Nowadays, printing has become an essential business activity across the board. Like any other business area, print management has evolved rapidly, with more options to increase and simplify productivity and saving costs in an organization. That’s why print servers have become very common in the print environment where printing demand is so high.
Anyone who mainly works in an office, or even a virtual office, and uses professional printers, will often use a print server.
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What is Printer Server?
So what’s a print server? Generally, a print server, also commonly known as a printer server, is simply a network application or software which connects several printers to a computer over a network. A print server’s primary role is to manage all printing requests that your computer and the printing device receive. In simple terms, a print server acts more like an intermediary linking your computers and your printers.
How does a printer server work?
Usually, what happens is that all print jobs are usually sent from the computer to the server, which then forwards the print job to the right printer. Still, it may also choose to send the print job to any other printer available on the same network, and the server recognizes. When printing jobs are sent, the print server places the entire requests in a local queue to prevent overloading the printing device because of the network jam caused by too many print jobs sent at the same time to the printer.
The print server itself can be in the form of a small computer operating in conjunction with the central office server. This is often the case where there’s availability of a primary server or a backup server to enable printing capability or be loaded onto the central server directly. In most cases, one of the computers in the network group is assigned as a print server.
The application or software for operating a print server is usually loaded and installed on a computing machine’s hard disk. Mostly, computers running on UNIX operating systems usually have in-built printer server capacity.
In case your computer doesn’t have an in-built capacity for these servers, you can connect your device directly to a specific printer by using a network-based print server. Depending on your computing software application, its hardware may or may not have the capability to connect your device directly to your network router. If the hardware cannot connect to the network router directly, you can connect your printer server to a printing device through a USB or wireless connection.
Read also: Guide of Top Cricut Printers
How to Install A Printer Server
You may be wondering; how do I install a print server. Here are some simple tasks to help if you would like to install a print server on your computer.
- On your computer, open Server Manager, Manage and then select Roles and features.
- Select Installation Type and choose Role-based or Feature-based Installation.
- Select Server Selection and choose to Select a server from the pool. Click Next.
- Select Server Roles, and from the drop-down, choose Print and Documents Services. Then click Next to continue.
- Select Features and choose .NET Framework 3.5 Features. Click Next to continue.
- Select Print and Documents services and click Next to proceed.
- Select Roles Services, and choose Print Server. Click Next to proceed.
- Confirm installation selections by clicking Install.
- Close the wizard after installation is complete.
- Open ADUC and click Find Now to look for printers in AD.
- Open Print management from Administration Tools. Here, you can see your printer has already been listed, and it’s ready for deployment through GPO.
When the print server is set, the administrators can configure the software to recognize all the printers in the office and any other workstations with access to the server functions. After establishing the credentials, each workstation is then configured to connect with the server to enable printing capability, including restricting or granting the right to any printer that the server recognizes.
The setup ensures there’s always an available printer to anyone in the office team who wants to print. For example, if for some reason there’s a printer that’s temporarily out of service, then you can send a print job to any other printer within the network.
Advantages OF Printer Serves
Having a print server can have many advantages;
A print server acts as a regulator of the flow of print jobs to the printer, so that means the office can have fewer devices as not all office team members need their printer. It is also cost-effective because an office doesn’t need to purchase tons of print supplies for different machines.
Homes environments, too, can benefit from the use of a print server. For instance, instead of computers connected to each printer in the home, one good printer can be purchased and used as a central printer. Adults can use the central print server to print their work projects, while the kids can print out homework and school projects.
The other advantage of using a computer workstation as a print server is, in case something goes wrong with the hard disk, you can load the print server on another workstation and set up configuration. Projects can go on without wasting much time waiting for the installation of a new device.
Unlike printers that are rarely monitored despite the fact they handle a lot of sensitive data, which can hurt an organization if there’s a breach, you can easily secure the print server through frequent monitoring. The administrator of the print servers has access to all the printers connected to the network. So the administrator can keep an eye on everything, manage, view, perform tasks, and access printer reports.
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Through the print server, you can manage all printers in an organization in a single location. If an office has different departments and employees on different floors or rooms, a print server can reorder, print, delete or cancel pending printing tasks on different machines. The print server can also save a lot of time and increase productivity in the long run because print servers provide better handling of large print volumes.