I've done a bit of research on the Internet, and it looks like I'm at a dead end.

My goal is to minimize cost, and be able to send and print documents automatically (approximately 10 or 20 pages per day) to a laser printer in a remote office.

The preliminary method is to use: iOS 5.1.1 (jailbroken) with 3G connection, HP (or other brands) printer with AirPrint, iCloud Documents and maybe write some launchd scripts to monitor any new documents in iCloud. Maybe with other software. I am not sure yet.

By using the cloud, I can upload new docs to the cloud anywhere in my city, and the iOS will be able to see them within a reasonable amount of time, then print it.

But it seems this combo is not workable.

Anyone got any advice on how to make this set up work, or propose other alternatives? Currently I have a 3GS with 3G connectivity spare. Need to buy a new printer though.

  • if the printer is stationary, why is iOS initiating the print job? Why not setup a desktop machine to monitor a shared folder and submit jobs to the printer? And I don't follow how AirPrint will help - if the printer is on a remote network, and your iOS device is on 3G, it will not be able to see the AirPrint printer. – Jason Aug 20 '12 at 2:07
  • I guess I wasn't clear how the iOS device is used... it is to hook up to the printer, both in the remote office. – charleslcso Aug 20 '12 at 6:24

AirPrint isn't likely to help you here. It's a basically a local network only technology, because of how it functions, it's very unlikely that you could get it working over an iOS device's 3G connection. The only way I could see it working is with a VPN, but I'm not aware of any solutions that can pipe AirPrint over a VPN.

What I would suggest (in rough form) is using email or Dropbox to send documents to be printed remotely. Pretty much any document you can access on iOS can be sent via email or Dropbox.

The basic idea is a computer running in your office that monitors an email address and/or a Dropbox folder, and automatically prints email attachments or files in the Dropbox folder. How you go about this depends on what software you're running on that computer, but on a Mac, you could print email attachments using Mail.app's rules filtering and some AppleScript, or files in Dropbox using a Folder Action.

  • Yup. I agree with your suggestion. But me bad that I wasn't clear with my original post. The iOS device is to placed in the remote office, along with the printer, so that the iOS device can continue monitoring the Internet for new documents. This will save me quite a bit of hassles because the I don't have to place a computer in my business partner's office. So my goal is to run something very simple, without taking up much electricity, maintenance and without subscribing to broadband service at that remote office. – charleslcso Aug 20 '12 at 6:26

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