cancel
Showing results for 
Search instead for 
Did you mean: 

File and printer sharing: what would I need?

Community Veteran
Posts: 26,442
Thanks: 688
Fixes: 8
Registered: 10-04-2007

File and printer sharing: what would I need?

At present our printer is attached to my PC. I also have a shared directory on my PC where we keep stuff like things to do with the home accounts (pdfs of utility bills, bank statements etc) and correspondence. This means for my wife to print or access the shared files my PC has to be on.
I'm looking at replacing my PC which means all this has to be moved and the new locations configured on the other PCs. So I'm wondering, is there a cost effective (initial cost and running cost - i.e. low power) device I could use. A simple NAS box would meet the file sharing requirement but do any of them provide sharing of USB printers? An additional advantage would be if a USB A4 flatbed scanner could be shared.
jelv (a.k.a Spoon Whittler)
   Why I have left Plusnet (warning: long post!)   
Broadband: Andrews & Arnold Home::1 (FTTC 80/20)
Line rental: Pulse 8 Home Line Rental (£13/month)
Mobile: iD mobile (£4/month)
28 REPLIES
pwatson
Rising Star
Posts: 2,468
Thanks: 8
Fixes: 1
Registered: 26-11-2012

Re: File and printer sharing: what would I need?

Define cost effective?  What's your budget?
I've got a QNAP NAS for file storage and it can be used to share USB devices.  Personally I'd recommend a networked printer/scanner instead, rather than sharing a USB device as the drivers will be optimised for thiis use.  For document storage, something like Onedrive or Dropbox may be better if you don't have a need to store large files.  My NAS is mainly full of photos and my music collection and this would be very expensive to store in the cloud... 
Community Veteran
Posts: 1,894
Thanks: 3
Registered: 20-10-2012

Re: File and printer sharing: what would I need?

For file sharing we use a 64gigs USB drive plugged into the router. Cost - about £10!
For printing/scanning we use an HP all-in-One connected by wifi. Cost - dunno but not expensive!
Geoff,
York.
nanotm
Pro
Posts: 5,676
Thanks: 109
Fixes: 1
Registered: 11-02-2013

Re: File and printer sharing: what would I need?

depending on what router you use a simple usb external hdd could be the answer, several offerings are available I have one setup on my billion router (file share for music pictures and videos) saving my ageing nas for more important (non kid) files and of course the original files so they don't have access to them, and again the printer can be plugged into the secondary usb port and shared across the lan as well.
as pwatson says the biggest consideration is your budget, and there are several free options as well (like onedrive) to share the files with anyone you like removing the need for separate hardware in the home (you can also set all shared files to be kept locally on each user device)
just because your paranoid doesn't mean they aren't out to get you
Community Veteran
Posts: 6,608
Thanks: 209
Fixes: 15
Registered: 16-02-2009

Re: File and printer sharing: what would I need?

Really depends on several factors:
1. how much are you sharing more if than 2GB then the online will be out
2. you can share the printer via a usb device to connect it to the lan (or bluetooth etc)
3. scanner is more difficult, there are devices/apps about to do it though.
4. are you worried about power consumption etc then a standalone pc is probably ott.
I run my old desktop as a server/media centre/printer share/torrent/nntp machine, it runs 24/7 and consumes <30W most of the time, I used to use a laptop I got given but wanted usb3 & gib networking.
An old pc or laptop (even with a broken screen etc) can be pressed into use, have a look at Freenas etc for free sharing options.
Community Veteran
Posts: 26,442
Thanks: 688
Fixes: 8
Registered: 10-04-2007

Re: File and printer sharing: what would I need?

Thanks for the replies guys.
@pwatson
The current printer (Epson stylus D8Cool I have I'm happy with so I'd previously considered something like http://www.ebuyer.com/259815-tp-link-tl-ps110u-usb-to-ethernet-print-server-tl-ps110u. I've not come across networked scanners and searching eBuyer the only one I found was about 2000% of my budget. I have to replace my current scanner (which works absolutely fine) as the latest drivers available for it are for XP!
My thought was could I do it all with a single box? Looking at an entry QNAP it looks like it would be somewhere around £150 with the disk which is OK for price.
PS: Looking at WD drive specs. (2TB) the green 3.5 version uses more power than the red one - crackers!
@NedLudd
My current router doesn't have a USB port and who knows what router I'll be using one I'm out of the current PN contract.
I hadn't realised just how ridiculously cheap all in ones were these days - another possibility to look at (sharing the printer wouldn't then be required as we'd keep the existing and each have our own).
@Hairy McBiker
I had considered using an old PC/laptop but (a) it takes up considerably more space and (b) uses more power than a NAS (probably less than 10W when idle). I'd probably be putting the NAS on my UPS.

jelv (a.k.a Spoon Whittler)
   Why I have left Plusnet (warning: long post!)   
Broadband: Andrews & Arnold Home::1 (FTTC 80/20)
Line rental: Pulse 8 Home Line Rental (£13/month)
Mobile: iD mobile (£4/month)
nanotm
Pro
Posts: 5,676
Thanks: 109
Fixes: 1
Registered: 11-02-2013

Re: File and printer sharing: what would I need?

