A Wide Ranging Print Solution
The xPrintServer Cloud Print edition is a product that has been designed by Lantronix to allow users the functionality to send print jobs from Android based mobile devices to network based printers. Developed as part of the company’s family of mobile print solutions, the xPrintServer can also handle those devices that are running Google’s Chrome Browser and the Chrome operating system plus other units running off the network.
This kit consists of the xPrintServer unit, a R45 Ethernet cable, power adapter, mounting bracket and screws, four rubber feet and a Quick Start Guide. If you are planning to use the mounting bracket when positioning this product then I would strongly suggest that you only do so after you have completed the setting up of the xPrintServer. The reason for this is that there is some important information located on the base of the unit that will be required during the set up.
The xPrintServer is a small, compact black box with dimensions of 112 x 60 x 23mm (L x W x H). The Lantronix logo is embossed on top of the box with the letter “X” glowing and pulsing to indicate the status of the device. Located at one end of the box are the connections for power, USB and Ethernet links to the appropriate option.
The physical setting up of the xPrintServer is easy as you attach the power lead and Ethernet cable. There is also an option to add a USB printer to the set up using the power of the black box. The xPrintServer will automatically set up any printers it discovers. They can be of the wired, wireless, USB or networked variety, just as long as they are on the same network. According to the Quick Start Guide, this discovery and setting up process should take around 30 seconds. In my case it was nearly double this figure which was hardly any inconvenience.
As the product’s title might indicate, this Lantronix offering makes use of the Google Cloud Print service. In order to make use of Google Cloud Print, you must have a Google account. This is no big deal and you can quickly set up a free account if you do not already have one.
You then need to set up the xPrintServer to work with Google Cloud Print using your Google account. You are provided with two different methods of carrying out this process. You can either use the QR code supplied on the base of the xPrintServer or log into the relevant web site, it is listed in the Quick Start Guide. You will then need to enter the relevant details of the product’s serial number plus the username and password. Again these details are to be found on the base of the xPrintServer box. After accepting the terms and conditions you can print a test page or move on to the next stage of the operation.
In order to be able to make use of the Google Cloud Print service using the xPrintServer, Android based devices will require the free Google Cloud Print app to be installed on each one. As with the setting up the xPrintServer, two different methods are provided. You can either use the QR code in the Quick Start Guide to be taken straight to the app for downloading or conduct your own shopping expedition with the Play Store.
It was at this point that I came across a problem. According to the Google Play Store I already had Google Cloud Print installed on my smartphone and there was an upgrade available. However the upgrade failed to take and I was advised to remove the original version and try again. Unfortunately I was unable to find a trace of it on my Moto G phone which had been used as part of the initial set up of this device. Luckily a second smartphone was available and I was able to install the Google Cloud Print app. As I was using a BETA version of the xPrintServer product, this could have been the reason for the problem I encountered.
With Google Cloud Print installed, you can carry out print jobs from within a host app by selecting Share from the dropdown Options menu. You then need to select the Google Cloud Print from the choices that appear. If more than one printer was detected by the xPrintServer, you can select the one you want to receive the print job before making any necessary adjustments from the Print Preview page that will appear.
As mentioned earlier, the xPrintServer can be used to print from devices running Chrome. These types of devices will not need Google Cloud Print in order to print. Specific instructions are provided in the Quick Start Guide for printing from a Mac or Windows system using a USB printer linked to the xPrintServer. In the case of a Windows system you will need to have Bonjour Print Services installed.
The xPrintServer is best suited to an environment that has multiple printers serving the print needs of a collection of desktop and mobile devices. Print jobs can be sent to appropriate printers from a variety of devices without the need for additional software. Although there are no theoretical limits to the number of printers that can be attached, Lantronix feels that 10 printers would be the optimum number for this product that is priced at £91.
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