Print server

A printer servers, print servers or print servers takes in a computer network against jobs and forwards them to a printer or plotter.

Print servers are often implemented as standalone devices or dedicated servers. Colloquially understood as including both the server software and the host on which it is running.

Print server can be used to

  • To make printer without network interface available over the network
  • To manage network printers centrally
  • To centralize the spooling
  • To form printer pool
  • To distribute device drivers

Systems and protocols

The ancestral printing system according to the client-server model is the Berkeley Printing System ( also LPD / LPR). It was developed for Unix, but is also available in Windows NT ( and later) implemented. The servers have been developed for Windows Message Block (SMB ) -based file and print services. They are available through Samba and Unix. More print server techniques or protocols for print servers are NetWare NCP builds on IPX / SPX or TCP / IP, NetBIOS / NetBEUI on the " NetBIOS Frames Protocol", Raw TCP port 9100 as the AppleTalk protocol or the AppleShare IP Print Server Security Protocol.

The modern Internet Printing Protocol is the basis of CUPS. It is practically all of Unix-like operating systems (AIX, Apple Mac OS X, BSD, HP- UX, Linux, etc. ) but also for the current versions of Windows ( Windows NT 4.0, 2000, XP, Vista, 7, 8) for available.


Widely used are adapters for USB, IEEE -1284 or EIA -232 printers, in which a printer server. Such devices have a rudimentary operating system and usually via a web interface to manage them. They are used to provide the printer with a network interface.

They are available in different versions:

  • For attachment to an IEEE -1284 interface or as a tabletop unit
  • For one or more printers
  • With or without 802.1X authentication
  • For RJ connectors or Wireless Local Area Networks

For use at home or in small offices as well as routers with built-in printer server and a USB interface exist.