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  1. #1
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    How to use router USB ports?

    Well, here's my next ignorant router question.

    In shopping around, I've found that, other than speed, most of the basic features and functions are common to just about all routers. The one feature that is not is USB ports. Some have 2 ports, some have 1 port, and some have none. Those that have ports sometimes have version 2.0; others have 3.0.

    I'm trying to decide how important this feature is, or should be, to me. (Sorry, I tried to search the forums before posting, because I'm sure this has been discussed before, but you can't search "USB"--it's too short.) I assume that to attach a printer or hard drive to a router port and use it, it would need to be network enabled; is that right? Or can I use my existing equipment?

    Also, what would be the advantage of attaching my equipment directly to the router rather than to a computer on the network, since with it attached to a computer, it can still be accessed by other devices on the network?

    If anyone can point me to a Web page that explains all of this, I would appreciate it.

    Thanks!

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  3. #2
    Silver Lounger mrjimphelps's Avatar
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    On some routers, you can plug an external USB hard drive to the USB port, resulting in a network drive.

  4. #3
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    Super Moderator jwitalka's Avatar
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    You can also plug in a usb printer and share it on your local network. The main advantage to using the router USB connection to share a hard drive or printer vs sharing it on a PC is you don't have to have the PC with the shared device powered up all the time.

    Jerry

  6. #5
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    Thanks, everyone for your replies. Sudo15, the PC World article was interesting and mentioned several other USB possibilities I hadn't thought of. I still don't have an answer, though, to the question of whether or not the attached devices need to be specifically engineered for network use. Or can I just unplug the hard drive and printer from my PC and plug them into the router?

    I haven't been able to watch the YouTube video because it won't play. My ISP? My ISP's DSL modem/router? Who knows? I can't wait to switch.

    jwitalka, if that's the only advantage of connecting to the router, it's not a big deal for me because my PC is on pretty much all the time, anyway.

    This one USB issue is the one thing holding me back from selecting and ordering a router. I really think I would like to have a USB 3.0 port (just in case?), but not a lot of routers have them, and those that do tend to be expensive. If I can some real utility to having one, I'd pay the extra money, but if I paid for it and never used it....

    Technology decisions are tough!

  7. #6
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    If you are using IE then go Tools - Internet options and under the Advanced tab check the box for Use software rendering instead of GPU rendering (it's the first one).

    This can sometimes resolve video viewing problems.

    The YT video was particularly interesting as it showed you how to view the files on an USB flashdrive after connecting the USB to the router's port with a short USB cable.

    I have an USB 2.0 port on my ISP supplied router but as I only ever have one machine in use at any one time and use my printer wirelessly, I don't need to hook anything up.

    These are written instructions for hooking up an external HDD using the USB port http://techchannel.radioshack.com/co...uter-1602.html
    Last edited by Sudo15; 2014-06-18 at 03:11.

  8. #7
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    Thanks again, Sudo15. The techchannel link was useful. Who knew Radio Shack had a site like this?

    I'm actually using Safari on a Mac while my PC is being repaired, but I think the problem is with my ISP. This isn't a constant problem; some days and times are better than others, but usually I can watch YouTube videos.

  9. #8
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    I didn't realize Radio Shack were still going.

    Their local shop turned into Tandys and that closed years ago - long before Internet.

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    4 Star Lounger access-mdb's Avatar
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    Looks like Tandy are still going, albeit online - http://www.tandyonline.co.uk/. I too thought they had gone the way of so many shops and businesses...

    Radio Shack are still going but it seems, only in the US.

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    Actually, we still have at least 3, maybe 4, within 15 miles of me. I know they are in the process of closing some of their stores, though.

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    Quote Originally Posted by magicspeller View Post
    Actually, we still have at least 3, maybe 4, within 15 miles of me. I know they are in the process of closing some of their stores, though.
    That's probably the result of more and more online shopping - but didn't know that about Tandys still trading.

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    We had a locall-owned Radio Shack in town [size about 6,000] which also rented videos and one evening some idiots put firecrackers in the return slot and it burned down, put them out of business, nearest is not over 35 miles away.

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    Silver Lounger mrjimphelps's Avatar
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    There are at least four Radio Shacks in my city which have been open for a very long time. They seem to be doing well.

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    Not sure if Maplins have filled the void left by Radio Shack/Tandy in the UK but they have closed at least one biggish shop that I know of.

    ##Hope they caught the brainless people who did that to the store !

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    As far as i know, any external hard drive with a USB connector should work just fine when connected to a router's USB port. And, it gives any computer on your LAN (home network) access to data stored on that drive.

    Regarding USB printers, it may be easy to use one through your router's USB port. We have a Western Digital N900 router with two USB ports. Western Digital's website has a very small free downloadable program called WD PrintShare that you install on each computer you want to print from. It allows the computer you're using to connect to the printer and print whatever you want. After a few minutes of inactivity the printer goes back to being available for other computers. Many routers probably have a similar app available if you check their website.

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