[nSLUG] Home router advice? (USB->Centronics print service)

Rich budman85 at eastlink.ca
Fri Jan 5 01:50:43 AST 2007

On Thu, 2007-01-04 at 17:45 -0400, Mike wrote:
> Can anyone suggest a wireless/cable router cum print server that is
> known to work with Linux and, especially, with a parallel-cable driven
> printer? Has anyone used a router with a USB printer port to drive a
> parallel printer?

You may be able to find one of those old ethernet printer drops.
They had one serial and one parallel port.  There were a few black box
ones that connected to the parallel port and had a RJ45 connector.
Problem is, I saw a few of these smoke on production lines.  That was a
few years ago.  I think one was MILAN print servers (no usb).

> Until it failed last week, I had a D-Link wireless router with 3 cable
> ports and a print server with a parallel output plug.  Worked fine
> using lprng [1] and adding an incantation like "lp=lp at" to
> appropriate places in /etc/printcap on all localnet machines.


There is some info on these sites.  From what I can tell in the posts,
the port is pretty much a raw device.  This is like the old ethernet
print server devices.  Connect to the IP, and send raw.  

In linux, setup a remote printer, the local machine will handle the
correct filter to format the data.  Treat it like a remote printer port.
CUPS can handle remote printers as well, using lpd: devices. I wonder if
IPP would work.  (my next router will have one of these, sounds
interesting to play with)

All you need is the remote queue name and IP to connect to.  The old
print servers used lp, looks like its p1 on the one router they were
testing.  This should be in the docs.

I use HP printer connected via USB to my wife's 450Mhz box.  It works
fine using the new HPIJS drivers.  I think I just loaded the latest
version to print photos correctly. This has some issues with 4x6 paper,
I used the 8x11 glossy and it worked nice.

Note: If you are using GIMP, get the latest gimp print, or guttenprint
(think thats the new name, v5.0) - it fixes a lot of formatting when
printing photos, and boosts dpi to 1200 when photo option is selected.  

> Now, it seems, any router with print server capacity has a USB port
> for the printer.  USB->Centronics printer cables are available.
> BUT: Not a single one of the people at the four local computer stores
> is Linux literate. So not one has a clue about how the thing actually
> works. All they can do is tell me about what will or might happen with
> Windoes [2], Windoes driver problems etc.
:)  Windoze is better , or Winblows.. hehe

> So, has anyone actually used a router with USB print server capacity,
> output through a USB port, via a USB->Centronics cable to a parallel
> printer?  If so, what make and model?  What gotchas?

If the USB port on the router is 2.0, should have no problem.
Man there must be some wicked small chips in that adapter head to pass
8-bytes over a serial line. Does it degrade the performance?

> Or is it perfectly straightforward on all print server routers and I'm
> just being led into befuddlement by the Linux-challenged store guys?

Usually the print servers are pretty much raw devices with an IP
address.  Unless you use proprietary print servers, like HP..  then you
are limited.

Good luck.  Save the receipt and test. :P



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