Is your USB printer still shackled to your computer? Even if you use Windows Printer Sharing, the task of making sure that the host PC is always on and ready to print when you are can be a real drag. Here are three ways to liberate your printer so you can connect to it wirelessly from anywhere in the house--no host needed.
- Upgrade to a printer with built-in ethernet or Wi-Fi. More and more printers include networking these days, so if you're due for a new printer anyway, look for this feature, which lets it connect directly to your Wi-Fi router.
- If your printer lacks built-in Wi-Fi or ethernet and you're in the market for a new router, consider getting one that has a USB printer port, such as Apple's AirPort Extreme Base Station (about $179 online), which supports draft-802.11n.
- Buy a dedicated adapter such as Belkin's Wireless-G Print Server (about $110 online) or D-Link's AirPlus G Wireless USB Print Server (about $95 online) that lets you plug in one or more printers and then connect to your router via Wi-Fi. If you have a multifunction printer, look for D-Link's $100 RangeBooster G Multifunction Print Server or Linksys's Wireless-G Print Server with Multifunction Printer Support (about $110 online), either of which allows shared scanning and printing with many popular all-in-one printers.