If your business uses a professional printer, you may have come across a print server – the software application or network device that manages files in your printing queue and sends them from your computer to your printer.
A print server can manage printing requests that both your computer and printing device receive, and they’re used in any kind of printing operation for businesses all over the world.
We’ve shared all you need to know if you are interested in how a print server works, and how having one can enhance the daily operations of your business.
How does a print server work?
Print servers, or printer servers, are devices or programs that connect printers to computers over a network. They act as an intermediary between computers and printers, accepting printing jobs from computers and sending them on to the right printer. They do this by storing and queueing print requests locally and to avoid overloading a busy printing device.
What are the different types of print servers?
The software required by a print server can be installed on any computing machine or PC. Operating systems that use the UNIX software often have built-in capacity for print servers.
Alternatively, you can get a network-based print server that connects your device directly to a printer. Depending on the type of computing software applications that you have, you may already have hardware that will allow the device to directly connect to your network router.
The print server can be connected to your printing device through a parallel, USB or wireless connection.
Why is a print server useful?
You may find a print server useful if your business has multiple printers and a significant need for printing many documents or promotional materials. This is because a print server can manage the queue of each connected printer and send the files to the machine that is able to accommodate faster printing, helping to improve office efficiency.
A print server is also a great way to manage printers from one central location. If your business’ building consists of multiple floors and offices, using a print server will allow you to print, reorder or delete pending files that you’ve ordered to print at several different machines.
How to install a print server
If you need to manually install a print server on your computer, you will need to carry out the following tasks:
- 1) Open the Control Panel and select the ‘Print and Documents Services’ option
- 2) Select ‘Add a Printer’ and choose your local printer
- 3) Select the option to ‘Create a new port’ and enter your IP address.
- 4) Press ‘Custom’, ‘Settings’ and then switch to LPR (Line Printer Remote).
- 5) Choose a printer
- 6) Use an existing port and select your printer
Disadvantages of a print server
Despite a print server being a great piece of technology that can manage simultaneous printing jobs, there are some disadvantages that come from using the network or software.
If the server encountered a fault, it would affect all printers connected to the device. This could prove costly to your business and may prevent important items from being printed.
A great alternative to a print server that won’t pose the risk of this failure is direct IP printing. This option prevents the chances of all printers in your network being affected if an error occurred, as each printer has their own individual server. If the server was to experience a fault, only the single connected printer would be affected.
As you can see, a print server can provide your business with a way to simply manage and control all your printing jobs – ideal if your company has a large requirement for printing professional documents.