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You can’t connect an Ethernet NIC to a Token Ring network (even though they may use similar cable types) because the technologies are different. But you can use a device called a media converter (sometimes called a transceiver or media filter) to connect a NIC to a different cable type within the same type of network. For example, you can connect a Token Ring NIC (which normally uses Type 1 STP cable and IBM data connectors) to a Token Ring network using UTP as long as you use the correct media converter. This device is, in fact, often found on Token Ring networks to change between cable types.

In the desktop arena, be sure you have a NIC that matches the bus slot available in your computer, and be sure that a slot is open. Although this sounds obvious, it is amazing how often this is overlooked, often due to inadequate documentation.

We’ll look at how to install a NIC into a computer later in this chapter.

The Print Server

In a typical production network, it is common to find servers with specialized duties, such as database, proxy, and remote access servers. Today, the most common type of specialized server is the print server.

A print server is a centralized device that controls and manages all network printers. The print server can be hardware, software, or a combination.

Some print servers are actually built into the network interface (as is the case with the Hewlett-Packard JetDirect network interface cards).

Print servers do not require as many resources as application servers. Thus, instead of using a new computer for a print server, you might want to consider migrating a current file server to a new machine and then using the older computer as a print server.

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