Wireless router that can connect to a printer and external hard drive?
December 3, 2009 10:23 AM   Subscribe

Please help me find a router to make my parents' lives easier. I am looking for a wireless router that will allow me to connect to a printer and an external hard drive via USB. It doesn’t need to be wireless N (G is fine), but if it’s N it needs to be dual-band. Other than the Apple Airport Extreme with a USB hub attached, what wireless routers can do this? The models from Linksys with Storage Link and D-Link with Shareport seem to be able to connect to either a printer or a USB drive, but not both simultaneously. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated.

I'd like my parents to be able to wirelessly print and back up data to a RAID drive. They run Windows, and while I'll install Bonjour to run the Airport Extreme if necessary, I know they will be a little suspicious about the comptability of Apple products. If the Airport Extreme is the only way to do this, anything you could say that would allow me to reassure them that printing will be seamless with Bonjour would also be appreciated.
posted by Dasein to Computers & Internet (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
The easier solution for this will be to use a router with printer capability, and then purchase an external NAS hard drive (ie one that will connect to the network via ethernet instead of USB.)
posted by davejay at 11:21 AM on December 3, 2009

Response by poster: I'd like to go with a RAID 1 setup; would that be feasible via ethernet and not USB?
posted by Dasein at 11:26 AM on December 3, 2009

Best answer: Yes. My first thought was the same as davejay's. Get something like a DNS-323 (it's what I chose when I was getting such a thing a couple of years ago -- not sure exactly where the state of the art may have gotten to since then) and just attach it to the router by ethernet (and now any router with a USB port and a spare ethernet port will do.)
posted by Zed at 11:35 AM on December 3, 2009

If they have an existing router, but no printer, you can find many printers with wireless capability, if you only have one port on a router.
posted by CharlesV42 at 11:36 AM on December 3, 2009

Response by poster: If I went the route davejay and Zed are suggesting, would you have any recommendation between the Linksys and D-Link router, and any recommendation for alternative RAID 1 setups (the DNS-323 looks quite good)?
posted by Dasein at 11:50 AM on December 3, 2009

I would recommend against finding a router with external USB and just get a NAS. Storage configuration options for routers with external USB are pretty bare. As for printing, you don't need any special hardware to support a wireless printer.

Use any wifi router, and buy a 2-bay NAS. Just confirm that the one you want has RAID1.
posted by wongcorgi at 3:03 PM on December 3, 2009

Response by poster: Thanks for the excellent advice, everyone; you've saved me the cost of a router - I'll just get the DNS-323 or something close to it. Much appreciated.
posted by Dasein at 9:12 AM on December 4, 2009

I'm hurt you didn't just email me man. ;(

The stand alone NAS is indeed the better option.

For future readers.. don't get the Apple unless it's for a network of Mac computers, because they don't mount hard-drives formatted to NTFS (Windows format), so you're stuck to FAT (and not FAT32 with the higher partition size). So if you're using Mac's file system you're good, otherwise no, and there's certainly no RAID.
posted by tiamat at 3:15 PM on December 7, 2009

Response by poster: Maybe if you weren't such a damn hippie.
posted by Dasein at 7:28 PM on December 8, 2009

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