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Print Server?


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I have 3 computers sharing 3 printers (laser printer, photo printer, and general purpose inkjet). Currently I have to swap USB cables each time I want to print to a specific printer-computer combination. I don't want to do that any more.

 

I know "print servers" exist but I don't exactly know how they work. I think they attach to my network but I'm not sure. Is a print server an economical answer for what I need or are there other alternatives out there?

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Possibly, but most widely available consumer servers only connect to one printer, two at most. Depending on brand, they can also be a bit finicky in their compatibility with different printers and types (for example, photo printers and fax/scanner/printer all-in-one devices.)

 

If I were you, I might consider turning one of my machines into an all-purpose network server, or build a separate el cheapo box for the job. That way, you could share all three printers on the network (assuming your server had three USB ports) and also have file-server compatibility, media storage, etc. Just an idea.

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Why not hook all the printers to one PC, share each printer on the network, and add each networked printer to the other computers?

 

I've got a Laser B&W hooked to my PC, a color inkjet (currently out of ink) hooked to my wife's PC. Just share 'em on the network and install the networked printer on each computer.

 

The only issue you hit is that the PC with the printers attached has to be on.

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Oh yeah man, they rock. We've had one on our home network for years.

 

Our latest setup is to have a D-Link router and then the D-Link print server hooked up (via one of the ethernet cables) to the router. Typically you download a little program to each computer to allow it to recognize the D-Link router as a printer option, then any printer hooked into the server is usable. For us it works like a charm, go snag one. The router and server are even the same size and stack (snap) together.

 

We have this one, but there are several varieties (you would want one with more USB lines I'm sure):

 

http://www.dlink.com/products/?sec=1&pid=166

 

But yeah man, they are a snap to setup and use (and they work great.) Try one out...

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