive custom development or premature printer replacement. It also significantly reduces the
time required to set up, configure, manage, and modify printers, which minimizes support requirements

The following sections describe how ZebraLink solutions improve performance and add value to Zebra label
printing systems. In many cases, ZebraLink features may already be present on a printer already in use, just
waiting to be used!
Adapt Through Host Integration
Thermal label printers use proprietary printer command languages (for example, ZPL) that most enterprise
computer systems and software applications do not support. Information from enterprise systems on bar
code and RFID labels often require a model-specific label printer driver, middleware, or a custom interface

Such printing architectures may require specialized knowledge to maintain and may be inefficient to modify
and upgrade

ZebraLink provides several solutions for simplifying the process of integrating printers with host systems
and expressing information from databases, ERP applications, and other legacy systems on bar code and
RFID labels

XML Interface
XML-Enabled Zebra printers can output bar code and RFID labels by receiving XML data streams directly
from the host computer or application. The data stream is matched inside the printer to a stored label for-
mat, variable data fields are populated, and the label is printed. No additional middleware or drivers are
necessary, resulting in a simple architecture that is easy to manage and expand. Zebra’s Oracle-certified XML
solution includes XML-enabled label formats for Oracle® WMS and Mobile Supply Chain Applications (MSCA)
stored in printer memory, which eliminates the need to design label formats. XML-Enabled printing is built-in
on many of Zebra’s mobile, desktop, tabletop, print engine and kiosk printers

For more information about XML printing and the Oracle solution, download the “Bar Code Printing from
Oracle WMS and MSCA” white paper from the Resource Library section of www.zebra.com

Multiplatform Software Development Kit (SDK)
Seamless mobility is a key enabler to business productivity—from manufacturing, to transportation and
logistics, and even retail—rely on smartphones, mobile terminals, and handheld devices. Zebra’s Multiplat-
form Software Development Kit allows users to create new applications that enable printing from various
BlackBerry® smartphone models or Windows Mobile® terminals and devices to Zebra mobile or stationary
printers. The SDK includes source code samples, documentation, and on-phone demonstration modules that
simplify the design of custom applications with embedded support for Zebra printers

With ZebraLink-driven on-demand printing, businesses can now offer their workers the flexibility and
efficiency that mobile devices provide. Workers no longer need to carry multiple devices to complete their
printing tasks, including service and sales receipts, direct store delivery documentation, retail point-of-sale
receipts, mobile online coupon printing, and healthcare specimen labeling. For more information, see Zebra’s
Smartphone Utility and SDK Web page at www.zebra.com/sdk

4 A Zebra Technologies White Paper
Networking and Connectivity
The ZebraNet® Print Server family is the flagship for ZebraLink connectivity solutions, which also include
interfaces for the IBM® environment and Bluetooth® tools for communicating with mobile printers. All
ZPL®-based Zebra® printers enabled with ZebraNet print servers offer optimal integration for today’s network
environment with easy setup and configuration via Zebra advanced printer management tools

ZebraNet 10/100 Print Server
This solution provides wired connectivity to 10Base-T, 100-BaseTX, and fast Ethernet 10/100 auto-switching
networks. The ZebraNet 10/100 Print Server provides enhanced ECP parallel support and faster data
transmission speeds that improve printing throughput. This print server is supported on select Zebra
high-performance, midrange, and desktop printers, PAX™ print engines, and RFID printer/encoders. It is
available in external and internal versions that each draw their power from the printer

ZebraNet Wireless Plus Print Server
The ZebraNet Wireless Plus print server allows printers to be included in 802.11b/g-standard wireless
networks without wireless bridges or additional power supplies. The solution is available on select Zebra
high-performance, midrange, and desktop printers, PAX™ print engines, and RFID printer/encoders. The
ZebraNet Wireless Plus Print Server supports network radio cards from Cisco Systems and Motorola, offers
multiple security protocol options, and performs at user-selectable speeds

The PS4000 is a standalone product that provides 802.11b/g wireless connectivity to up to four desktop
printers (LP and G-series) connected via USB. It is powered by either an AC adapter or from the LA-24 battery
(which also provides printer power) for mobile applications

Twinax and Coax
Twinax connectivity provides connectivity to IBM System 34/26/38 and AS/400® computers or associated
controllers. Users can configure the Zebra printer on the IBM host as either an IBM 4214, 5224, 5225 or 5256
printer. Coax provides communication to IBM 3270 mainframe computers or associated controllers and IBM
3287 and Model 2 printer compatibility, including LU1 (SCS) and LU3 (3270 data stream) modes

Manage Printers Intelligently and Efficiently
The time and expertise required for installing and configuring printers, and the effort needed to keep them
running, are leading contributors to total cost of operation (TCO). If a printer fails, the resulting cost of lost
productivity, shipment delays and potential charge backs can quickly exceed the printer purchase price

