Thursday, December 13, 2007

Netgear PS121 Print Server - USB to LAN

The Netgear PS121

Easy to Use: The external USB interface makes connecting as close to a no-brainer as one can get. The ports, ethernet, the USB, and the power and none of them look similar enough to each other for home users to even connect cables to the wrong ports. The Smart Wizard install assistant makes it fast and simple to install on all latest and popular versions of Microsoft Windows. You can manage the print server or servers remotely with an easy, Web browser interface. Once setup, you can share a USB printer on your LAN without ahving to share your computer.

Ordering Part Number (United States) : PS121NA

The Netgear PS121

Printer Compatibility List -

Sorry for such a long delay since my last post. I know many of you have been wondering what happened. I have a simple answer, I had to work in the Hawaii islands for a customer and unfortunately, after work hours were not spent blogging about computer components and my experiences with them. The project I was working on in the Hawaaii Island went great.

Yes, you heard right, Hawaii - it was ... awesome.

So back to the regular old stuff, not like there wasn't any of this in Hawaai but it's different there. A sustomer had gone tot he local retailer and picked out a print server for his USB printer. Well, actually picked it our for him online and told him what to get next time he was at the store. That's neither here not there.... So he has this print server from Netgear, the PS121 model, that's to replace the HP JetDirect that took a dive. That jet direct lasted a long time. It's one of the old dark grey 3 port jet directs.

The PS121 has dhcp enabled to pick up an ip address automatically once plugged into the network and to power. Now you may be thinking, if you've done enough of these little dopey devices, how am I going to find the ip address to connect to it. Well, Netgear has done the right thing. They provide on the cd a neat little utility to find the ps121 and it does very well in fact. Once found on the LAN, you can configure it with a static ip address. The Netgear utility that comes on the cd finds the netgear ps 121 print server and connects to it allowing a reconfiguration of the ip address.

The other really nice thing I liked about how netgear thought this little printer server gem out, was that you can configure the computer that's going to use the printer over the network with a local tcp/ip port. Yes, aside from the first computer, I did not run anything from the ps121 installation cd. That was great. I just added the printer to all the other computers in this small office and was done.

Netgear PS121 Print server. So, if your looking for a print server for your USB printer, look no further. For about 40 to 50 bucks (that's USD bucks, please check you local currentcy rate exchnage for your costs...) , you can have any printer on the LAN. Take the the USB cable out of the computer and plug it into this little network printing wonder.

For PC Remote Support Software -

Desktop Support Software -

Computer Remote Support Software -

Monday, January 15, 2007

VoIP Qos through Sonicwall Firewalls

I often find myself having to troubleshoot or install VoIP applications for customers. During the course of both installing or troubleshooting the voice quality, I get to see what various networking equipment manufacturers are doing to support this rapidly growing technology and tool for office to office communication and often office to customer communication.

Some networking equipment vendors have embraced the voice of data networks technology and have increased support for their product lines to accommodate it by building in the tools to make the technology work. Others have introduced product lines and offer special support including remote support to help the end-users or VARS deliver the best quality of voice.

One of the vendors which I just had the pleasure of troubleshooting network voip issues on was Sonicwall. The model the customer is using is the TZ170.

They have the enhanced firmware (operating system) installed version 3.2 which supposedly has QoS features and VoIP features in built into the system. They do indeed have some VoIP features, functionality, and configurable items built in but they are mostly designed for SIP and H.323. These are standard protocols that are commonly used in voice over data systems. One of the problems I found with the built-in features was theat mostly were designed to assist in voice data packets getting through the firewall and NAT routing features. But what if the voip solution is designed to work through a VPN? They completely missed that part. These features were useless in the site to site VPN such as the one I was working with.

This customer has multiple tunnels from their main location which has a PBX switch to several of their remote offices that also have PBX switches. They can transfer calls between the phone system and also of course be able to call each other saving money on toll calls. One of the most annoying things I found with these the TZ170 firewalls is while configuring the unit through the web GUI or even just viewing, any page refresh causes the current voice streams to choke. The quality of the sound deteriorates while working on the system itself. I already mentioned that their features for voice over data are useless in a vpn to vpn environement and their bandwidth management is awkward and clumsy.