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HOW TO – Convert an old PC (386 or 486 or Pentium) to a network print server

Computers & Mobile
HOW TO – Convert an old PC (386 or 486 or Pentium) to a network print server

Good use for an old 386/486 computer… –

This tutorial demonstrates how to build a low cost, stand-alone, professional quality Network Print Server for a local area network. It uses the industry standard Raw Socket API, a trend set by Hewlett Packard’s JetDirect and JetDirectEX print servers; also called “raw socket printing” (tcp port 9100). JetDirect is used in Hewlett Packard’s, Xerox’s, Lexmark’s business-grade network printers. Most business-grade network printers on the market today support the Raw Socket (tcp port 9100) printing. Microsoft calls this “Standard TCP/IP port printing” (Windows 2000 and up). This method of sharing a printer is much more elegant than the “Samba print sharing method” because it can handle multiple OS, it can easily punch through routers and firewalls over wide area networks, and it can be easily encapsulated (tunneled) under the strong cryptographic encryption of openssh or openvpn for highly secure remote printing to remote offices.

HOW TO – Convert an old PC (386 or 486 or Pentium) to a network print server – [via] Link.

4 thoughts on “HOW TO – Convert an old PC (386 or 486 or Pentium) to a network print server

  1. Shadyman says:

    While it gets points for thriftiness, use of materials, AND use of OLD materials, could this not be done with a WRTSL54GS? Plenty of memory/app space, and a usb port(usb-sd converter and a printer, anyone?)

  2. ZadTheInhaler says:

    While the Linksys may be a fine way of putting a (insert USB printer model here), this is specifically referencing parallel printers, which are still being made today. Leveraging existing 386/486 class computers (that still work mostly by way of their tank-like construction)
    just makes sense.

    Whether one chooses the floppy or hard drive installation route, it’s an opportunity to:

      Save energy – headless means a lot of Watt/hours saved. One doesn’t necessarily need fans running on most 386/486 class processors either, and convection cooling the PSU is fine if one is not running one or more hard drives.
      Easy configuration – insert floppy and reboot.
      Easy administration – see above!

    I’ve done this at home with an old Compaq Net1/33 AIO 486 w/ 16 MB of RAM, and it works like a charm. No need to share drivers, and their attendant headaches, with various versions of Windows. My Linux boxen hardly take any time to setup at all!

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