Lantronix xPrintServer for iOS review
Lantronix's simple xPrintServer is designed to be a plug-and-forget solution for connecting iOS devices to network printers. Simon Handby pulls out his iPad and finds out if it's worth the paper it prints to.
Apple's various iOS devices may be easy to use in isolation, but they can be tricky to integrate with an enterprise's existing IT infrastructure, particularly when it comes to printing. Lantronix's xPrintServer is a promising device that aims to bridge that gap, for network printers, at least.
A white box not much larger than an iPhone, the xPrintServer connects to a network with an Ethernet cable, then sets about automatically discovering and configuring any network printers on the same subnet.
Once recognised, the printers are advertised using zero-configuration networking (zeroconf) and become available to iOS devices connected to the same network via Wi-Fi using the Print command that's found in many apps.
In theory, a single xPrintServer could act as a bridge between all of a company's iOS users and printers, although Lantronix recommends one server for every seven or so printers. The running costs of multiple units are likely to be trivial though, and our review model's power consumption was less than one watt.
In many cases, configuring the xPrintServer is likely to be as simple as plugging it in. There are no controls other than a hardware reset button, and no indicators other than two Ethernet status lights and a single orange LED.
It supports a huge range of printers too, through the JetDirect, LPD and IPP protocols. In our tests, it quickly picked up wired and wireless printers, generally making them available on an iPad and iPhone without the need for software or any further configuration.
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