How does that sound? Exciting, isn’t it. The inspiration behind this article is a headline I read about the introduction of AirPrint technology in the latest ios 4.2 software for iPads. Before elaborating on AirPrint software, this is to just give a basic idea of wireless printing and how it can be setup in the comfort of our homes.
With the advent of plug-and-play wireless networks, no longer does a printer have to be tethered directly to your computer. Whether you’re sharing a printer with multiple computers or you want to be able to print from any room where you’re using a laptop, wireless printing is an easy thing to setup.
What do we need for this setup?
- Wireless network
- Cables (either Category 5, USB or parallel, depending on your printer and network configuration)
- Wireless print server (optional, depending on your printer)
How do we go about this whole process?
Here are the instructions step-wise:
Step 1: Determine the best location for the printer. Often the situation dictates this. If there are multiple computers sharing the printer, then convenient placement is best. As long as there is a strong wireless signal available, anywhere is good.
Step 2: Set up printers hardwired into the network. If your printer is network-enabled (meaning it has a built-in Ethernet jack), then simply using a Cat 5 cable connects it to the network. Once it’s on the network, all users can easily access the printer.
Step 3: Use a wireless print server if there isn’t a network jack (or router) available to plug your printer into. These are available for both Ethernet and USB-enabled printers, so this is an extremely common scenario. Before attaching your printer, confirm that the print server is visible on the network.
Step 4: Set up printers with built-in wireless capability. Make sure you correctly configure the TCP/IP address, subnet mask and router info. Some models allow you to set this up directly on the printer itself, while others use proprietary software or are designed to use a Web browser.
What do we do if we have older printers?
Step 1: Print wirelessly to a printer that is attached to another computer by enabling Printer Sharing on the host computer. This is the best bet for older printers that are attached via parallel cable. Important note: The host computer MUST be attached to the network!
Step 2: Add the printer to all the computers. You can use the manufacturer’s CD, but a better bet is to download the drivers from the Web, since up-to-date drivers tend to be more stable. Windows users then can add the printer by going to “Printers” in the Control Panel. Macintosh users add the printer by going to “Printers & Fax” in the System Preferences. (If you’re a Linux user, then you should already know how to add a printer!)