Solid printer management, monitoring and troubleshooting tools protects the printer investment and im-
proves value

ZebraNet™ Bridge Enterprise
System administrators can use ZebraNet Bridge Enterprise to remotely manage the entire organization’s
Zebra printers from a central location. ZebraNet supports stationary and mobile printers, including those on
wireless networks. ZebraNet Bridge Enterprise supports Zebra printers installed with firmware version X.10
and higher, which makes it compatible with many legacy units and all new ZPL printer models. It also has
features to support Zebra printers using the EPL™ and CPCL control languages

A Zebra Technologies White Paper 5
ZebraNet Bridge Enterprise takes redundancy and labor out of configuring, managing, and modifying print-
ers. Administrators can create groups and subgroups of printers and then “push” the configurations, label
formats, and settings for entire groups at once. One-to-many management provides significant time savings
compared to traditional management applications that require the administrator to set each printer individu-
ally. Remote management allows a single administrator to manage Zebra printers across multiple locations

Automatically managing printer configurations using a “pull” networking task can save operations and IT staff
time and money, and ensure printers are functioning with the right configuration at the right time. Zebra’s
Mirror automatically ensures printers are functioning with the latest intended information to keep operations
running smoothly. IT administrators can configure and load important printer information on a networked
server once, then allow the printers to pull the data as needed

With Mirror, printers can pull settings, objects, and even firmware from a centralized FTP server. Administra-
tors can synchronize the printers with specific files maintained on a server using several scenarios including
when the printer powers up, at specified time intervals, both on power up and at time intervals, or on com-
mand. Mirror is available on a wide variety of mobile, desktop and tabletop printers

WebView provides a browser-based graphical interface to monitor printers across the enterprise. When a
Zebra printer is connected to a TCP/IP Ethernet network using a ZebraLink print server, the printer’s embed-
ded Web server allows a network administrator to point a Web browser to the Zebra printer’s URL just as
one would point to a page on the Internet. The printer’s Web server then responds by sending a Web page
to the network administrator’s browser, thus providing real-time, viewable and configurable record of the
printer’s status, settings, and printing parameters

Rich, Versatile Design Tools
A bar code or RFID application optimized for specific business needs and printing tasks helps saves time and
expenses. Zebra delivers several design solutions that provide businesses unmatched flexibility, integration,
and scalability for creating efficient printer outputs

Zebra’s Enterprise Connector Solution
Thermal printers create specialized outputs including bar code and RFID labels, tags, wristbands and receipts

Each task calls for specialized features not found in common document printers. Zebra thermal printers
support unique capabilities such as bar codes, RFID tag encoding, and real-time clock fields that require
optimized command sets for maximum performance. The Zebra Enterprise Connector Solution for Oracle®
BI Publisher removes the hassles from thermal printer software installation, usage and management—no
complex files, and no need to learn specific printer languages

IT administrators simply install ZebraDesigner™ for XML v2 software on a Windows® PC, design the label
templates, and then upload them to the server-based Enterprise Connector environment. As users process
transactions, Enterprise Connector efficiently transforms XML-based business data into printable content

For every new or batch transaction requiring label printing, Enterprise Connector quickly converts the design
data into efficient, optimized ZPL commands, and then sends them to the print queue

6 A Zebra Technologies White Paper
Label Design
The ZebraDesigner™ v2 software family makes producing sophisticated labels easier than ever before

Created specifically for use with Zebra bar code printers, ZebraDesigner software delivers a unique level of
access to the advanced features found exclusively on Zebra printers

ZebraDesigner, available as a free download, offers primary label design features in a wizard-driven, Windows
interface. ZebraDesigner Pro, available for demo and purchase, offers additional advanced features, such as
database connectivity, RFID tag encoding, and real-time clock support. Users can use both ZebraDesigner
and ZebraDesigner Pro to create labels for printers with the ZPL, EPL, and CPCL command languages,
including mobile printer models. Users can print label designs directly from the software, or easily download
and store them on Zebra printers for later recall and printing from a host or ERP system

Printers create text by using a codepage to convert numeric codes into characters and expressing them in
a font that supports the required characters. Most codepages support only a limited number of characters,
which severely impacts their ability to support multiple languages

Unicode supports many thousands of characters—more than enough to print in all of the world’s major
languages. Zebra’s Unicode solution eliminates the time and money associated with continually installing
fonts and codepages to support new languages. Unicode fonts let the printer seamlessly output any
language, with no need for an operator to select the language, font, or codepage, or otherwise configure or
adjust the printer

Many leading IT systems and enterprise software applications now support Unicode. By networking a
Unicode-enabled Zebra printer to these systems, organizations can print international language labels directly
from their applications

Zebra’s Unicode solution is free and included in the firmware of Zebra’s current Xi™ series, Z Series® ,
S Series™, G-Series™, PAX™ series and KR403™ printers. Fonts for printing all major European, Asian
(including GB-18030), Middle Eastern, and African languages are also available

