General Question

Quagmire's avatar

Does a network printer have to be connected to one computer?

Asked by Quagmire (2083 points ) August 15th, 2009

I have a wireless network with which my desktop computer accesses the internet. Does my printer have to be physically connected to the desktop or can the desktop access it wirelessly as well? I intend to get a laptop and access the printer wirelessly from the laptop which I KNOW can be done. But does the printer have to be connected to at least one computer?

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16 Answers

R4's avatar

If it’s a network printer (a.k.a. a printer with it’s own networkcard) I doesn’t have to be connected to a computer.

If it’s an “ordinary” printer (USB-port usually), you can access it over the network by hooking it up to a computer.

Just too clarify:
Printer with it’s own networkcard, no need for computer!
Printer without networkcard, must be hooked up to a computer!

I hoped this helped :)

Quagmire's avatar

It’s an HP 8200 I bought a few years ago. A USB connection.

But then how does the second computer access it wirelessly if it doesn’t have a network card?

R4's avatar

Just hook it up to a computer and share it over the network, I’ll see if i find a guide…

Edit: google is your friend and maybe this’ll help.
http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/using/networking/expert/honeycutt_july2.mspx

eponymoushipster's avatar

If you have a router with a USB port, you should be able to plug the printer in and share it over the wireless network of that router. Apple Airport Extreme does this, for example.

R4's avatar

@eponymoushipster this isn’t fully true. Becasue almost all routers with an USB port uses it only to import/export settings. There is however some that are capable of sharing printers.

It even possible to buy an USB to ethernet adapter… but that will probably be almost as expensive as buying a new printer…

eponymoushipster's avatar

@R4 the USB-ported routers i’ve used have been capable of this. and the Airport, which i mentioned, is capable of this, or a hard drive, or even a USB hub.

dynamicduo's avatar

There are printers that work like this nowadays (as in, the printer can be a stand alone unit not connected to any computer), but they are more expensive, and your printer is not one of them.

The way “network printing” (more specifically printer sharing) works is that you have your desktop and the printer installed as usual. Then you share the printer over the network. When your laptop wants to print something out, it is really sent to the desktop (now acting as the printing server) to print. This means the desktop needs to be turned on for you to print from the laptop.

DarkScribe's avatar

@R4 this isn’t fully true. Becasue almost all routers with an USB port uses it only to import/export settings.

R4 this isn’t true – because almost all modern routers with USB port can be used for access by printers and back-up drives etc. You are a bit behind the times, Every router I have has printer access if required, and the Airport Express routers add music distribution.

PerryDolia's avatar

HP says on their product page that this printer has normal connectivity using the USB port, and optional wireless or bluetooth connectivity using “HP bt300 Wireless Printer Adapter or HP bt450 Bluetooth Wireless Printer and PC Adapter.”

Sounds like you have to buy an accessory part for the printer.

Quagmire's avatar

I learned a lot from you guys on this. I’m really glad I asked. Thanks!

@PerryDolia, or, it seems, get a router with a USB port.

@DarkScribe, so you can connect any USB device to some modern routers and access the device wirelessly? Then if you attach a hub you can expand the number of devices that you can access wirelessly?

eponymoushipster's avatar

@Quagmire yes, a hub will work too, as i said in this quip. So you can have several hard drives and a printer.

Here’s an interesting subquestion: if you have aperture on your mac, can you tether via a usb hub on your router?

Quagmire's avatar

I use a PC

eponymoushipster's avatar

@Quagmire right. but the hub thing should work with whatever system.

the question regarding aperture was directed at everyone. sorry if it wasn’t clear.

DarkScribe's avatar

@eponymoushipster but the hub thing should work with whatever system. the question regarding aperture was directed at everyone. sorry if it wasn’t clear.

I use a remote USB security camera to enable me to watch the front of the house when I need to do so. I simply loaded the software onto an iMac and plugged the camera into an Airport Express. I can also use it to watch the swimming pool when ankle-biters are in it. I don’t use it to tether though, I use direct tethering in the studio – no need for remote – but I see no reason why it wouldn’t work.

rotalop's avatar

If the printer is a wireless printer (HP Officejet Pro 8500) does the printer need to be physically connected to one computer or can all computers in the home access the printer without any of the computers being connected to the printer?

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