Buffalo Quad Pro – Enabling AirPrint on Non-AirPrint Printers

This is a follow up to my earlier blog post re. the setting up of a Multi-function printer/scanner via the network USB interface on the Buffalo Linkstation Quad Pro. You can read this post here – Buffalo Quad Pro – Network USB Navigator and Multi-function Printer/Scanner

So now that I have a working network share multi-function printer, I guess the next step is to setup the printer so that it can be “airprinted” from my ipad. I don’t always print from my ipad but having this capability is not a bad thing….plus I have a bit of time on my hands right now.

Apple has coined this “AirPrint” thingy and made it into a proprietary protocol such that only printers with AirPrint support can be used. I am not prepared to buy a new printer just to have AirPrint capability so I will need to improvise. If you are looking to setup the same thing, I hope this post can help you.

Fortunately there are software developers who recognized these kind of needs and wrote software that circumvent the Apple way of doing things. But the principle behind these software is pretty similar. In a nutshell, most of these software will require you to install an auxiliary helper program on the PC/Mac that act as a “relay” to receive the printing signal from the ipad and route it to the right printer connected to the PC/Mac. A quick research on the internet reveals that we have the following choices:

1. FingerPrint. This cost $19.95 and is available for both Windows and Mac platform. I have downloaded a trial version and it works extremely well and is in my opinion the most seamless way to do printing from the ipad.

2. HandyPrint. It looks like this is only available for the Mac. Not very useful for me at this stage, although I do use a hackintosh. I believed HandyPrint is donationware but I am not sure.

3. AirPrint Activator. I didn’t research enough but it looks to me that HandyPrint is an offspring of the AirPrint Activator. Stanley has contributed to an extremely well written post here – http://stanley.thepharmacopedia.com/2012/03/25/airprint-activator-for-windows-ios5-supported/. Take note that AirPrint Activator’s user interface is in German. As far as I am aware, AirPrint Activator is freeware.

4. iOS apps such as the Print n Share app written by EuroSmartz. This is going for A$7.49 at the moment (with a 30% discount that will end soon). If you do a search on the Apple Appstore, you will find many other alternatives. EuroSmartz also published a very basic printing app for the ipad that allows you to test if your printer is supported. It is a freeware and can be found here – http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/printdirect/id423223834?mt=8

I decided to go with the Print n Share iOS app as it looks to me the easiest to setup and cost the least (obviously you can find cheaper/free iOS apps so it is not necessary that you follow suit). In addition, it is cross platform and available for both iOS and Android. The AirPrint Activator is free but requires some configuration on the firewall. I prefer to keep things simple. Afterall, I don’t print from the iPad all the time.

Print n Share iOS App

Just like FingerPrint and HandyPrint, Print n Share also requires a helper program called “WePrint” and this must be installed on a desktop machine to route the print job to the selected printer. This is a free download and supports both PC and Macs. Look here – http://mobile.eurosmartz.com/downloads.html.

Installation is extremely straightforward. Just follow the prompts. It will install a “WePrint Server” on the desktop that looks like this. Note that it WePrint will nominate a server address/port automatically.

2013-01-05_165410

I don’t like the twitter news feed but you can easily disable that on the settings. I have not played around with the settings too much. Here are my setup for reference only.

2013-01-05_165854

Moving to the “Printers” tab, you will see something similar to this:

2013-01-05_165506

Obviously you will need to make sure that the printer is successfully installed on the PC before you can even print from the iPad. I have the Dell 1133 MFP which is connected to the Buffalo Quad Pro via a USB on Ethernet interface.

So the print job will now go like this (sort of):

iPad —> Wireless Router —> Desktop PC running WePrint server —> Buffalo Quad Pro’s Network-USB interface —> Dell 1133 MFP.

A pretty long winded process but it is transparent to end users and the printing process appears to be robust so far. Print n Share also support printing via 3G/4G although I have no idea how to utilize this at this stage. You can also enable advanced features such as multi-user access but you will need to register first. To do this, hit the “Register” button on the WePrint server application, then click “ok”. this will bring up a registration form on your web browser. Registration is free.

The iOS app looks a bit confusing at the start but after using it for a while, I find that I can get used to its user interface. I won’t dwell too much on setting up Print n Share on the ipad as there are a fair amount of customization that are unique to individuals how they like to configure their printouts. Some trials and errors will be in order here.

Just an example, say if I need to print a webpage quickly from the ipad. I start the Print n Share app, click the “web pages” button at the bottom of the app, navigate to the website and hit the printer icon on the top right of the app. This will bring up a print dialog box like so:

Print n Share 1

Hit the “choose” button to select the printer and whatever printers that are configured on the desktop are now visible on the ipad.

Print n Share 2

Just select the desired printer and print away. Very straightforward.

I have done some tests and it appears that the app is robust and stable enough.

I hope this post is helpful in any way.

Thanks for stopping by.

Posted on January 5, 2013, in Buffalo Quad Pro NAS and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Hey Joseph!

    I require your help regarding a Buffalo NAS question. I read your “how to setup a buffalo NAS”-guide, and it was very useful. Though i have a problem as my NAS is on a publiv network, and i would like to have password restrictions to enter the NAS through the network. So if i go to start->network->LS-WXL845, i would like it to ask for a username and password. How do i do this?

    Great blog! Keep up the good work

    //Anders J.

  2. Hi Anders. Glad you like the post.

    Re. your question of implementing password restrictions to access the NAS….the most straightforward method I know is to go to the Webaccess interface -> shared folders -> click the sharename and enable access restrictions. Obviously you will need to setup your users and groups first.

    Hope this helps.

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