Traditionally, a printer in someone’s home was connected to one computer and all printing was done from that computer only. Network printing extends this capability to other devices at home and even remotely over the Internet.

Printers with built-in network capability

A class of printers often referred to as network printers , specially designed to connect directly to a computer network. Large companies have long been integrating these printers into their company networks so that their employees can share them. However, they are not suitable for homes, are built for intensive use, are relatively large and noisy, and are generally too expensive for the average household. Network printers for home and small business look similar to other types, but have Ethernet port while many newer models have a built-in wireless function WiFi . To set up these types of printers on a network:

  1. Update the printer settings (for example, wireless encryption keys WPA or addressing DHCP ) to connect to the local network.

  2. For Ethernet-enabled printers, connect the printer to network router using an Ethernet cable.

  3. For Wi-Fi enabled printers, link the printer to a wireless router or other wireless access point.

Network printers usually allow you to enter configuration data through a small keyboard and screen on the front of the device. The screen also displays error messages that are helpful in troubleshooting.

Add a network printer using Microsoft Windows

All modern versions of Windows include the File and Printer Sharing feature for Microsoft Networks, which allows you to share a printer connected to one PC with other PCs in the local area. networks . This method requires the printer to be actively connected to the PC and that PC is running so that other devices can connect to the printer through it. To connect the printer to the network using this method:

  1. Enable sharing on the computer. In the Network and Sharing Center of the Control Panel select » Change advanced system settings» in the left menu and set the option » Enable Sharing to files and printers» .

    Screenshot of advanced sharing settings in Windows with
  2. Close the window and select » Devices and Printers» or » Printers and Scanners» in the start menu.

    Screenshot of Windows Start Menu with Printers and Scanners option highlighted
  3. Select Printer Properties after right clicking on the target computer and check » Share this printer» on the Sharing tab.

    Screenshot of printer settings in Windows with Sharing tab highlighted and Sharing checked
  4. Printers can be installed on the PC through Devices and Printers. Some printers also come with software utilities (either on a CD or downloaded from the Internet) when they are purchased to simplify the installation process, but they are usually not required.

In Microsoft Windows 7 added a new feature called home group which includes support for networking the printer, as well as file sharing. To use a homegroup for printer sharing, create it using the HomeGroup option in Control Panel, make sure Printers is enabled (for sharing), and join other computers to the group accordingly. This feature only works on Windows computers that are in a homegroup that shares the printer.

Network printers using non-Windows devices

Non-Windows operating systems include slightly different methods to support network printing:

  • In older versions MacOS X, a Print Center utility was provided for configuring printers connected to Mac computers . Current versions have added the ability to automatically detect and add specific types of printers using the manual setup options under Print and Fax in System Preferences.
  • Apple AirPrint Enables Wi-Fi wireless printing on Apple iOS devices, including iPhone and iPad. AirPrint support requires the use of a custom built printer of the same brand.
  • Various flavors of Unix/Linux provide general support for network printing. User interface details vary, but most are based on a common Unix printing mechanism called CUPS.

Wireless print servers

Many older printers connect to other devices via usb, but do not support Ethernet or WiFi . Wireless print server is a special universal gadget, which connects these printers to a wireless home network . To use wireless print servers, connect the printer to USB port servers and connect the print server to your wireless router or access point.

Using Bluetooth printers

Some home printers offer possibility Bluetooth connections usually switched on with a connected adapter, not built-in. Bluetooth printers are designed to support general purpose printing from mobile phones. Since this is a short-range wireless protocol, Bluetooth-enabled phones must be located in close proximity to the printer for this operation to work.

Print from the cloud

Cloud printing allows you to send jobs wirelessly from computers and phones connected to the Internet to a remote printer. This requires the printer to be connected to the Internet and requires special software.

Google Cloud Print is one of the types cloudy systems printing popular especially on Android phones. Google Cloud Print requires either a custom built printer that is ready for Google Cloud Print or a computer connected to a network printer with the Google Cloud Print Connector software.

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