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How to setup a home printer network using ethernet

Greg Tan , Oct 24, 2006; 05:27 p.m.

I have two computers at home. My own computer is connected by USB to an Epson 2200 and as long as I don't use the computer my wife can print to it using the XP network. But if I work on the computer or obviously I bring my laptop with me, she cannot use the printer. If I get a printer (eg. HP B9180) with ethernet port, will I be able to just connect it to my DSL router and all computers on the network can access it? And if so how do I do it?


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Michael Axel , Oct 24, 2006; 06:47 p.m.

Yes, it needs to have ethernet to your router. You'd have to have enough ports on your router to accept it. Usually when you install the software (you may have to reinstall the printer software), it will find the printer on the network. It can be that easy, or it can be more difficult. Obviously you need to install the software on all computers that needs to access the printer. At that point, your USB should not be used.

Keith Van Hulle , Oct 24, 2006; 07:09 p.m.

It almost sounds like you might have a computer issue "if I work on the computer . . .". That should not affect another computer printing to your printer. Read this http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/using/networking/expert/honeycutt_july2.mspx and see if that helps.

Vishal Goklani , Oct 24, 2006; 07:47 p.m.

try an Apple Airport Express, it has a USB port that you attach your printer to. Works like a charm, I have my HP 1022 laserjet sitting in the closet, and an apartment where three people have different laptops with no problems printing (wirelessly). We are all using macs, but I believe it works for PCs too.

Michael Axel , Oct 24, 2006; 08:20 p.m.

I think Greg's computer is acting as the print server, so when it's disconnected to tied up, then no printing can happen. If the printer is connected to the LAN via an ethernet, that should solve the problem.

J Anon , Oct 24, 2006; 09:34 p.m.

get a printer router, attach your printer to it and it to the ethernet router. you'll need to set up the printer on each computer connected to your network. work great. you can get one at any computer store for about $20

Denise D (San Francisco) , Oct 24, 2006; 10:44 p.m.

If you purchase the HP printer with an ethernet jack already in it, then you do not need a print server. In order to get it to work, you need to do two thing: (1) attach the printer to your network and make sure it has an IP address and (2) install the drivers for the printer on each computer that will print to the new printer.

When you purchase the printer, make sure you also purchase an RJ45 ethernet cable because it most likely won't be included in the box with the printer.

When you get it home, read the instructions that came with the printer. You will need to complete (1) before you can do (2). The instruction manaul that comes with the printer should walk you thru the entire process from start to finish and it's really not difficult at all.

Edward Ingold , Oct 25, 2006; 12:31 a.m.

You can attach an inexpensive print server with an USB or parallel port to the Epson printer and connect the server to a hub or router by ethernet. You may lose some of the bi-directional diagnostics, but retain the ability to print. Inkjet printers are tricky because you must stream an enormous amount of data when you print.

It may confuse the printer if more than one person tries to print at one time via a simple print server. If you attach the printer directly to one computer and "share" it on the network, the host printer handles the print queue and local buffering. You should be able to use the host computer for other purposes at the same time, but it may slow down a bit.

I'm using an Epson 2200 with a wireless print server (Linksys). The wireless router/switch handles conflicts with non-printing traffic. I don't know what happens if two users try to print at once - I'm the only user.

Peter Blaise , Oct 25, 2006; 03:37 a.m.

How to setup a home printer network using ethernet - modem, router, switch needed with spare socket, and a sharable printer or print server, and driver software to find the printer in the new location on the Ethernet ...


Earlier: "... what happens if two users try to print at once ..."

The second person's print job queues up and waits just as if they were on their own dedicated computer / printer setup and they sent 2 consecutive print jobs -- the second print job queues up and waits for the first to finish.

Greg, a router often has a 4-port switch on it, and if one of those ports is available, then you can add another Ethernet/TCP/IP device like a computer or Ethernet-ready printer or USB-to-Ethernet print server. If you have no spare network socket to plug into on the Modem/Router/Switch then you'll need to expand from one of your current sockets using an additional switch which will give you (usually) 4 or more additional network sockets to plug into.

The router part itself automatically assigns network addresses to anything plugged in to the switch part. And, by the way, it's not a "DSL router", it's a DSL modem with a router and switch. They are separate services often combined in one box. There are three devices which could be separate or combined: modem, router, switch. Each switch (switches are bidirectional, sending and receiving simultaneously, older "hubs" are unidirectional and slower, sending and receiving as separate tasks) provides one or more Ethernet sockets to plug into, and you can have as many switches as needed for up to 254 devices on one router. As mentioned, you probably have 4 sockets from the switch in the model/router/switch box.

Technical, I know, but without accurate specifics, it can be quite frustrating to get things right and working.

Note that some USB printer software drivers expect the printer to be connected directly to a computer and the software will not install and accept print jobs if the USB printer is on a USB-to-Ethernet printer server box, and so a non-Ethernet USB switch is the only way to connect such printers. This is especially true of bi-directional printers, like those with scanners on top, but even pure printers sometimes talk back to the computer in complex ways, so be prepared for failure when trying to figure out clever ways to share a printer that does not have it's own Ethernet socket on board.

Earlier: "... as long as I don't use the computer my wife can print to it using the XP network. But if I work on the computer or obviously I bring my laptop with me, she cannot use the printer..."

Huh? Do you unplug each computer to use the next computer? How many sockets do you have on the back of the modem/router/switch box after all? You've yet to explain why the second computer can use the first computer's printer if the first computer is not being used, but that the second computer cannot use the first computer's printer if someone is using that first computer.

Please provide additional specific details, and let us know how it is going.

-- Click! Peter Blaise, PC Support in plain language since 1969, Photographer since ... 1962?!

Robert Bowman , Oct 28, 2006; 04:44 p.m.

I'm using an Epson print server to connect my Epson 2200 to my network. It enables the 2200 to connect to the network via ethernet through one of your router ports. No longer manufactured, but can be found in several places, including here:


So maybe you can continue to use your 2200 rather than buying a new printer....

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