6 AirPrint solutions for iPhones and iPads

By Doug Dineley and Galen Gruman, InfoWorld |  Consumerization of IT, AirPrint, iPads

Mobile printing is still young, and you can expect glitches. The first PrintMe Mobile for Android client I tested (version 2.1) displayed not only the printers I published, but every Bonjour-enabled printer in the building. Version 2.2 of the Android client fixed this bug, but it doesn't overcome other limitations of AirPrint. Blame Apple or blame EFI, but workarounds (such as multiple drivers for that color printer) and compromises (printing 20 pages when the user needs only five) come with the territory.

On the server side, EFI's PrintMe Mobile is a polished, enterprise-class product that doesn't require an enterprise-class administrator to install and maintain. While it's easy enough for almost anyone to adopt, it does require a dedicated Windows box (for every subnet you want to support), and some of its capabilities will be overkill for smaller shops. Then there's the enterprise-class price, which starts at $510 per printer (two printers) and runs to $100 per printer for volume customers. There are no restrictions on the number of mobile users or mobile devices.

--Doug Dineley

Lantronix's zero-config AirPrint routers make mobile printing easy

The fundamental promise of AirPrint was zero-configuration printing from iOS devices. Attach an AirPrint printer to the network, and it's accessible to all iOS devices on that network segment from iOS apps' Share menus. No drivers to install, no configuration of any sort -- it doesn't matter what server or PCs you use or if you even use them.

Lantronix's xPrintServer appliances take that same concept and put it in a small print server that you can connect to any Ethernet port. Once connected and powered, xPrintServer detects the printers on your network and AirPrint-enables those that don't have AirPrint built in. It really is that simple. xPrintServer also recognizes some printer options, such as duplex printing, and makes those available via the Share menu's Printer Options pop-over.

A Web console for when you want more than plug-and-play. Most of the time it's as simple as plugging the xPrintServer into the network and letting it find your printers for you. xPrintServer doesn't support all printers, though the list of supported printers likely covers what most businesses use. Via a Web-based console, you can manually add printers to the list that xPrintServer autodetects; I had to do that to have it see a Brother MFC-8840DN, a workhorse multifunction device. After that, the Brother was just another printer on the network as far as iOS devices were concerned. (A firmware update released July 27 now autodetects and sets up that particular Brother model.)


Originally published on InfoWorld |  Click here to read the original story.
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