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2 USB printers, 3 networked computers

I am sure this is a frequent scenario.
I have 3 networked workstation PC´s running XP pro.
Also I have 2 USB port printers, one laser workhorse and another photo quality inkjet.
I also have a USB scanner but I guess that what I want to do is not possible with the scanner.

Each PC is basically stand alone and I sync files daily. Basically my business does not warrant the time or the need to have a server. Besides the learning curve is something that I would like to avoid. Anyway, thats not the point of my question.

What I would like to be able to do is print (and great if I can scan) to any of the machines.
Currently I have one "main" PC that has the 2 printers and the scanner connected, the printers being shared.
Therefore, if I want to print I always need to have the main machine switched on.

Is it possible to connect a USB print srver to the network and and then connect the (normally one) USB out from the print server to a USB hub and connect the 2 printers to the hub?
Would be great if the scanner could also be connected to the USB hub.
I realise that I would have to install the printer drivers on all machines but I do not see this a bid deal.

Thanks
Dave
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Muskett
Asked:
Muskett
1 Solution
 
CallandorCommented:
What you're looking for is a print server, like this: http://www.dlink.com/products/?pid=166
You may need two, because I haven't seen print servers with two USB ports, though they may exist.  You basically set them up as TCP/IP printers on each computer, and you hook them up to your existing network.  Any one of the computers can print to any of the printers, and only the computers in use need to be turned on.  I don't think you can get the scanner to work this way, because it requires a computer to be attached to it for running the scanning software.
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xemaCommented:
The printer sharing can be done;
You need to buy an external print server, as for the scanner I'm not so sure, an HP printserver advertised that you'll be able to aquire imagenes from an HP scanner, so it may be posible but yu'll need to do some research

Here are several links for external  print servers

http://www.linksys.com/products/product.asp?prid=580&scid=32

http://www.dealtime.com/xPF-Trendware_PRINT_SERVER_2PORT_USB_1PORT_PARALLEL_10_100

http://www.dealtime.com/xPF-Hawking_2_USB_1_Parallel_Internet_Print_Server_PS12U
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irjeffbCommented:
You'll need two print servers.  Try an hp JetDirect 175x.  You give the JetDirect an IP Address, then set up the printer on each PC as a LOCAL printer on a TCP/IP port.

Note that it is not installed as a NETWORK printer on the PC.  Local vs. Network refers to the location of the spool, not the location of the printer (many get confused on this).
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OliWarnerCommented:
Another scanner server...
http://www.dabs.com/uk/productview?quicklinx=2Z5Z

But one thing you'll notice about the scanner servers: they're VERY expensive... It'd be cheaper to give each workstation a scanner!


If you're not into this whole "spending money" thing, you can leave the printers plugged into a PC and set windows up to share that printer so other PC's can access it... Otherwise get a couple of those little USB only print servers...
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tj_deusCommented:
I recommend that you share your printers and the scanner over the network, you can set each computer up to accept the print capabilities of any or all of your printers, such as you may need in Word, or a Graphics program like Adobe Photoshop.  The computer that has the printers and scanner attached would need to be turned on in order to be used, but it would avoid the expensive overhead of network printing using print servers.
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tj_deusCommented:
You can set up these printers over the network by going into your Control Panel settings and selecting Printers and Faxes(Win XP).  Add a new printer, use a network printer and browse for it.  You can then access them from any program on any computer.
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MuskettAuthor Commented:
Thanks all for your comments,
XEMA pointed me to the Keyspan device which is exactly what I want and a reasonable price at $125. I can even extend the capabilities by adding a WiFi extender so it can be placed anywhere within range.

ir jeffb made a very good point that I am sure many did not know, anyone sharing printers take note!
Sorry tj_dues, you did not read my question, your suggestion is my current set up!

Cheers all
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