ZebraLink solutions simplify every aspect of bar code and RFID label printing, from creating label designs
and formats, to installing and configuring printers, to managing daily printing operations and performing
upgrades. The ZebraLink software, hardware and embedded firmware enable users to leverage features and
capabilities specific to Zebra printers to improve printer performance, system uptime, device management,
and solution modifications to existing or new label printing operations. Extending the power of Zebra
printers and improving their productivity reduces support requirements, lowers costs, and enhances the
value of Zebra printing solutions

Zebra Technologies Corporation (NASDAQ: ZBRA) provides the broadest range of innovative technology
solutions to identify, track, manage, and optimize the deployment of critical assets for improved business
efficiency. Zebra’s core technologies include reliable on-demand printer and state-of-the-art software and
hardware solutions. By enabling improvements in sourcing, visibility, security and accuracy, Zebra helps its
customers to put the right asset in the right place at the right time. Zebra operates in over 100 countries and
serves more than 90 percent of Fortune 500 companies worldwide. For more information about Zebra‘s
solutions visit www.zebra.com

A Zebra Technologies White Paper 7
Zebra Technologies Zebra Technologies Zebra Technologies Europe USA
Corporation Corporation Limited California, Georgia, Rhode Island,
475 Half Day Road, 333 Corporate Woods Parkway Dukes Meadow Texas, Wisconsin
Suite 500 Vernon Hills, IL 60061-3109 Millboard Road
Lincolnshire, IL 60069 USA U.S.A. Bourne End EUROPE
T: +1 847 634 6700 T: +1 847 793 2600 or Buckinghamshire SL8 5XF, UK France, Germany, Italy,
+1 800 268 1736 +1 800 423 0442 T: +44 (0)1628 556000 Netherlands, Poland, Spain, Sweden
F: +1 847 913 8766 F: +1 847 913 8766 F: +44 (0)1628 556001
Australia, China, India, Japan,
www.zebra.com LATIN AMERICA ASIA-PACIFIC South Korea
Zebra Technologies Zebra Technologies
International, LLC Asia Pacific, LLC LATIN AMERICA
9800 NW 41st Street, 120 Robinson Road Argentina, Brazil, Florida (USA),
Suite 200 #06-01 Parakou Building Mexico
Doral, FL 33178 USA Singapore 068913
T: +1 305 558 8470 T: +65 6858 0722 AFRICA/MIDDLE EAST
F: +1 305 558 8485 F: +65 6885 0838 Russia, South Africa, United Arab
©2010 ZIH Corp. ZebraLink, EPL, ZebraNet, ZebraDesigner, and all product names and numbers are Zebra trademarks, and Zebra, the Zebra head
graphic, ZPL and ZebraNet are registered trademarks of ZIH Corp. All rights reserved. Oracle is a registered trademark of Oracle Corporation and/or
its affiliates. Microsoft, Windows, and Windows Mobile are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corporation in the United States P1029431 (7/10)
and/or other countries. IBM and AS/400 are registered trademarks of International Business Machines Corporation. Blackberry is either a registered
trademark or trademark of Research in Motion Limited in the United States and/or other countries. Bluetooth is a registered trademark of Bluetooth
SIG, Inc. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners

From a central location. Most solutions target Zebra printers that use the ZPL® printer command language, and offer selected support for CPCL and EPL™ models. Many ZebraLink solutions are available as free downloads from www.zebra.com. How well a printer creates labels is an incomplete measure of its value. Ease of use, required IT support,

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Frequently Asked Questions

How can zebralink design help you?

You'll get your Zebra printers up and running with minimal IT attention or process disruptions—enabling you to keep strategic initiatives on schedule and current operations functioning at full tilt. The ZebraLink Design tools create flexible and optimized documents. ZebraDesigner™ Software helps you quickly design labels for your business needs.

What are the zebra utilities and zebralink manage tools?

The Zebra Utilities enables printing from iOS devices. The Zebra Utilities enables printing from Android devices. The ZebraLink Manage tools ensure uptime and optimized performance. Easily deploy, manage, and monitor your printer operations with ZebraNet Bridge Enterprise. The printer–based Mirror feature uses FTP to manage networked printers.

What is zebra print server?

ZebraNet 10/100 Print Server. This solution provides wired connectivity to 10Base-T, 100-BaseTX, and fast Ethernet 10/100 auto-switching networks. The ZebraNet 10/100 Print Server provides enhanced ECP parallel support and faster data transmission speeds that improve printing throughput.

What is the difference between zebra utilities and zebradesigner?

ZebraDesigner™ Software helps you quickly design labels for your business needs. The Zebra Utilities enables printing from iOS devices. The Zebra Utilities enables printing from Android devices. The ZebraLink Manage tools ensure uptime and optimized performance.