What is the Function of a Print Server?
For high-volume, professional printing, businesses will often require print servers to assist in the management of tasks across a network of PCs and remote printers. Read on to learn more about what a print server is, how to use it, and why it might be right for your business’s printing needs.
What is a Printer Server?
A print server is a network device or software tool that sorts printing tasks sent from various computers into an organized queue. Print servers do so by connecting to a local network as opposed to a single computer. This tool allows multiple computers to share a single professional printer without overloading it with print tasks.
A print server can be an application that is integrated within a printer, a separate adapter, or a router. Once connected to a print server, a printer then becomes a network printer that can be accessed by multiple devices. Print servers are excellent tools for any workplace. For example, it could be great for dealing with multiple workloads on one or many new or used xerox production printers.
Types of Printer Servers
Print servers come in many forms, some as software applications that are installed locally on a PC or network file server, and others as network-hardware devices that connect physically to a printer. These are important things to consider when buying a printer as other print servers come already built into the existing printer hardware, allowing them to connect directly to a router or network switch.
The term “print-server” doesn’t actually apply to a specific hardware device. Instead, many types of existing hardware, including printers themselves, can be used as print servers, like:
- Network routers
- Wireless printers
- Other network-based devices
Most print servers come with a USB port, allowing them to connect directly to a printer with a simple, easy-to-acquire cable. Other print servers can connect directly to a router via an Ethernet port or wirelessly to a printer via a Wi-Fi network.
Why Would You Want to Use a Printer Server?
If your business relies on multiple printers daily for important documents and promotional materials, a print server is a vital tool to enhance your business’s productivity. A print server improves office efficiency by sending documents in its print queue, then to a printer that can accommodate faster printing while avoiding a task overload.
A print server is also a useful tool for managing print jobs across multiple floors and buildings—and therefore multiple printers—because it allows you to delete, pause, and reorder files in the queue from a centralized location rather than at each individual machine.
Print Job Queuing
Compared to other read/write software, printers sport relatively slow output rates. Print servers can thus optimize for faster output by storing a “spool,” or a temporary version of a document, which it sends in portions to the printer at a rate that the machine can reliably handle.
How to Connect Printer to Print Server
Once you identify what type of print server you are dealing with, you will need to know how to connect printer to server. Depending on the device, the printer can be connected in the following ways:
- Physical connection – Most printer servers can be connected directly via a physical cable to a parallel, serial, or USB port on the printer.
- Wireless or Ethernet connections – Dedicated network printer servers can connect to a local network wirelessly or directly with an Ethernet cable. Printers that come with built-in print servers can connect wirelessly to the network or with Ethernet connectors.
Installing your printer to its print server is a simple task that can be resolved in a few clicks. After that, all employees have to do is install a driver and then connect to their desired printer! Here’s the basic rundown:
- Connect your printer to the desired router or switch. Then, turn it on
- Identify your printer’s IP address under the print server’s “Settings” or “Networking” page. To find your IP address, refer to its onboard menu or configuration page
- Log-in to the print server as an administrator
- Select the appropriate options to “Add a local printer”
- Choose to create a new port, select the “Standard IP Port” option, and continue to the next step
- Follow instructions on the screen to continue installing the printer driver and select “Finish” when complete.
- Be sure to install the appropriate driver for each operating system used at your company. Select “Add Driver” on your print server to recognize drivers for future use.
Depending on your company’s network architecture, you may need to install various drivers or dive deeper into the installation process to fully integrate your print server. However, once that process is complete, you will be free to take advantage of the added efficiency a print server provides for your business needs!
A print server is a simple yet powerful tool that allows businesses to centralize their print administration. With this device, employees can connect to and use multiple printers in an easy, quick, and efficient way.