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Manage all your small business printer traffic with a print server.

What is a print server?

A print server is a device that connects a printer (or printers) to a network, allowing all computers and devices on that network to send print jobs.

What are print servers used for, and what functionality do they offer?

Print servers offer several key features that makes them attractive, especially in a small business environment.

A print server can be used to make a printer available to computers via a connectivity standard that’s not native to the printer. For example, you can physically plug in a wireless print server to some printers that then allows them to be accessed over Wi-Fi.

A print server can also be used to distribute print jobs among multiple printers on a network. Even with a single printer, it can effectively manage a print queue when print jobs arrive more quickly than the printer itself can process them.

Hardware is available with a wide range of connectivity options, including Parallel port, Ethernet and USB print server models.

How do print servers work?

A print server works by providing the hardware and circuitry needed to connect the printer to the network, along with functionality like print job storage. It acts as an intermediary or bridge between the printer and the devices trying to print.

Some print servers will also include PC software (or offer compatibility with software) to actively manage printing, including directing print jobs to the printer best able to accommodate them, tracking who is printing, and automatically adding watermarks to printed material.

Advantages of having a print server

There are two primary advantages to having a print server. The first is the ability to easily connect a printer to a network that it may not otherwise be compatible with, without requiring it to be connected to a PC—for example using a wireless print server to make a printer available over Wi-Fi.

The second big advantage is efficiency and improved workflow. In an environment where multiple computers and mobile devices are sending print jobs to one or more networked printers, a print server ensures those printers are used effectively and that print jobs are processed reliably.