Hewlett-Packard JetDirect 70X – Product Information
HOC RATING 1234567
ANY HOME NETWORK will let several PCs share a printer, but Hewlett-Packard’s JetDirect 70X ($100; 800-527-3753, www.hp.com) is a home print server that puts your printer directly on the network. Thus, you needn’t leave one PC on all the time, and you can even put the printer by itself in a central location as long as there’s a phone jack nearby.
That last option is because the JetDirect 70X is a HomePNA 1.0 phone-line network device, so your PCs need to be using HomePNA 1.0- or 2.0-compliant network adapters (not Ethernet or wireless adapters) to communicate. That’s not crystal clear from the box, and could be confusing to someone unfamiliar with HomePNA products.
If you have a phone-line network in place, though, setup could hardly be simpler. Just plug your printer’s parallel cable into the 70X (which is barely twice the size of a Palm PDA), then connect the JetDirect to an AC outlet and phone jack, install the supplied driver software on each of your PCs, and you’re in business. If you run into trouble, a print test button on the JetDirect lets you determine whether the problem is at the print server or back at the PC.
The print server can’t be connected to the same jack as a HomePNA-equipped PC using a line splitter–nor, in our experience, can you generally use a different jack in the same room. To put the printer in the same room as a PC, there’s a pass-through jack on the JetDirect. Otherwise, you can place the printer anywhere in the house.
Though some non-networkable printers such as HP’s DeskJet 700, 820, and 1000 series are incompatible, the company claims most parallel printers should work fine. We tested the system with an ActionTec network and HP LaserJet 6P printer and encountered no glitches at all; printing via the JetDirect was not only convenient, but as quick and responsive as printing from our own PC.
A Seamless printing for phone-line Networks
B Possible conflicts with jack Placements and certain printers
HOME OFFICE COMPUTING rates products on a scale of 1 to 10–with few 9’s or 10’s–based on value, performance, innovation [medals go to rare standouts in these areas], ease of use, and suitability for home offices. The A and B symbols indicate pros and cons.
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