Network Printer Configuration
Different ways for configuring network printers
Technically speaking a network printer is a printer that has a built-in Network Interface Card (NIC). This card allows the printer to connect to the network of the switching device without the need of a host computer. A printer with the NIC eliminates the need for complicated network printer configuration because it simplifies the way it is set up within the network. A network printer is not necessary in order to share a printer within a home/office network.
Three ways for configuring a network printer are as follows:
- Use Windows Add Printer Wizard
- Using external print servers
- Using printers with built-in Network Interface Card
Use Windows Add Printer Wizard
This is the most common way to share printers in a network, especially if the printer is to be shared in a home or small office. As long as there is an existing network in the home/office, then sharing a printer on the same network is easy. The first step is to install the printer on a networked computer. Once the printer is installed, right click the printer icon and select ‘Sharing.’ Once the menu is opened, the wizard allows you to download drivers that will allow the printer to be accessed by any computer with any operating system on it.
Using external print servers
Windows sharing based printers are dependent on the computer where the printer is attached. This means that if the computer is turned off, or is in the sleep/hibernate mode, then all the computers that can print through that server will not be able to print. To solve this issue you can use external print servers to share printers in the home/office. External print servers are connected to the router which allows it to be available on the network without being dependent on any other computer system. External print servers are available in both wireless and wired versions, and the choice between those options is based on the needs of the home or office.
Using printers with built-in Network Interface Card
The first two options are for those who already have a printer that the home or office needs to share over a network. If you looking to buy a new printer that you will share over the network, it is highly recommended that a printer with a built-in NIC is purchased. This third kind of printer eliminates the hassles of network printer configuration that the first two ways go through. This option is slightly more expensive than the first two options, but the price difference can outweigh the hassles that configuration and set-up brings.
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