Why do I need a Print Server?

I'm in the process of designing a new network architecture for my company and I'm wondering what exactly a print server buys me. In the past I've always hung our networked printers directly off the LAN with their own fixed IP address, then installed the drivers from a network share for each user (we have less than 50 users). I know a print server would automatically update the drivers (which windows update will do) and would let me control print jobs (which isn't generally an issue since most printing is a small doc ument or an email). So why bother?

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I don’t know if a Print server would be a great thing for your company. With about 50 users, as long as you don’t have large amounts of printing or printing of large docs. One of the main things that a print server would do for you is it would allow you to setup priorities for each of the users and it makes the managing of the print Que allot easier. If you don’t have allot of printing or print que problems now, I wouldn’t mess with some thing that is working as long as it doesn’t hinder work or security.

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  • EricHarris
    Personal preference, really. You have to decide, for yourself, if managing a server or going around to individual desktops is a better use of your time. A server is a central spot which would require you to change a driver, IP address or target printer in one spot. Otherwise, it's going to every relevant desktop and making the needed changes. Also, a server means users can find/add printers on their own instead of calling you. In a small enough shop, the cost difference would encourage individual configuration but the time savings mount rapidly as an office gets bigger.
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  • Bobkberg
    A few reasons come to mind... 1) spooling capacity 2) access control 3) easier navigation / setup (for end users) 4) If you change out a printer, you only need to change the print server, not every system. Probably more, but I'm still working on my first cup of coffee. Bob
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