While “wired” hardware print servers have been popular for some time, wireless alternatives are gaining popularity, and fast. A wireless print server still does everything that you would expect from a print server, but adds an additional layer of flexibility by removing the need for a cabled network connection. As such, you can locate a wireless print server anywhere in your home or office that’s within range of your router or access point. Once connected to a wireless print server, a printer effectively becomes another untethered device on your wireless network.
Although a wireless print server is the obvious choice for a wireless network, these devices are typically much more expensive than their wired cousins, at least for the time being. However, wireless print servers do come in all shapes and sizes, and you should be able to find one that fits into your budget. Some models plug directly into your printer, while others are hub-like devices that allow you to connect two or more printers. If you’re looking to save some money, consider investing in a wireless router that includes an integrated USB print server. These devices allow you to plug your USB printer directly into your router, and save you the hassle of needing to purchase or deal with yet another piece of hardware.
Finally, be sure that any wireless print server you purchase will be compatible with your network. If you’ve implemented WPA security, then you’ll want a model that goes beyond just WEP support. Regardless of the model you choose, ensure that it supports firmware upgrades, if for no other reason but to protect your investment as the new wireless features and standards come on to the scene.