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Make Your Printer Wireless

Need to share a printer without wires? No problem.
Magazine Contributor
2 min read

This story appears in the January 2006 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Wireless networks can be amazingly convenient-until you have to deal with the sometimes prickly issue of sharing a printer. Fortunately, there are solutions. The $149 (street) Actiontec 54Mbps Wireless Multiport Printer Server is one way to go. With two USB ports and one parallel port, it works for up to three printers. A big advantage: Your printers don't need to be attached to a dedicated computer, so you can place them wherever it's convenient.

You do need to connect to a computer for setup, though. The quick-start guide does an admirable job of walking you through the initial steps. But like most wireless setups, you need to know some key data, like your encryption settings. It took us about 15 minutes to hook up a single USB color laser. For more complicated setups or for troubleshooting, you may need to check out the CD-based user manual.

The convenience of wireless printer sharing is worth the effort. Other companies with similar products include the usual wireless suspects: Belkin, D-Link, Netgear, SMC Networksand 3Com.

Dynamic Duo
Wi-fi and VoIP team up to make calling more flexible.

It was only a matter of time before Wi-Fi and VoIP met up and joined forces in your business. They've come together in the form of Session Initiation Protocol phones. This very flexible protocol has become a top choice for VoIP applications. Chances are, if you have a VoIP setup, it already includes SIP protocols. Theoretically, you can plug any SIP-enabled VoIP phone into your SIP-based VoIP setup.

The newest of those phones is the ZultysWIP2 wireless IP phone, a full-featured phone with voice encryption, paging and three-way conferencing. WIP2 includes everything you'd expect in a high-end VoIP phone, and it lets you prowl around the premises using the Wi-Fi capability. Pricing hadn't been set as of press time. Like the WIP2, ZyXEL's$230 (street) Prestige P-2000W is 802.11b-compatible. There are a few small trade-offs, though. Expect your talk time to be limited to about four hours, and remember, you can only talk when you're within range of a Wi-Fi access point.

In other Wi-Fi and VoIP news, Vonagehas tested a Wi-Fi handset that works with its service and should be available by the time you read this. Look for more Wi-Fi VoIP phones to hit the market as demand builds.

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