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Load balancing print jobs across multiple printing devices

Image Number 9 for United States Patent #7265860.

Systems and methods for providing a time-to-availability attribute for use in a variety of printing environments to dynamically manage the load balancing of print jobs across multiple printing devices, wherein the attribute is supported on the client side, on the server side or by printer firmware, and wherein the attribute is implemented in a printer driver, a print processor, a spooler, a print server, a printer firmware spooler, or another component of a print subsystem. Job information and heuristic information are obtained to facilitate the load balancing of each print job and are stored separately from the print data. The job information includes information for estimating the amount of time to render a particular print job on a specified printer. The heuristic information includes accumulative information for estimating the actual performance of the printer under various print modes. The time-to-availability attribute for each printer may be used in both cluster printing and intelligent routing to load balance print jobs, wherein the print jobs are balance across a group of printers to produce a maximum throughput and minimum time to completion.

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