Using a printer on your company’s network is as simple as using one attached to the PC on your desk thanks to printer server software. Each printer-server programme will take care of the intricate, low-level details involved in sending a document from your computer to a network printer that may be situated in a different room, another building, or on the other side of the world. There are various types of printer-server programmes that operate in various ways.
Types of Print Servers
Software for print servers can be installed locally on your PC or on a network file server. Common UNIX Printing System (CUPS), which includes print-server functionality, is the default printing solution used by UNIX-based operating systems like Mac OS X and Linux. Another type of print server is a dedicated network hardware unit that attaches directly to a printer. Some printers come equipped with hardware that acts as a print server, allowing them to connect directly to a network router or switch.
There are numerous ways to connect a printer to a print server. It might have a physical parallel, serial, or USB connection to a client computer or file server. Dedicated network print servers connect wirelessly or over an RJ45 Ethernet cable to the network and to a printer directly using a parallel or USB connection. Wireless or Ethernet connections to the network are also available for printers with integrated print-server hardware.
Protocols for Print Servers
The print server and operating system of your computer must find the printer you want to use, establish a network communication path to it, package your document into a data format the printer can directly understand, send the formatted data to the printer, and track the printer’s progress as it prints your document before your document is finally printed and prepared for pickup. Finally, it informs you of the success or failure of the print process. The intricate, low-level details are taken care of for you by the printer drivers that you have installed on your computer and network printing protocols like IPP (Internet Printing Protocol) and LPR (Line Printer Remote protocol).
Queuing Print Jobs
Despite the fact that printers are slower than your hard drive or CD writer as output devices, print-server software can make up for this by temporarily storing your document in a file called a spool and only sending out the parts of your document that your printer can reliably handle. Print servers installed on network file servers can put each document into a waiting queue if you send multiple documents to the printer at once or if several other users are attempting to print at the same time. First-come, first-served ordering is used by the printer server to send documents in the queue to the printer.