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Published on November 27th, 2012 | by Greg

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xPrint Server Home: Print From Your iOS Device

We print quite a bit, usually from our Macs and PCs. But every so often, we want to print directly from our iPhone or iPad and our current printer doesn’t support Apple AirPrint. Many printers don’t, and there are workarounds- our office laser printer is network-connected, so we can email the document or photo to a PC and then send it along. But if we didn’t have other computers handy, we’d be in trouble. And for those who don’t want to have a bunch of intermediate steps, there is a solution that doesn’t require replacing your printer.

The answer: Lantronix and their xPrinterServer Home Edition. This is a device that solves a specific problem, and does it well- there aren’t a lot of bells and whistles or extra features. In fact, there aren’t any buttons at all on the unit itself- just an ethernet port, USB port, and power jack. Plug the fairly small, compact device directly into your router, and it finds your printer and serves as the go-between. There is some setup necessary, but mostly it works well, and a wide variety of printers are supported. Not everything though, and we definitely recommend checking the compatibility list before purchasing.

Also, you’ll need an open port on your router. We didn’t have one, in fact, so needed to grab an ethernet hub. The OSX install was simple, but our PC Windows machines we had to install Bonjour software. Configuration takes a few minutes, and there are a couple of tricky codes buried in the manual, but even a novice should be able to get through it with only a little bit of head-scratching.

The cost is a bit high, though, considering that some decent printers that support AirPrint are actually around the same cost. We have a few Epson printers handy, and some of their recent models that didn’t offer support initially now can handle AirPrinting if you download and update the firmware on the printer. The XP-800, which we’ll be posting on shortly, has it built-in. But if yours does not, and you need to print from an iOS device, now you can- with no apps or necessary. Under $100, and available widely now.

And check out the video below if you’re wondering why you might need this nifty gadget.

 

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About the Author

Greg dreamed up the idea for the Truly Network while living in Hawaii, which began with a single site called TrulyObscure. In 2010, when advertisers and readers were requesting coverage beyond the scope of that site, TrulyNet was launched, reaching a broader audience over a variety of niche sites. Formerly the head technology correspondent for the Des Moines Register at age 16, he has since lived and worked in five states and two countries, helping a list of organizations and companies that includes the United States Census Bureau, TripAdvisor, Events Photo Group, Berlitz, and Computer Geeks. He also served as the Content Strategy Manager for HearPlanet, a multi-platform app that has reached over a million users and has been featured in the New York Times, Hemispheres Magazine, National Geographic Adventure, Fox Business News, PC Magazine, and even Apple’s own iPhone ads. Greg has written as a restaurant critic and feature journalist for a number of national and international publications, including City Weekend Magazine, Red Egg Magazine, the Newton Daily News, Capital Change Magazine, and an arm of China Daily, Beijing Weekend. In addition, he has served as a consulting editor for the Foreign Language Press of Beijing, as well as a writer and editor for the George Washington University Hatchet, the school newspaper of his alma mater. Originally from Iowa, Greg is currently living in the West Village of Manhattan.



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