A Print Server is a piece of software designed to manage printing requests made by users on a network, and forward them to the printer when it has finished it's current task.
Windows and Macintosh operating systems have print servers built in as part of the package. This allows a single computer to directly connect to a printer (usually via USB or parallel connections) and send printing requests to it. The print server on the computers can also act as a server for the entire network, handling printing requests from many different computers and devices. The only downside to this, is that the individual computer assigned to manage the printing must be turned on to handle any requests, which can be noisy and result in high power consumption.
With the advancements of technology, manufacturers have been able to build small print servers that can manage all requests, while still offering a space and energy saving solution, which runs silently. This is ideal if you have a Laptop in your home as you wont have to directly connect to the printer, or require a desktop PC to be turned on.
Print Servers are often built into Network Attached Storage drives (see NAS Glossary term) and routers (also see Glossary term).