Advanced Configuration & Conclusion
During its first bootup, the xPrintServer will automatically 'call home' to register its IP address and serial number with the Lantronix Web Services website, which in turn provides a unique IP address for the device. To find out the xPrintServer's IP address on your network (so that you can log into the xPrintServer web interface to carry out printing management), simply go to Lantronix's Find My xPrintServer webpage, and enter your xPrintServer's serial number, which can be found on the packaging or under the device. You'd then be redirected to your browser to login to the xPrintServer user interface. You should note down this IP address so that you can return to the browser-based management interface anytime.
Besides Home, there are a few more tabs running across the top of the web interface. Through the Admin tab, you can upgrade the xPrintServer's firmware, give it a new name, reset or reboot the device. The Jobs section will show you what print jobs have taken place; you can even cancel an active job from here. The Printers section will tell you all the printers configured to the xPrintServer. You can rename printers and their locations, configure user access (you can add or remove a user under the Users tab), re-run the discovery process to check for new printers, and manually add a printer, among others. And as the name implies, the Logs section will show you all diagnostic and access messages.
Of course, not all users can access all the tabs in the xPrintServer user interface. An Admin user will have access to all of them, while a non-admin user can only see the Home, Jobs, and Log-Off tabs or pages.
Conclusion: iOS Printing (Especially in the Office) Made Easy
In summary, the xPrintServer works as claimed. Just plug it into your network, wait for it to finish detecting and provisioning your printers, and you’re ready to print from your iPhone or iPad. There’s no need to install anything either on your computer or your iOS device. For companies with bring-your-own-device policies that include these iOS devices, the xPrintServer Network Edition can help to reduce a lot of headaches for the IT department.
While this may sound like an obvious point, we think that it’s worth pointing out that for the xPrintServer to work, the network that it connects to needs to have access to the Internet. For one, when you first set it up, it has to register itself with Lantronix over the Internet. Secondly, during the initial printer detection/provision stage (as well as when you’re re-running the discovery process), it has to again connect to Lantronix to check for and download the necessary drivers.
The only quibble we’ve of the xPrintServer is that it doesn’t support all printers. However, we understand that this is perhaps an unrealistic expectation as there are just too many printer models out there. Therefore, if you’ve a very old printer or a newly launched one, don't be surprised that it's not in Lantronix’s database. One thing that you can do before you buy the xPrintServer is to check this supported printer list to see if your printer is in the list of over 4,000 supported models. The Epson WorkForce Pro WP-4521 inkjet AIO printer that we used for this test is in the list, and the xPrintServer worked smoothly. We also tested with a relatively new Oki MB491 LED AIO printer which is not listed as a supported printer, and were unable to get it to print. This was despite the xPrintServer trying to fallback to an older Oki MC361 driver. If this happens to you, you can try deleting the printer through the web interface, and initiating the discovery process again; hopefully, there’d be newer drivers. If that doesn’t work out, you can send an email to request support for your printer.
In a nutshell, the xPrintServer works great, if your printer is officially supported. So, do your fair share of research before rushing off to the store.
In Singapore, the Lantronix xPrintServer Network Edition is priced at S$360, and is distributed by Avanca Technologies.