Network Printer: Means of Sharing and Benefits
Most households today have two or more computers so it is quite convenient for each user to share a single printer connected to the home network. There are several ways to connect a printer to your home network so it can be shared with every user who has access. Depending on the wireless capability of your printer, you may be able to set it up over the network without using any LAN cable or print server connector. In most cases though, using one of these components will work just as well.
Sharing via LAN or Ethernet Port
Position your printer near your router. Using an Ethernet cable, connect your printer’s Ethernet port to any available LAN port on your router.
Assign a static IP address from your computer to your printer manually or just allow your DHCP server to designate one for it automatically. A Dynamic Host Control Protocol server, or DHCP server, is responsible for assigning dynamic IPs to the devices you attach to your PC, such as a network printer or a shared media server. To establish a static IP address for your printer, run your favorite browser and type the IP address of your network printer and press Enter. Next, click on the Networking tab and click Wired under Connections. Select Manual IP under IP Address Configuration and enter the IP address, subnet mask, and default gateway in the correct boxes. Click “Apply” and restart your computers in your network so they can find your newly established static IP for your network printer.
Install the printer driver on each of your computers to share the network printer. Once the driver is installed, go to your computer’s Control Panel and click “Printers and Faxes.” When your network printer displays, right-click it and click Properties. Go to the Sharing tab and designate a share name for your network printer. After a share name is designated, choose the Share this printer radio button and then click Apply.
Now for your network to access the printer, you must assign it under the same domain of your computers. Simply right-click My Computer on your desktop and click Properties. Under System Properties, find the Change button down the bottom right to determine the name or description of your computer. Go back to your printer by clicking Start on the bottom left, then find your Printers and Faxes. Click Add a printer and designate it as a network printer once the computer finds it.
Specify the printer that you will be connecting to by assigning entering its name on the second option which is “Connect to this printer.” The name should be the combination of your computer name and printer name to work. Click Next and when prompted to log in, use the same username and password you created to access your Windows operating system. That’s it! Your computer can now print to your printer as much as you’d like.
Sharing via Wireless Connection
Connect your printer to your wireless router if it is equipped with wireless connectivity.
Enter your wireless SSID and security key for the printer to enable it on the network using your computer. SSID, or Service Set Identifier, is a secret token assigned by a wireless network administrator to identify the network, and it is necessary to assign it in order to secure the printer from unauthorized access of other computers not belonging to your network domain.
Install the printer driver and any associated software on all the computers on your home network to activate wireless printer sharing.
Test your wireless printer by printing a document or an image from any of your computers on the network. If successful, you may now enjoy printing wirelessly in your home where a good network signal is available.
Sharing via USB/Parallel Print Server
Connect the LAN port of your USB/parallel print server gadget using an Ethernet cable to connect your router to the USB/parallel port on your printer. You can use either a USB or parallel cable, whichever connection your printer supports. Wait for your router to assign an IP to your printer.
Open your Internet browser and log in to the print server to configure it for network printing. Follow the instructions on your device’s owner’s manual to establish the correct settings for this task.
Install the print server driver and the software supplied by its manufacturer on all your computers to enable network printing. Test each computer by printing a document or an image to ensure successful printer sharing.
To accomplish this project successfully, remember to always read your printer’s manual before installing your printer on the network to ensure that all settings are entered correctly. Use only the accessories supplied with your printer by the manufacturer to prevent incompatibility issues when connecting your printer on the network. Do not share your printer’s SSID and security key with people who are not connected to your network to prevent possible security issues, and finally, use a longer LAN cable if you cannot get your printer close enough to your router to avoid putting tension on the cable. That’s it! Enjoy using your network printer!