Making Wireless Printing Easier

By John Taschek  |  Posted 2001-10-15

With all the hype over wireless and the 802.11b WiFi standard, one might think weve evolved beyond the numerous implementation problems with the first rounds of the products. Alas, theres still work to be done.

Take Dlinks DP-313 wireless print server (more on why theres a need for such a device later). Dlinks products are usually inexpensive and fairly easy to set up. With the DP-313, Dlink has made it only halfway there. If all were perfect in the wireless world, it would have been a 5-minute job at the most.

I attempted to set up the DP-313 via an Intel Access Point. The DP-313 has no serial cable and must be managed from a wireless connection, a big problem if the wireless LAN is out of order or nonexistent. The DP-313 also has a static default IP address, which means administrators must change their own IP addresses to be on the same subnet.

In the wired world, this isnt a big deal. With wireless, its a hassle because if the connection doesnt work, there could be a problem with the device or the network.

After a day, I finally got it to work, but that was after installing it with Dlinks wireless cards and access points. In other words, I solved my de-linked network with Dlinks network. Suffice it to say, Dlink should have an option either for the DP-313 to have a DHCP address by default or to put a serial port on the device for easier installation.

Now, why would one want a wireless print server? Theres no better way to set up new mobile field offices—or wireless access stations (think Starbucks) with printers. The DP-313 wireless print server allows easy wireless or wired device access to three printers. At a $279 list ($219 street), the DP-313 is in line with traditional print servers.

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