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-- Actiontec Wireless 54Mbps Printer Server
-- Category: Review
-- Posted by: GideonX
-- Posted on: 2005-04-23
-- Price: ~ $129.00 USD
-- Pages: 1 [ 2 ]
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I will be testing this on a network with a Linksys WRT54G 54Mbps router/wap running Sveasoft Alchemy firmware. SSID broadcast is disabled, MAC filtering is enabled to permit only and encryption has been disabled. The Actiontec supports encryption at 64 and 128-bit WEP, which in my opinion, is about as secure as leaving it wide open. WPA encryption would have been a better choice.

Before I set this printer server up, I added the MAC address of the unit to the allowed list in my Linksys wireless router. DHCP static addressing was also setup on the router to give this print server the same IP all the time.

The setup guide is pretty simple to follow through. The initial setup requires you to connect the wireless printer server to an existing computer through the use of an ethernet cable. This cable is not included in the packaging. Personally, it should have been as it is essential to the installation of the unit. Maybe Actiontec will include this in future versions.

First step to setting this up is to get an ethernet cable and plug it into the LAN port on the back of the printer server. Connect the other end of the cable to your computer. Then plug the power cord into the back of the unit. The lights should cycle and the power and LAN LED should stay on solid.

Next, find the CD and insert it into your drive. Please note, the only supported operating systems currently is Windows 98SE, Me, 2000 and XP. MAC and Linux support are not yet available.

Click on "install Print Server Manager' and follow the directions. It will ask for your IP address you may want to use, what SSID to connect to and other information. Answer the questions according to your network setup. You will also be given the option to give your printer server an alias, I chose 'HPrint' to keep it short and simple.

Once the printer server software has completed the process, you will have to remove the ethernet cable from the LAN port and your computer. Power down the unit and connect your printer to the printer server. I will be using a Samsung SCX-4100 multifunction laser printer with USB support. I plugged the USB cable that was originally plugged into my test rig, into the USB port labeled P3.

After power on the unit, I went back to my rig and checked the printer properties. You have to make sure to use the correct port you connected the printer to. Select the correct port and click 'Ok'.

The setup guide never explained this part of the install process. What do you do with your other computers on the network? After a bit of messing around, I figured you need to take the CD and install the 'Client' software on any computer you want to have access to the shared printer. Make sure to check the properties as shown in the above picture with each computer to make sure it is using the correct port.

You can now proceed to print just like any shared printer. One thing I noticed is that if you power down your printer and power it back up later, the shared printer will appear offline. The only way to fix it is to reboot the printer server and the printer. So I just leave my printer on power save all the time.

Overall, the wireless printer server is quite a useful device. What I used to have to do to print from my main rig was to power on my test rig and then the printer. The test rig had the laser printer shared on it, so that was the only way to get a document printed. With this unit, the printer can be on by itself without the test rig being on.

The unit probably would have worked fine if it was 802.11b, but the 54Mpbs is just icing on the cake. Hopefully future packages will include an ethernet cable.

Thanks to Actiontec for sending over this sample!



Pros:

  • 54Mbps speed
  • Easy setup software
  • No need for a host computer to on to share a printer


Cons:

  • No ethernet cable included
  • Instructions did not explain how to setup additional computers
  • This will ONLY work if you have a wireless network already set up

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