I just finished setting up the wireless Linksys printserver (model WPS54G) at home. Finally, I can effortlessly use my Compaq Inkjet IJ650 printer from every Windows computer on the home network. Yay!

The printserver attaches to your 802.11g network and to your USB 1.1 or USB 2.0 printer. Previously, I had always attached the printer to one of my Windows workstations, but then that computer either always had to be on or it had to be booted up in order to print. Further, if I changed the printer from one USB hub to another, then I had to first deal with driver issues on the local workstation, and then I had to share it out again, and finally change all the remote workstation shares. The Linksys printserver is a breeze.

The first installation step is to connect to the printserver using an ethernet wired connection, login into the printserver web page, then configure the wireless settings and restart it.

I found I need to have the original print drivers installed on every computer that I intended to use to connect to the wireless printserver. So I had to go find my Compaq printer CD and install it on all the workstations to install the drivers. I found this out because when I tried to connect to the printserver from workstations that did not already have the Compaq drivers installed, the Linksys GUI popped up a warning that wasn't very readable, but I knew it wanted to me to go find my printer's original CD first.

So, maybe that was just me cuz I was using one of the least supported printers on the face of the earth, and maybe you won't need to do this. It could be that the Linksys Printserver application software comes with most drivers already built in, but I couldn't tell you.

With the printserver configured for wireless, and my crappy Compaq drivers installed everywhere like a virus, I launched the Linksys GUI and chose the User option. This allowed me to connect to the printer successfully. By sniffing with Ethereal network analyzer I found it uses LDP over port 515, pretty standard stuff. Then I just went around to each workstation and installed the Linksys User stuff and ran the printer configuration wizard. No sweat!

I first balked a little at the price of $99 at BestBuy, but I thought about what a pain it was to use the printer in the current configuration. Now I think its well worth the price to alleviate all the headaches. In the end, I highly recommend the Linksys printserver WPS54G, although it does come in some related models that can act as additional routers as well as a printserver.

I tried using CUPS from my Fedora Linux workstations, but I couldn't satisfy it. Using CUPS I tried to configure the printer using the LDP option selecting the address as socket:// to designate that it should connect to the printserver wireless IP addr and use the standard 515 port. I tried selecting the Generic and the Postscript options as well, and I even sniffed the packets and found that CUPS had indeed connected and sent the postscript file over port 515 to the printserver, but alas the printserver was a cold fish that day. If you can offer any tips, please do :)

I later ran nmap -sS on the printserver to scan the ports and confirm what ports were open, and whaddya know, port 515/LDP, port 9100/HPsomething, port 80/HTTP, and port 631. I tried IPP and other types of connections to those ports, but no luck there either.