What is a Print Server

Print Server is used to share printers over a network. Print Server is hardware or software that is responsible for sending the requests from multiple clients (usually in an organization) to a printer. Print Server performs this task such that it should be completed in a right order and at a right time as per the request was made.

Print Servers are able to provide high speed and concurrent access to the requests made, using different network protocols. Print Server can either be in the form of small server but assuming that there is a backup server as well as the primary server. Mostly, one of the computers in the network groups is designated as the print server. It is operated by the software which is loaded onto the hard drive of the computer that functions as the print server.

The Print Server serves the requests on first come first serve basis but other features are also provided in the printing software which can perform the job on the priority basis i.e. the preferences can be given to the jobs as per their needs. The Print Server uses the printer’s memory to queue the print jobs. If there is not enough printer memory for all the jobs, the print server causes the file server or the individual client machines to spool the printer output in the background.

Client Computer gets connected to the print servers by using Network Printing Protocol. Dedicated print servers support a large number of the protocols such as TCP/IP, NetBEUI, and NetBIOS etc…

Print Server has:

Network interfaces – such as Ethernet or Wi-Fi Antenna – in case of wireless, and Connectors – for e.g. USB for printers.

A Print Server is usually configured through a web browser. Print Server is integrated with broadband routers in many products but a separate Print Server provides best network and printing performance.

Hardware Print Servers adds an extra maintenance and cost and most of the hardware printers are hard to upgrade as compared to software printers. On the other hand, software is more economical and offers more features as well than the hardware print servers. In case of Software print servers, a trial copy of it can be downloaded and installed and if it is good then can be purchased too unlike in the case of Hardware print servers.

Considering today’s scenario, a Print Server must be able to accept requests from multiple protocols i.e. Windows based PC’s, Linux, Mac etc…

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