TP-Link TL-PS310U Print (etc.) Server on Linux?
If this is the wrong forum for this, mods please move it.
I've just bought a laptop to supplement my desktop computer; suddenly I have a need to find out about networking - never had any experience of it before. Ubuntu 10.04 is on the desktop and a fairly minimal net install of Debian Squeeze on the laptop. They are both plugged into a Netgear DG834 router, and I've figured out how to access one computer from the other with ssh, and to locally mount the remote file system with sshfs. Basic stuff, but it's a new world to me.
I bought a TP-Link TL-PS310U with the hope of figuring out some way of making it work with Linux. Turns out I haven't got a clue.
It's sold as a print server, but it can also network other usb devices by interfacing between the device and the router. Alas, no Linux support, so I put Win2K onto an old HD just to see how it works. It works well with my Brother DCP-330C printer/scanner/card reader; with a 4 port hub attached, it works with the printer + external HD + memory stick + camera. A short trial, but I was impressed.
So, how can I use this from a Linux box?
IP of the router is 192.168.0.1, and it gives the print server 192.168.0.2. In a browser I can get to basic, not very helpful configuration pages on 192.168.0.2:/system30.htm, which show all the devices connected to it, whether through a hub, or individually.
I've got CUPS and the Brother drivers installed, and system-config-printer seems to try to find the printer - 'Find Network Printer' comes up with various 'connection' options, but using any of them results in the printer initiating a print job (the paper loads), but not much else - occasionally the print heads make another pass, but a test page was only 7% complete after 40 minutes, and then it just gave up and spat the sheet out. And yet all the time the LEDs on both router and print server were showing a lot of apparent activity, so I don't know what's going on there. As for the scanner and card reader functions of the Brother unit - I've no idea.
Getting the printer and scanner to work would be useful, but I'd especially like to get my external usb HD to be networked and seen by both 'puters.
In my uneducated way, I kinda figured that as the router itself uses Linux, then the print-server is already working with Linux, even when it's being accessed by Windows, so there must be a way of accessing everything the router handles from a Linux computer.
All I need is someone to tell me how to do it! Failing that, what about alternatives?
Even though the router runs linux it works on a lower level so it doesn't care about operating systems. The provided link indicates that the server supports lpr/lpd protocol which in theory should be compatible. I assume the other USB functions are supported by the devices remote virtual USB protocol which is not compatible with linux. A quick google did not find anything
Thanks for that. It looks like I should have looked into it more, first. There are a few usb -> ethernet units around, but even those that claim some sort of Linux compatibility are compromised in some way.
I think the real way forward is going to be some sort of NAS unit like the D-Link DNS-320 or the Netgear MS2000, which seem fairly economical. The printer/scanner may require more homework.
TP-Link TL-PS310U in Fedora 64bit.
1) When calling TP-Link tech support from Canada, the Tel No. is different from what is printed in the user guide: (905) 881-9469 (some users in the Greater Toronto area may get this number as local.)
2) My tentative answer for this one is at the end of this post, but the reasons why should be known first...
3) I have run this with my HP 1220C in Win XP, but then (on the same machine which boots 3 OS's) in Fedora17 64 bit, it is a problem.
3) IMHO on the $$$ marketing side:
Analogizing with a remark I found some time back in regards to SANE backends, IMHO it would seem that small gadgets which sell for roughly less then $100.00 just don't provide the manufacturer with enough income to support Linux.
On the other hand, if I had paid $300.00 or more for a print server from a higher end manufacturer, it might have had adequate support.
Similarly, if I buy a printer that has the networking built in, if it didn't work in Linux, users would likely take it back, or if they could not do that, they would not buy ink or toner for it, and that is where printer manufacturers make their real ongoing money.
4) An alternative:
However I find this kind of approach exorbitant, So, being an electronic technician with many years experience, I am thinking about building a hardware remote control using a selector switch to switch 12 V.D.C., then using that to switch a remote box with a set of relays to hardware switch the printer (bus exclusive) to multiple USB connections wired to several computers on my network.
Then any one of them could be set up to work as a server and share the printer if needed.
Such peripherals can only be connected to one host at a time anyway, and for printers and other devices that have to mechanically manipulate paper, I have reservations about using them when I am not within eyesight so as to catch paper jams and other unexpected problems.
5) As our moderator posted, the TL-PS310U says it supports LPD/LPR protocol, so that also remains to be tested and have the details documented.
6) I now have found that this print server is not even being recognised by my router (NETGEAR R6300, Firmware: V184.108.40.206_1.0.28). This router works fine with my Linux machines and D-Link NAS boxes, but the USB part of it still does not work with Linux.
Unless/until the manufacturers can come up with a less than $100.00 (retail) device that is universally recognised without added software needed, the inconvenience IMHO outweighs the value of the product at any low price the produce may sell for. so now we are back to item 4 above.
Bruce here again: Where I am located, a lot of products are simply not easily available. But for the sake of some $60.00 plus 15% added taxes, i might just get one of these to experiment with. If my suspicion is correct it should be able to work in Linux, provided it is connected to a router that handles IGMP traffic that arises from Linux (Generally I have found Netgear the best for that function, due to their use of DDD-WRT open source firmware.)
If I prove my hunch correct (and document my efforts) I can use these and switch them around in a multi-segmented network as needed. time will tell.
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