The issue is coming up more and more frequently as the popularity of the iPad and iPhone for business use is increasing. The gap that Apple has left wide open is the simple ability to print from an iOS device. They have allowed the integration of their “AirPrint” technology into several consumer class printers, but as a technology solution provider, we could not in good conscience recommend that any business purchase and use a consumer class printer – especially and ink jet printer which most of them are.
Thanks to Lantronix we now have a viable solution to this issue. Lantronix has created the “xPrintServer”. This is a simple to install device that connects to your business network. It automatically searched the business network subnet and automatically adds network printers to the list of discovered printers. Once the configuration is complete, which in our experience with the product, takes less than 2 minutes, you will see the discovered printers on your iPhone or iPad as available printers.
This device was extremely easy to setup. All you do is plug it in and give it a couple of minutes to configure itself. It effectively solves the business class printing issues associated with iOS devices. The product is very affordable at around $150.00. It will server up to 10 printers comfortably.
I would like to see it recognize and configure shared printers as well. This device only supports completely network printers. The printer must have it’s own IP address. USB connected printers that are shared over the network do not work.
I had an issue with one installation where a printer on the supported printer list did not work. When you tried to print to it, is would just shoot out about 50 pages of blank paper. I called the Lantronix technical support line and had someone on the line in about 5 minutes. After checking a couple of quick things via the products web configuration interface the support person said they would escalate the issue because it was a problem with the driver they are using. He said the engineering would re-create a driver for this printer and get it to me, but it could take as long as two weeks. While this is not ideal, they did quickly take responsibility for the issue and offered a solution.