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Wireless print servers


2007/06/07

I needed a print server for a customer last month, so I stopped by Staples to pick one up. To my surprise all they had was wireless USB models. I understand that almost everything is USB nowadays, and that the home market is saturated with wireless, but is there so little demand left for wired and Centronics printers that they really can stock none of that? I guess so.. I had to order what I needed on-line.

Last week one of my neighbors called wanting to "go wireless". I walked over and found that he had everything he needed - his ISP provided firewall/router was already wireless, and so was his PC. The only thing I did was put a better password on the router and set security. I did notice that he had two printers connected, and told him he'd need a print server if he truly wanted to roam freely. He said he'd pick one up.

He called today and I again walked over to find a Netgear WGPS506. Apparently that's an older model; I couldn't even find it on-line. Or maybe I've remembered it badly: I do find WGPS606 and the picture and specs look the same.

I had an awful time making this thing work. The setup program just would not detect the unit. I tried resetting it (hold the little paper clip button in for 10 seconds), but no luck. I read in the PDF manual that it has a default address of 192.168.0.4, so I programmed the PC's nic to 192.168.0.1 and was able to connect to the print server's web interface. I manually set the wireless info, and then returned to the setup program, telling it that I just wanted to add a new printer rather then going through the whole setup. It liked this, and configured the rest easily.

However, I couldn't get it to work with any security set. During the setup I had disabled that, allowing anything to connect. Now that it was working, I wanted to add it back. No luck: it would only work with security disabled entirely. That's not completely outrageous: this guy is a good distance from anyone else. I'm probably his closest neighbor, and the signal is too weak for me to connect, Still, I don't like leaving it wide open like that. It's like leaving your doors unlocked: in this neighborhood, that's probably perfectly safe, but it would still bother me. I explained the problem to him and offered to spend more time on it, but he decided to let it go.

Trouble is, I feel vaguely guilty. I could drive around this community and probably find several dozen wide open networks, but it just eats at me. Every other one I've setup here is protected, I don't like leaving this open.

I'm going to give him a call and see if he'll let me play with it a little more.. it's just not right!

Tony Lawrence 2007-06-07 Rating: 3.5



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© Anthony Lawrence







Thu Jun 7 12:44:01 2007: 3021   MikeHostetler




I'm glad your neighbor was prepared when you came over. I got a phone
call from my brother-in-law last week. He was telling me about his
new MacBook that he bought that day but said that the wireless wasn't
working. I asked him if he had a wireless router and his answer was:
"I didn't know I needed one of those."

<shudder>


BTW, I hate printers and they tend to hate me. USB, Centronics,
serial, wireless, it doesn't matter. They are always a bitch for me
to get working.





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