Need a home print server
August 20, 2008 9:54 AM   Subscribe

Need a recommendation for a specific printer server for home use.

The house is setup with a couple desktops (XP and Linux) and a couple laptops (Vista and OSX) and standard router/WiFi/cable modem setup. I don't want to share the printer from one machine because they aren't all always on. I want to hook my crappy Canon print up to the router and just leave it on so whatever machine is on can print. The printer has both USB and parallel cable hookups. It is not critically important that the Linux machine be able to print. However it must be able to work with both OSX and Windows.

Can anyone recommend a specific print server to get? The only other requirement is that it be cheap. I found a couple on newegg, but don't have any experience with them.
posted by bytewrite to Computers & Internet (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
If you don't mind leaving one of the machines on all the time, it would probably be cheapest/easiest just to plug it into one of them and use Samba to share it on the network.
posted by sinfony at 10:05 AM on August 20, 2008

Agreed with sinfony. Alternately, you could get the 802.11g version of the Airport Express for about $70, and get Airtunes and a wireless range extender at the same time.
posted by suedehead at 10:55 AM on August 20, 2008

Just a warning, my experience is that it is a pain in the ass to use dedicated print servers with XP and Vista. You'll often have to direct connect the printer to the computer first and then go in later and change the connection info. With Vista, it has been easier to get things set up, but then things stop working.
posted by Good Brain at 11:06 AM on August 20, 2008

I have used one of THESE for a few years now. As long as your clients can print to IP and there are drivers available for your printer, you should be all set.
There are wireless options that do pretty much the same thing.
posted by a3matrix at 11:07 AM on August 20, 2008

I used to have one of the devices that a3matrix talked about. I upgraded to a NetGear WGPS606 that plays pretty nicely with my Linksys router. It was annoying to set up, but once it's done, it works wonders.
posted by EastCoastBias at 11:18 AM on August 20, 2008

I have an HP Photosmart 8450. Plugs directly into my (basic wireless) router via network cable. All my computers can print to it without problem. IMHO you don't need a print server, just a decent printer that can be networked.
posted by hungrysquirrels at 11:51 AM on August 20, 2008

ditto suedehead: we've been using an Airport Express for exactly your situation for a few years now. Well, almost exactly -- we have an XP desktop and three Macs running Leopard and Tiger, but no Linux boxes. I found setup to be a piece of cake in OS X (unsurprisingly), and fairly straightforward in XP with the help of the AE manual.
posted by harkin banks at 2:39 PM on August 20, 2008

I used a Netgear PS121 for years. When its AC adapter failed two years ago, I bought a D-Link DP-301U. It has some additional features, but was more of a pain to install (because DHCP isn't turned on out of the box.) Either can be had on eBay for ~$20. Check the manufactuer's site for sure compatibility with your Canon, but you'd likely be set with either one.

Dell's V305w is on sale right now for $69 shipped, if you wanted to go dead simple.
posted by at 11:39 PM on August 20, 2008

Whoops, no Mac driver currently on that V305w.
posted by at 11:49 PM on August 20, 2008

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