I don't know what NAS unit your looking at but mine which is a low power unit sucks in 70w on idle and climbs up to 200w under full load when the fans kick in, and that goes up if you use the usb port on it, sure its a 4 bay unit running 4 x 2tb wd red (nas) drives. but the power useage is fairly typical of multi drive units /
just because your paranoid doesn't mean they aren't out to get you
pwatson
Rising Star
Posts: 2,468
Thanks: 8
Fixes: 1
Registered: 26-11-2012

Re: File and printer sharing: what would I need?

QNAP TS-212E  or TS-212P - 6W standby, 13W running (with 2 x 500GB drives)
Community Veteran
Posts: 6,307
Thanks: 86
Fixes: 3
Registered: 08-01-2008

Re: File and printer sharing: what would I need?

http://lifehacker.com/5988835/turn-a-raspberry-pi-into-a-low-power-nas
Call me 'w23'
At any given moment in the universe many things happen. Coincidence is a matter of how close these events are in space, time and relationship.
Opinions expressed in forum posts are those of the poster, others may have different views.
nanotm
Pro
Posts: 5,676
Thanks: 109
Fixes: 1
Registered: 11-02-2013

Re: File and printer sharing: what would I need?

Quote from: pwatson
QNAP TS-212E  or TS-212P - 6W standby, 13W running (with 2 x 500GB drives)

curious what drives your using for that, most eco drives struggle to achieve 8w draw, the 13w listed in the user manual on the ts-212p is for the empty unit, they even suggest for the power conscious that when the usb lines are in use and 2 standard desktop hdd's the unit could be drawing as much as 120w ....which i'll grant you is a fair bit lower than my nas box but then its only got half the drive capacity as well /
just because your paranoid doesn't mean they aren't out to get you
Community Veteran
Posts: 26,442
Thanks: 688
Fixes: 8
Registered: 10-04-2007

Re: File and printer sharing: what would I need?

I'm looking at QNAP TS-112P with WD Red 2TB 3.5" as a possibility (7W + 4.1W and less on standby or sleeping). The power supply in the NAS is only 36W.
jelv (a.k.a Spoon Whittler)
   Why I have left Plusnet (warning: long post!)   
Broadband: Andrews & Arnold Home::1 (FTTC 80/20)
Line rental: Pulse 8 Home Line Rental (£13/month)
Mobile: iD mobile (£4/month)
pwatson
Rising Star
Posts: 2,468
Thanks: 8
Fixes: 1
Registered: 26-11-2012

Re: File and printer sharing: what would I need?

I'd encourage you to look at 2 bay NAS enclosures, even if you only equip with one drive for now.  This gives you the ability to move to a RAID setup and also allows relatively simple capacity upgrades should your storage fill up.
Community Veteran
Posts: 26,442
Thanks: 688
Fixes: 8
Registered: 10-04-2007

Re: File and printer sharing: what would I need?

I've already gone to about 5 times what I think I might need.
jelv (a.k.a Spoon Whittler)
   Why I have left Plusnet (warning: long post!)   
Broadband: Andrews & Arnold Home::1 (FTTC 80/20)
Line rental: Pulse 8 Home Line Rental (£13/month)
Mobile: iD mobile (£4/month)
Community Veteran
Posts: 1,894
Thanks: 3
Registered: 20-10-2012

Re: File and printer sharing: what would I need?

Just to add a bit about network scanning.
My HP Photosmart 6520 All-in-One does scan across the network to a selected PC. You just select the PC you would like to scan to on the HP screen, or select the scanner from the PC.
Geoff,
York.
nanotm
Pro
Posts: 5,676
Thanks: 109
Fixes: 1
Registered: 11-02-2013

Re: File and printer sharing: what would I need?

ref the size of the nas unit, I bought mine 6 years ago when I couldn't envisage needing more than 2tb of total space, 2 years ago I bought 2 separate 2tb usb drives (they were cheaper than buying a single 2tb internal drive for the nas unit) and plugged htem into it and last month I got 4 x 2tb wd red drives fitted into it, what I store isn't that much but clearly its a heck of a lot more than I thought I would use half a decade ago when my pc's internal drive was 2 x 250gb in mirror mode, and today I have a 2tb drive for games, a 2tb drive for family pictures a 2tb for movies and another 2tb drive for other stuff (like documents of which it seems like I gain about 2gb every few months)
sure my usage will be different to yours (and probably most other peoples) and my desire to have duplicate storage units keeping everything backed up will likely differ from others, but since I needed office software I decided to utilise the office 365 offer and get 1tb of free shareable storage with the 5 users with 1tb each with up to 5 devices each (£75/yr) to keep some stuff available wherever I might be with multiple copies kept at home.
regardless of how your going ot use your storage, I would recommend you get something that's upgradeable, I would also suggest you check into the power supplies rating as most hard drives draw at least double the power on spin-up that they use under load (making it around 10w during start phase) and units that cant handle the draw will report a drive error, something that has been reported by a lot of people using qnap low power units coupled with wd red drives
just because your paranoid doesn't mean they aren't out to get you