ZebraNet 10/100 Changing Parallel Port Communications Mode  

Affected Products:

All External 10/100 Print Servers

Internal 10/100 Print Servers on all Xi III Plus Series, Pax4 Series, 105SL, ZxM Plus, S4M,  and R110Xi & 170Xi.

(The Internal 10/100 on the ZMx00 Series does not use the parallel port.)


The Zebra Print Server 10/100 supports 4 different modes of parallel communications.

Note: The printer and print server negotiate a parallel port mode at start up. By default, they will try and negotiate the highest mode possible. What that highest mode is depends on the printers capabilities. If the selected mode is not supported, the print server will use the highest performance mode possible.

You can force the mode by choosing a mode and then resetting the print server. Note that not all printers support all modes.

You can also enable or disable Zebra Link.


The 4 modes are:

Parallel Port Mode:

1. Compatibility - the print server acts like a parallel port when it's defined as a "printer port" on a PC. No bidirectional capabilities

2. Nibble - Data is sent in "nibbles" A "nibble" contains four bits. Offers bi-directional communications.

3. Byte - Data is sent in byte chunks. Offers bi-directional communications.

4. ECP - used to support ECP mode as offered on the XiIII+, ZxM+ and S4M printers. Offers higher speed communication than Nibble or Byte, with bi-directional communications.

5. Card Printer - a proprietary mode supported only on the card printers.

Zebra Link Mode:

Zebra Link is considered Viewing IP settings on the LCD, Printer Alerts,  Printer Management via ZebraNet Bridge and Printer Web Pages.

Enabled 1284.4 or Disabled 1284.4

Zebra Link allows the printer and printer server to communicate.  This does create some overhead.

If you are experiencing throughput issues it is recommended to disable Zebra Link to see if performance improves.

Feature Matrix:


Feature: Printer Web Pages ZebraNet Bridge View IP setting on LCD Printer Alerts Printer responds to query from Host i.e. ~HS Comments regarding throughput:
Zebra Link Enabled            
ECP Mode Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes  
Compatibility Mode No No No No No Should only be used with Zebra Link Disabled
Nibble Mode Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes  
Byte Mode Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes  
Zebra Link Disabled           Disabling Zebra Link can result in faster throughput
ECP Mode No No No No Yes ECP/Nibble are equal
Compatibility Mode No No No No No Best throughput available
Nibble Mode No No No No Yes ECP/Nibble are equal
Byte Mode No No No No Yes Slowest of the choices



The modes can be changed from Telnet or WebView.


1. Telnet to Print Server's IP address from DOS/command line.  i.e. C:\  telnet x.x.x.x 

2. Log in with your password.  The default is 1234.

3. Select option 6, Configure Port.

4. To change Parallel Port Mode Choose option 1.  To change Zebra Link mode choose option 2.

5. If you chose Option 1. Configure Parallel Port Mode you will see the following options.


6. If you chose Option 2. Configure Zebra Link you will see the following options.

7.  After making changes, press Enter until  you are prompted to save your changes by choosing  Y or N. 


1. Go to the Print Server's Configuration page.

2. Select Output Port Configuration.

3. From here you can configure port as needed.

Last Updated 02/13/2004

Notice: Zebra Technologies Corporation makes no representations about the suitability of this documentation for any purpose. It is provided "as is", for your information only, without warranty of any kind, either expressed or implied, including, but not limited to, implied warranties of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose and non-infringement.