AirPort Express USB Printer Option- Worthwhile?

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by silverjam, Jul 10, 2012.

  1. silverjam macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2012
    #1
    I have a Canon MX870 which is a printer that has WiFi and Ethernet connection as well as USB. I currently access it on my Macs and PC's through its network connection option. The connection can be temperamental though (have to pause/resume sometimes to wake it up).

    I also have an AirPort Express that I use mainly as a WiFi extender but are thinking of using it to connect the MX870 to the network via USB to the AE. For what it is worth. I also have as my main router an AirPort Extreme.

    My questions are as follows:

    Does the AE make the USB printer appear as a standard network style printer in OSX (and Windows if you know)? That is, do you think the connection to the Printer that I currently have will be similar to when I run it through the AE?

    Does the AE turn the printer into an "AirPrint" style printer where it is easily accessible through iOS? I ask this because this was my main reason for thinking of the switch if this was possible.

    What experiences do you have from using the print function in the AE? Good or bad?

    Thanks for any info.

    Silver
     
  2. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

    Joined:
    May 16, 2008
    #2
    Yes.
    Yes.
    Yes.
    It works just fine. I doubt there would be any difference between using the AE's USB port and using the printer's direct WiFi connection, but it's worth trying.
     
  3. blevins321 macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2010
    Location:
    Winnipeg, MB
    #3
    I'd try the third option OP. I have had wireless printers and their connectivity is terrible. Take the Airport Express and put it into Bridge mode so that it connects to your existing wireless. Then connect it via Ethernet to the printer. That way you're using the Express as the wireless bridge instead of the flaky internal printer wireless. You can use the Express for other things too; such as connecting a set of speakers to be able to use wireless Airplay. :)
     
  4. njaremka macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 11, 2010
    #4
    this is not correct. Airport Express does not turn any USB printer into an AirPrint printer. i WISH it did, but it doesn't. if you want AirPrint, you need to purchase a printer with this function built in.

    apart from the lack of airprint, ever since my first mac purchase, i have been using an airport express for wireless printing. its a fantastic feature. you will lose some utility functionality by using this setup, such as monitoring ink levels. but the benefits outweigh the compromises.
     
  5. marzer macrumors 65816

    marzer

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2009
    Location:
    Colorado
    #5
    Connecting via USB to the AE will give you no problems as far as printing. But if it has a network scanning feature, that will not work connected to the AE via USB. Faxing may not either. So if you want to maintain all the available network features and improve connection reliability its best to connect it to the AE via ethernet.

    As far as I've experienced, no. If the printer does not have Airplay built in, AE will not give it that capability. However, third party utilities will. I've used "Airprint Activator" for about 2 years now, works great with any printer your desktop can see.
     
  6. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

    Joined:
    May 16, 2008
    #6
    You're right that it won't turn any printer into an AirPrint printer. I assumed the OP already had an AirPrint printer and just wanted to make sure that function would still work when connected to the AE's USB port. On re-reading their post, it appears that isn't the case.
     
  7. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2005
    Location:
    California
    #7
    No. It still needs to be an AirPrint enabled printer connected to the network, and I don't see your MX870 on the list.
     
  8. silverjam thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2012
    #8
    No its not AirPrint. But you would think that would be a reasonable function of the new Express. It has AirPlay that works with iOS but can't turn a USB printer into AirPrint.

    Also I will lose the Scanner option it looks like so I may have to stick with my current setup and leave the Express to its current single role of a WiFi extender to my Extreme.

    Oh well.
     
  9. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

    Joined:
    May 16, 2008
    #9
    Thanks for the tip! It works!
     
  10. takeshi74 macrumors 601

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2011
    #10
    There are a few solutions like this. I'm using Airprint for Windows http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1293865 since the only machine I have that is left on and accessible 24/7 is an XP machine.

    Lantronix also offers a couple of IOS print servers. I'll probably switch to one myself in the future so I can get rid of that XP machine.

    I wouldn't but I tend to be cynical.
     
  11. marzer macrumors 65816

    marzer

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2009
    Location:
    Colorado
    #11
    You definitely want to give Airprint Activator a try. Of all the Airprint solutions I've tried out its the easiest, most seamless and FREE! Although I have donated to the project just because its that nice of a product.
     
  12. robgendreau macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2008
    #12
    I'd recommend Printopia.

    Not only can you print to any printer attached to your mac or its network, you can send files to the mac and do other stuff. Super handy.

    And since we talked about audio and the Express, check out Airfoil. You can send sound from ANY Mac application to that Express.
     
  13. smellalot macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2011
    #13
    This whole thing makes me wonder why Apple can't implement the AirPrint thing in their Airport base stations. It's a must if you'd like to get rid your Mac altogether.
    At least the time capsule has enough hard disk space to save all printer drivers locally. So why hasn't it been done yet?
     
  14. silverjam thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2012
    #14
    I use FingerPrint for my iOS devices. It also allows to print to a Mac (pdf) and DropBox from iOS.

    It works with any Printer available to your Mac.

    It costs $10 but seems to work well and I have it on my four Macs.

    ----------

    I totally agree. This was the thought/basis behind the post. Why have AirPlay for iOS on the Express and not AirPrint - ESPECIALLY WHEN THE DEVICES IS DESIGNED TO HAVE A USB PRINTER PLUGGED INTO THE USB PORT SPECIFICALLY!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    (CAPS are aimed at Apple, not you smellalot)
     

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