By October 31, 2013

Lantronix xPrintServer review

Lantronix xPrintServer review - iOS printingIf you want to print from your iOS device you’ll typically need a printer that supports AirPrint. AirPrint was introduced some time ago as part of iOS 4.2. Despite it being around for a while, AirPrint has not found its way in to many printers.

So if you have an existing printer that doesn’t support AirPrint but you don’t want to replace it, your options are somewhat limited. That’s Lantronix xPrintServer comes in. This small box simply plugs in to your existing network and provides AirPrint capability to virtually any existing printer.

It really is plug and play but before we get in to any of the detail, have a look at the unboxing video below to see what you get.

Lantronix xPrintServer review

The xPrintServer that I have here is the home edition. This supports up to 8 USB printers and 2 Network printers whereas the Office version supports unlimited network printers.

The box itself is no bigger than an iPhone so is easy to hide away behind the printer it’s connected to or somewhere near your router.

Setup really does take just a matter of minutes. First connect the xPrintServer to your network and optionally to the USB on your printer. Then plug in the power and wait for the unit to start up. For a minute or two the red ‘X’ on top of the unit will flash while it searches for connected printers. Once it’s all done the red light will throb to indicate that it’s ready.

You can now print from iOS!

From any iOS device that’s connected to the SAME network as the xPrintServer you’ll see a list of available printers when you chose to print from an application.

If like me, you have more printers on your network that are supported by the home edition (see below) only two of those printers will be available for printing.

List of available printers.

List of available printers.

Luckily, the xPrintServer has a decent control panel that’s accessible from any web browser and this allows us to chose which printers to make available. In my case, with the xPrintServer Home version, I can only have two network printers set up at one time. So from the management interface we simply remove those printers that we do not want.

xPrintServer Admin Interface

xPrintServer Admin Interface

There are other options and settings that can be adjusted in the admin interface including a useful test print feature and a firmware update tool.

One thing to note here. If you are using iOS 7.0 or above, you’ll need to ensure that you are using xPrintServer firmware version 3.2.0-2 or higher. Fortunately there is a very good guide on updating the firware of the xPrintServer on the Lantronix Website.

 

xPrintServer Family Feature Comparison
Key Features xPrintServer
Home
xPrintServer
Office
USB Printers Supported X
(Up-to 8†)
X
(Up-to 8†)
Network Printers Supported
(Including wireless printers)
X
(Up-to 2)
X
(Unlimited‡)
USB Printer Sharing Over Network
(for Mac & PCs)
X X
10/100 Ethernet X X
Printer User Management   X
Proxy Server/Port   X
Firmware/Driver Loading
via USB Port
  X
Configuration Save/Restore   X
Remote Authentication Active Directory   X
Price $99.95 $199.95

 

Why the xPrintServer?

  • Print to virtually any printer / no need to a buy new printer
  • No apps or software to buy or load
  • Easy to use / automatic discovery and set up of printers
  • Print directly from the iOS native menu
  • Advanced configurations via web interface
  • One xPrintServer supports multiple printers & virtually unlimited iOS devices

Conclusion

Well this really is a short and sweet review but the Lantronix xPrintServer is so simple to set up and use that there isn’t much more to say. Once it’s installed you can just forget about it and it does exactly what it’s supposed to do without any fuss at all.

If you are looking to add the ability to print from your iOS device but don’t want to splash the cash replacing your perfectly good printers then the Lantronix xPrintServer is definitely worth adding to your link. If however, you have a large network to manage then Managed Print Services may be a better and more scalable option.

 

About the Author:

More than 20 years in the IT industry. Blogging with a passion and thirst for new technology since 2005.
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