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Linksys WPS54G Wireless Print Server

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When we built our current digs, we had conduits buried in the walls to allow for all the cables and connectors that computers invariably need to communicate with each other, and with their innumerable peripheral devices. To date, not one of the outlet boxes for the conduit network has proven to be where it was needed.

Wireless print servers are designed to address instances of demonically poor planning such as ours. Assuming that some or all of your internal network runs on a wireless router – or that you’re prepared to blow fifty dollars on a new router to avoid having to duct-tape cables to your floor – you can locate your printer anywhere you like, subject only to the availability of electric power.

A wireless print server will also allow everyone on your network to share the printer connected to it.

The Linksys WPS54G wireless print server is arguably one of the more reliable of these devices – we’ve encountered several really cheap ones that required a toll-free number for God and an eight pound hammer to get them running satisfactorily. The Linksys server gets by with a very much smaller hammer.

Setting up the WPS54G isn’t as effortless as one might wish. To begin with, while it’s wireless in use, you’ll probably need to connect it to a computer with an Ethernet cable to configure it – probably entailing reconfiguring the network connection for your computer – and then restart it to make it communicate with your network. None of the procedures involved in doing so is likely to cause you permanent brain injury, but it’s a lot of clicking to deal with an installation that seems as if it should be a great deal simpler.

Once you get the print server configured and secure, you can communicate with it using a web interface. The web interface is reasonably intuitive as these things go. You’ll probably find that some of its screens are sufficiently thick with network obscurities and other mysterious elements as to make you want to leave them alone.

The Linksys driver that ships with the WPS54G is easy to install and get on line as long as nothing goes wrong – it’s pretty inscruitable if your wireless print server doesn’t perform correctly the first time, as it offers few diagnostics.

The facility for locating your printer anywhere you like and making your colleagues or your family believe you have omniscient foresight is arguably worth both the cost and the setup issues of the WPS54G. Once it’s up and running, its indistinguishable from a wired connection, save that it has a cool antenna.