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Over the years, I've had a number of problems in setting up print servers. I'm getting ready to set one up for my grandparents and am hoping to find a super-simple recommendation that I can have them set up.

We have a wired-Ethernet desktop environment and both of their computers will need to be able to print.

Recommendations?

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How about buying a printer that has a built-in print server already? Those are more and more common, and really not pricey anymore. –  marc_s Jul 20 '09 at 11:13
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5 Answers

up vote 2 down vote accepted

I've used the Netgear PS-121 before. It works fine for a simple USB printer. I got it at the local Staples for around $60. Only 3 ports (power, ethernet, USB) none of which can be confused so it should be easy to setup remotely. The provided software should be able to handle discovering the print server on the network. Just make sure you either set a fixed IP on the print server itself or have the router assign it a static IP. I prefer the latter.

If your grandparents have trouble you can always wait for the weekend and do remote assistance via Fogcreek Copilot for free.

Netgear PS-121

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I also found this Ethernet to 2 x USB while searching - addonics.com/products/nas/nas2xu2.asp. One can be used for a printer and the other some some cheap network storage. And using Fogcreek Copilot on the weekends to help others works well. –  Bratch Apr 6 '10 at 14:31
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I use a usb printer plugged into an Apple airport express, it works brilliantly, and is very, very simple.

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A 4-in-1 FAX, Printer, Scanner, and Copier with an Ethernet port can be purchased for ~$150 on sale. Very tight foot-print for all that functionality with many functions that just work even without a computer.

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I've got a TrendNet single port server. It's not terribly user friendly, but it does seem to "just work".

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The above answer is a good suggestion indeed. The only problem is that not all access points come with their own USB print servers built in.

I would recommend a wireless print server like the one located at the link below. This will allow you to not only print wirelessly, but it also allows you to place the printer anywhere you care to. No longer are you limited by the length of a USB or parallel cable.

http://superuser.com/questions/1241/must-have-windows-software/8903#8903

they make both USB and Parallel versions.

If this is over kill and you do not care about keeping the printer near the AP, then I would recommend just a plain old cat5 stand alone print server connected to a port on the access point. It will still work without wires in that config.

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