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print server vs network ready printer?

Discussion in 'Networking' started by moejoe, Nov 6, 2007.

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  1. moejoe

    moejoe Thread Starter

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    Just joined this site 4 minutes ago, so forgive me if I'm asking the same question that has been raised a gazillion times before. I've looked at a relevant thread, but it didn't quite answer my question.. Here's my situation, for anyone who might offer advice.
    We have two laptops with wireless cards, a pc with a wireless compact USB adaptor, an old but working HP Photosmart printer (USB cable), and a Linksys wireless-G router with Speedbooster connection to the internet for the whole shabang. I want to buy a four-in-one printer (looking at the cheap option of a refurbished Brother 5440CN flatbed) mostly to have scanner and fax capabilities, and would love to be able to put it wherever, and have all the various computers print from that machine, without cables and the hassle of toting machines here and there. That particular four-in-one is "network ready" - but I'm realizing that I'm not entirely clear what that means. . Is the "network ready" printer ready to do what I need it to do - can I (somehow - via software?) get it configured on my network so that it will respond to each of the computers? OR do I also need to buy a print server, and if so, what kind? And if so, wired or wireless, and what does it matter? And which models support the best security (WPA)? Thanks for considering this.
     
  2. leroys1000

    leroys1000 Banned

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    Network ready usually means a wired network,so the printer would need to be
    close to a computer or the router to be able to connect the cable.
    A wireless print server would eliminate the need to have it that close.
    A wep capable wireless server would offer decent security.
     
  3. moejoe

    moejoe Thread Starter

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    So can I connect the printer to the existing wireless-g router via ethernet (or USB?) cable?
     
  4. TerryNet

    TerryNet Moderator

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    Network ready could include wireless, but usually means just ethernet. It connects directly to a LAN port on the router, and all its functions can then be used independently by any computer connected (wired or wireless) to the same router. This is the best way to go unless you cannot locate the multifunction printer near the router.

    If you are talking about http://www.overstock.com/Electronic...-Fax-Copy/2507078/product.html?cid=25608&fp=F it connects via ethernet to the router (or by USB to a computer).
     
  5. moejoe

    moejoe Thread Starter

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    Thank you. Interesting. Yes it is that machine, but I found it elsewhere and very cheap(refurbished). So if I locate the router near the multifunction printer and connect via LAN port, it sounds like I'll be all set.
     
  6. jmwills

    jmwills

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    Whatever you do, upgrade that WEP to WPA.
     
  7. moejoe

    moejoe Thread Starter

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    Your comment is well-taken. I do want to make sure the whole network is the most secure it can be, and I understand that WPA is then better. So if my router is WPA, then if the multifunction printer is wired to it, does that suffice? Or do I have to do something else to "upgrade" the printer to that level of protection... and if so, what?
     
  8. JohnWill

    JohnWill Retired Moderator

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    Sorry, I have to disagree. WEP offers minimal security, and is easily defeated in minutes with tools readily available on the Internet.
     
  9. JohnWill

    JohnWill Retired Moderator

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    If the printer is wired, it doesn't have any security considerations. If you're configured for WPA with a strong and random key, you are quite secure. I suggest NOT using WEP, which is not a good choice.
     
  10. leroys1000

    leroys1000 Banned

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    Sorry,got my wep/wpa mixed up.
     
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