Q

How can I make my home printer wirelessly accessible?

I'd like to make my home printer wirelessly accessible to all PCs. What are my options?
Printer sharing over wireless can be accomplished in several ways:

  1. You can purchase a wireless router with a built-in print server. For example, Motorola's SBG1000 SURFboard Wireless Cable Modem Gateway lets you connect a USB printer directly to the gateway. The Gateway can be configured to share that printer with Windows, Mac, or *nix hosts connected to the Gateway via wireless 802.11b or wired Ethernet.

  2. You can use a printer with a built-in or add-on wireless print server. For example, the HP Jetdirect 280m 802.11b wireless print server can be used with many HP personal LaserJet printers, HP business inkjet printers and HP all-in-one peripherals. Any wireless device can print to this print server, using direct peer-to-peer connections or by relaying traffic through a nearby wireless router/AP.

  3. You can turn one of the hosts in your home network into a print server. For example, if you have a desktop connected to your wireless router via Ethernet, just connect a printer to that desktop and enable Windows printer sharing. Choose a host that's always turned on as your print server, because the printer will only be accessible to others when the server is actively connected to your home network.
I have described options for 802.11 Wi-Fi wireless home networks, but similar options are also available for print sharing over 802.15 Bluetooth wireless. You can also print over infrared wireless if both your printer and laptop have infrared ports and you line up your laptop and printer at a distance of no more than a couple of feet.
This was first published in July 2004

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