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So, due to the fact I live in the middle of nowhere I have this Virgin Mobile (Sprint) 3G HotSpot that will connect up to 5 devices. I have 4 connected now. On one of the 4 computers, I have a USB/Ethernet printer connected to it, shared with CUPS server, over to the other 3 computers. Problem is, I have to turn this computer on every time I want to print something.. is a pain. I came up with these two ideas… but I am not sure if it will work.

First, since I know the HotSpot works as a USB modem as well, could I somehow get the USB internet connection to a Ethernet LINKSYS wireless router running DD-WRT firmware? The LINKSYS router doesn't have a USB port on it, so I would have to get the USB to Ethernet some how.. Then I could plug the printer in the LINKSYS router via Ethernet.

Secondly, would it possible to get some sort of small wireless to Ethernet card that I could plug the printer's Ethernet into and the card and it would connect the printer to the wireless network that way?

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up vote 1 down vote accepted

All you need is something to connect the printers ethernet to the Wi-Fi.

A simple Wi-Fi router will do this.

You need something like this. Plug the printers ethernet port into it and configure the Edimax device to connect to the 3G hotspot. The actual configuration is a little more complex of course, but is explained - albeit not all that well - in the Edimax documentation.

I'm currently using mine to provide a secondary Wi-Fi network to my house. It connects upstream to my broadband router, this is pretty much the opposite of what you need. The Edimax extender can work in pretty much any way you might want to configure Wi-Fi. Hotspots, extenders, bridges (which is what you need).

As Fabian correctly points out, there are also dedicated devices if you prefer to do it a simpler way. The Edimax extender is a more generic solution and you can reuse the device for other purposes should you no longer need to do printer-to-wifi. But certainly, the dedicated device is easier to use.

In fact, I use an TP-Link USB-to-Ethernet adaptor for my ageing Canon i965 colour inkjet. Not quite the same but a similar principle.

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Oh.. is it really that easy? Can you explain? – seanthewebber Jan 21 '13 at 23:06
Okay, that makes sense. The Edimax does the same thing as this DD-WRT one does… so what setting should I set the router to to connect the Ethernet printer directly to the WiFi IP Network that my 3G card broadcasts? – seanthewebber Jan 21 '13 at 23:17
I think that you want to BRIDGE from the Edimax to the 3G hotspot. That is to say that you want the Edimax to be on the same network. – Julian Knight Jan 21 '13 at 23:21
Thanks Guys :) I got my DD-WRT working for this perfectly :) – seanthewebber Jan 22 '13 at 0:58
@JulianKnight: Bridging won't work without WDS. If it did, what would you need WDS for? He needs either "client bridge" (a confusing name form of MAC NAT) or universal repeater (also a form of NAT). – David Schwartz Jan 22 '13 at 8:40

Question 1:
There is no such thing as an USB to ethernet adapter. There are USB Network cards, but they wont work with your hotspot. So: not possible

Question 2:
There are devices available that can do this. Search for "WLAN Print server".

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These are usb network cards. they need special drivers to work – Fabian Henze Jan 21 '13 at 23:07
Ah, so some care with terminology then for questioners who might not understand the difference when doing a Google search? – Julian Knight Jan 21 '13 at 23:12

You can use a CradlePoint this would allow you to use wifi, USB or Ethernet as a data source allowing you to connect the printer through the network port to share the connection.

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