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Is there an automatic USB switch to allow two computers to share a USB Printer?

Posted on 2016-09-16
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This location has two separate networks, one for office work, and the other network is a Point of Sale system.
They would like a computer from each network to share a USB printer.

Is there a smart USB switch that would enable this?

Thanks.
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Question by:computerlarry
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8 Comments
 
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by:
Laroy Shtotland earned 1200 total points
ID: 41802401
Maybe you could try to combine this device https://www.iogear.com/product/GUB211/ with 2 print servers, but I'm not sure if it works. I can't remember any print server with 2 NICs. So the easiest way is to use any PC with 2 NICs connected to both networks as a print server, if you router doesn't have a built in print server.
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by:Kaffiend
Kaffiend earned 100 total points
ID: 41802402
These kinds of things exist.

Didn't work very well for me, though.  YMMV
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by:Dr. Klahn
Dr. Klahn earned 200 total points
ID: 41802407
Kaffiend is correct.  While these things exists, my experience is that they don't work well for printers.

If machine A "has" the printer and machine B tries to print, machine B sets the printer offline and complains about it.  Vice versa also applies.

Some printer drivers talk to the printer even when it's not in use.  Again, printer gets set offline, computer complains.

imo, printers are doggone cheap, well under $100 for an inkjet (less at the Canon and Epson online outlet stores.)  Rather than spend $65 on a USB switch that will "sort-of" work, spend $50 on another printer and solve the issue easily.
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by:rindi
rindi earned 100 total points
ID: 41802420
Get a network printer. Many printers already have an ethernet NIC or wireless NIC built-in. Much  better than USB.
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Expert Comment

by:Dr. Klahn
ID: 41802422
I think the questioner asked about USB because he doesn't want to bridge his (presumably secure, without internet access) POS network to his (presumably insecure, with internet access) general use network.   This would seem a reasonable security precaution.  Otherwise a network printer would surely solve the issue.
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by:Network Zero
Network Zero earned 100 total points
ID: 41802477
Ok so this a tricky one and I get asked about this all the time. But since we work in Technology anything is possible.

If networking is out of the question then the only thing I can think of something new* Remote-USB.

I downloaded this program Flexi HUB. http://www.flexihub.com/download.html

I was able to print a paper from my GF's laptop in NJ to my computer in NY. I didn't even have to install the printer drivers on her PC. We have both have windows 10 by the way.

I did have to make one account - You can only use USB on one computer at a time* so you will have to lock and unlock the printer but it works :)
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by:Laroy Shtotland
Laroy Shtotland earned 1200 total points
ID: 41802497
Well, the question was about a hardware solution. For a software solution there is an open-source USB/IP Project http://usbip.sourceforge.net/
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by:PeteVfi
PeteVfi earned 300 total points
ID: 41803027
OK, have been working in the near past on few cases with 2-port USB 2.0 peripheral switches, mostly for printers' just on POS/Office environments. Might sound somehow old-fashioned, but been working well anyway on Windows 7 machines, do not know the present possible operating status of them on Windows 8/10.

There has been two different types of switches, software driven and physical switch driven. The first one has been Belkin F1U201, and the second one Aten US221A, some day priced maybe somewhere on the $50 level.  Have even some leftovers', but probably too far away in the most Northern Europe ...
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