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Need Recommendation for Printing/Fax Solution for an iMac

Posted on 2016-07-29
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Last Modified: 2016-08-22
Hello,

Earlier this year I purchase an iMac computer for my mother who lives out of state.  I am not much of a Mac person - my experience is limited mostly to iPads.  I am going to visit her next week and want to finish setting up her home office and give her training how to use her computer.  She currently does NOT have a printer or fax machine.  I am looking for advice on a single multi-function machine I can get her that would meet these needs, be easy to use with the Mac, and be easy for her to use.  I have a strong preference for laser over inkjet.  I have purchased many Brother MFCs over the years, but am open to other brands.

There are a few complications.  First, my mother lives in an older home that is not wired for cable and has limited phone jacks.  There are two cable outlets downstairs, one of these is used for their Comcast ISP.  Last year I got them set up with UPB devices so she now has high speed internet in her office (that is located upstairs).  She does not, however, have a phone jack in her office.  The multi-function device I want to get her should be sitting on her desk near her iMac.  I live three time zones away.  Ideally, I should be able to send her a fax any time of day or night and it should print out without her needing to do anything.

My first idea is to find out if there is a UPB like solution that will enable me to add a phone jack in her room via the power lines.  Any suggestions?  My concern is that something like this would interfere with her current UPB that is used for internet access.  Is this a potential issue?

FYI, there is no easy way to physically route a telephone cable to her office.  We would need to cut a lot of holes to get the cable up to the attic and then down to her office.

If a Powerline-like solution will not work, is there some software for the Mac that I can get her that would allow me to send faxes from my end using my Brother MFC without her needing to get involved?  I could set her up with a RingCentral account, but she uses a free email account that is not very secure.  I would not feel comfortable sending her sensitive work docs this way.

Second complication - my mother has an emotional aversion to wifi.  This is why we needed to install a UPB solution for internet access.  I know it is not logical.  When I was there last I showed her 4-6 wifi signals for neighbors that are in her house.  Wifi is not an option.  I don't know what AirPort is.  If I can call it something like Apple Bluetooth, my mom may find it acceptable.

Please let me know if you have any questions.  I leave for my mother's next Wednesday and would like to have a plan in place beforehand.  I may even want to order the devices in advance so they are there when I arrive.  Thank You!!
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Question by:MrChip2
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11 Comments
 
LVL 90

Assisted Solution

by:John Hurst
John Hurst earned 167 total points (awarded by participants)
ID: 41734574
My HP 8610 is an All-in-One printer that includes FAX with a phone line.

The best article for extending phone line connections is below.

http://www-personal.umich.edu/~csev/hng/book/07nowires/

Second complication - my mother has an emotional aversion to Wi-Fi.

So how does she use a smart phone in this office with no connections?
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LVL 28

Assisted Solution

by:jhyiesla
jhyiesla earned 83 total points (awarded by participants)
ID: 41734631
I use an Epson Workforce AIO device that works well with the Mac.  I'm not familiar with the power line thing, so not sure what options you have there. The AIO device can be hooked via USB to the Mac or you can even create an internal only wired network with a switch as another possible solution. The Epson AIO devices work well with the Mac in terms of scanning and the like. If you can get a phone line to there then faxing also won't be an issue. As you point out another possible solution for the faxing is an internet fax service, but your security concerns are valid.

It would probably cost money, but you could have Comcast run a cable on the outside of the home from the junction box where their service comes in and punch a hole thru the outside in the office area. I have that at my home and it works really well. I put my office in what was the formal living room as we had no use for that function and it was the only room in the house without cable or phone. I had both AT&T and Comcast run cables from their respective junction boxes around the outside to that room. Just another option.
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Assisted Solution

by:strung
strung earned 83 total points (awarded by participants)
ID: 41734674
I have had good luck with Brother printers and they have good Mac support and compatibility. I have an MFC 8480DN which connects to the network by ethernet.

With respect to the phone lines, the only thing I can think of is to get her a VOIP fax line  and then you can put the VOIP box upstairs beside the printer and connect it to the internet using the UPB.
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LVL 41

Assisted Solution

by:Jackie Man
Jackie Man earned 167 total points (awarded by participants)
ID: 41737020
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LVL 41

Assisted Solution

by:Jackie Man
Jackie Man earned 167 total points (awarded by participants)
ID: 41737023
If the iMac computer is sitting next to the AIO, just connect the USB cable from the iMac to the AIO.

You need to install a fax line to your mom's office if you want to play around with fax. It is just impossible to troubleshot as you are three timezones away if there is a problem. Staying with old technology will work most of the times.
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Assisted Solution

by:MrChip2
MrChip2 earned 0 total points (awarded by participants)
ID: 41738080
Thank you all for the suggestions.  I will be at my mother's house this Thursday for a week and will post an update late this week or weekend.  I am leaning towards finding someone to install a telephone jack in the room, as I suspect any workaround that runs through her power lines (the only outlets in the room) will interfere with her networking.
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Accepted Solution

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John Hurst earned 167 total points (awarded by participants)
ID: 41738112
Signals through power lines should not interfere with networking if done right. Stringing telephone line is very good. I thought from your first post you had ruled that out.
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Expert Comment

by:jhyiesla
ID: 41757725
While I agree with jackie  man's assertion that there should be enough information to resolve the issue successfully, I believe that my comment above should be included and that Jackie's comment https://www.experts-exchange.com/questions/28960302/Need-Recommendation-for-Printing-Fax-Solution-for-an-iMac.html#a41738080 is basically the same as I had already stated in https://www.experts-exchange.com/questions/28960302/Need-Recommendation-for-Printing-Fax-Solution-for-an-iMac.html#a41734631
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Author Comment

by:MrChip2
ID: 41758117
I am sorry for not replying sooner.  Returned from my mother's house a few days ago and had very limited internet access (note lack of wifi).  All comments were good and I wanted to update all of you on what happened and plan moving forward.  First, we decided to try to have a phone jack installed in her office.  Spent a few days looking for a local contractor to do it.  Then we scheduled the work with AT&T.  All I can say is that working with AT&T is a nightmare.  I think a root canal with a rusty drill and no anesthetics would be more desirable.  Twice appointments were scheduled and they no showed.  Once we were told that a service call was never put in, even though we had a confirmation number.  The second time was yesterday.  My sister re-arranged her work day and waited for 3 hours, then had to go through their terrible phone system to learn the service was scheduled for tomorrow, not yesterday - despite confirmation we had.  So my sister and I have spent several aggravating hours talking to many people at AT&T and wasted two morning waiting for installers.  As a result, we decided to do the following.  There is a phone jack in the room next to my mom's office.  We will put a stand alone fax machine there.  Then we will buy my mom a printer/scanner device for direct USB connect to her iMac.  It is worth it having to pay for two devices than deal with AT&T again.  Maybe they are better in different states, but in Michigan their customer service is horrific.
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