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Multi-function printers are as handy as a pocket on a shirt. They can print, they can scan, they can fax. But the PCs attached to your network can only use them for printing. That’s where IOGear’s USB Multi-Function Print Server comes in.
Plug this palm-size device into your router and connect it to your printer’s USB port, and any computer that can access your network can make use of all three of the MFP’s functions. But we were disappointed to discover that this otherwise handy gadget doesn’t eliminate our biggest problem: the need for a host PC.
If you have a noisy, heat-producing computer in your bedroom, you might not want to leave it running 24/7. But that doesn’t mean you won’t be using a laptop with a wireless Internet connection in the living room and decide you need to print or fax a document. Do you really want to walk down the hall to fire up the PC just so you can use the printer? Or maybe you want to locate your printer somewhere other than right next to your desktop PC. These are the scenarios where a print server should be most useful.
IOGear’s print server isn’t wireless, so your printer will still need to be in close proximity to your router, but the fact that it requires the host PC to be powered on is just plain annoying. And the appeal of its ability to enable remote devices to also use an MFP’s scanning and faxing functions is further mitigated by the fact that the server is outfitted with a slug-slow USB 1.1 port. Bottom line: We’re not impressed.
Month Reviewed: August 2006