The DataPro ParaLink converter connects a computer to
a printer up to 1300 feet away. That's right: you can plug
your computer into a printer that's a quarter of a mile away. That's
more than four times the standard usable range of CAT5 wire, and eighty-six times
farther than USB will go.
What use could possible exist for a printer and computer to maintain
such a long-distance relationship? Well, if you were hiding in your
secret underground lair and wanted to deliver messages to the volcano's
surface a quarter of a mile above you, this would do the trick. If you're
working on top-secret operations and can't trust your print jobs over the
"public internet", this would circumvent potentially-wiretapped lines.
The Paralink device consists of a transmitter and a receiver. The
transmitter plugs directly into a IEEE-1284 Parallel port (DB25F);
the receiver plugs into a Centronics Parallel type printer
(CN36F), the clunky snap-in thing with the metal clips.
The transmitter and receiver are sold as a set, and function in place
of a standard parallel printer cable.
The connection between the two devices is via RJ1104 on UTP wire
or standard Telco type flat wire (basic four-pin telephone wire).
Unlike typical Telco (telephone) wiring, however, the wire map used
for ParaLink is pin-to-pin, not cross-over.