How to Connect a Print Server

Level of difficulty: Intermediate

Print servers are external or internal products that allow the connection of printing devices to a network requiring the need for a host computer system where it is physically connected to. Using a print server delivers greater flexibility to the network environment. This allows the printing device to be placed virtually anywhere in the Local Area Network; thereby, reducing the cost of deployment and implementation aside from providing an alternative way of managing printing operations. With the increasing popularity of wireless networks, network device manufacturers have also introduced wireless print servers that supplement the functionality of these wireless networks allowing for the use of mobile printer stations, faster set-up of printing devices for workgroups, delivery of printing solutions that compliment the wireless network, and providing exact functionality as those delivered by wired print servers. Network clients connect to the Print Server device via the network printing protocols of the Microsoft Windows Operating System platform including, NetBIOS, LPD/LPR, IPX/SPX, NetBEUI, and TCP/IP among others.

Materials Needed:
- Network router
- Ethernet cable
- computer to function as print server
- printer without built-in network support
- existing LAN
Step 1
To set up the print server to a network running on the Microsoft Windows Operating System, attach the printing device to its respective communication port which for newer printers is usually the USB interface.
Step 2
Upon detection of the host system, the corresponding driver will be installed either manually or automatically. For manual installation, the accompanying CD may be required. Click on the 'Start' button and select the 'Control Panel' option.
Step 3
In the Control Panel windows, select the 'Printers and Other Hardware' category. Click on the 'Printer and Faxes' icon.
Step 4
In the Printer Tasks, click the 'Add a Printer' option. Follow the prompts to install the printer device attached to the machine.
Step 5
Upon completion of the process, a new printer icon will be displayed in the Printer and Faxes window. Right click on this icon and choose 'Properties'.
Step 6
From the Printer Properties window, select the 'Sharing' option and click on the 'Share this Printer'.
Step 7
Indicate a Shared Name which will be used to identify the printing device across the network. Other attributes like printing preferences, priorities, color management, and other properties can be set from this window.
Step 8
Once the configuration of the Print Server is completed, the client must be configured prior to gaining access to the functionality of the printing device. On the client machine, follow Steps 3 to 4 but instead of specifying a local printer, select network printer.
Step 9
Browse for the appropriate printing device from the list of detected network printers and follow the prompt. A new printer icon will appear in the Printers and Faxes window. The client machine is now ready to connect and use the Print Server.