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printer server

See print server.

print server

(1) A computer in a network that controls one or more printers. The function is typically part of the operating system but may be an add-on utility that stores the print-image output from users' machines and feeds it to the printer one job at a time. The computer and its printers are known as a "print server" or a file server with "print services."

(2) Hardware that enables a printer to be installed in the network. "Network printers" have built-in print servers, but wired and wireless print servers may be added to non-network printers via the printer's parallel or USB ports (see below). The print server uses the printer's memory to queue the print jobs. If there is not enough printer memory to hold all the jobs, the print server causes the file server or the individual client machines to spool the printer output in the background. See print spooler.

Print Servers
Print servers may be software within a network file server some distance from the printer, or they may be dedicated internal or external units attached to the printer.

Internal and External Print Servers
The unit on the left with no cable connected is an internal print server. The unit on the right is an external print server that was plugged into the printer's parallel port. Print servers can also be wireless (Wi-Fi).

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