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Yeah, everybody now has at least one laptop in their family.
So, has everyone ran out and bought a wireless enabled printer?
The problem is, unless you do, you have to manually go up and connect
to the printer .
Well, I already had a perfectly functional printer, and it wasn't even
a year old.
The price of wireless enabled printers hasn't really came down all that
much either, so what to do?
You have the option of the wireless enabled printer, a router
with built in print server,
a totally wireless print server, or a print server that connects
to an existing router via ethernet.
Hope I've managed most of the common options......
My option was to search the internet for reliable print servers and
Then, a visit to E-Bay for comparison to see what I could find.
I found a second hand Netgear PS121 (including postage) for well under
This is a deceptively simple piece of kit.
Above, you can see the ports for the power (comes with its own supply),
and the ethernet.
I didn't get an ethernet cable with mine, but a quick visit to a local
computer shop got me one for a couple of quid.
Alongside the ports, it is possible to make out the small hole to stick
a pin into to complete an overall reset of the unit.
On top of the unit, there are two indicators, one for power, the other
to show status.
My unit came with the CD, but you can easily download the manual and
any files required from the Netgear
Since I run a dual boot system, I installed the server on both Linux and windows.
As you may expect, it isn't exactly hard to do as Netgear makes the
settings similar to their router page.
The netgear uses a default of 192.168.0.245 as the url for the
Here's the status page.
Power it up , plug it into the router and off we go.
The settings pages are simple and easy
to figure out.
Remember to set a password, preferably one you can remember.
As with their router, help text is provided on the right hand side of
If the address doesn't suit , or you are using a different address from
the normal netgear ones, change them in the TCP/IP page.
That's it for the configuration, now for the computer.
I won't bother showing how to set up the printer, suffice to say, tell the computer
where the printer resides (192.168.0.245 in this case),
tell it the port it uses (9100), make sure your firewall allows it
through and give it the driver file.
It isn't greatly different under windows.
So, what does it mean for you?
Well, it means you can print wherever you are in the house as long as
the printer and router are on.
If it's like mine, both are always on!
More than one user can print as it queues the files.
The only downside is that your laptop/computer can't monitor ink levels.
It will tell you if the printer is unavailable, but you have to go see
So far, I haven't had any problems with the server, and it has printed
faithfully for me from all the systems in the house.
A highly reliable piece of hardware which helps make life simpler.
Highly recommended for all those who use a laptop sitting on their lap
and would like to print out a document.