by January 30, 2004 0 comments

So far there have been two ways to connect a printer–either directly to a computer via parallel or USB cable or to the network via an Ethernet port. In both cases the printer connection is wired. This imposes a restriction on where you can place the printer in your office. If a department in your organization has a requirement for a new printer, then you must free up space next to a computer or find a place with a free network port to put the printer. This may not always be possible, and you may want to keep the printer in a remote location. This is where wireless printing comes into the picture. Just like you can have wireless notebooks and computers, you can also have wireless printers in your office using the same 802.11x standard. While a local printer can only be kept a few feet away from the computer, a wireless printer can even be kept as far as 50 meters away. In this article, we’ll see how to set up wireless printing.

Two options are available: a printer with built-in wireless capabilities and/or a wireless print server that can convert your existing printers into wireless. We will demonstrate setting up a wireless printer by using a Samsung ML-2152W laser printer with built-in Wi-Fi access. This is a combination of a wireless print server and printer bundled together in a single device. We will also use a Linksys print server connected via an ordinary parallel port cable to a Samsung SF-5100P laser printer. Both offer the same functionality. The Samsung printer supports the IPP or the Internet Printing Protocol, which would let you print to it through a Web browser. The Linksys print server has an additional feature to download your e-mail and print it. 

Configuring wireless printer setup
Connect the SF-5100P laser printer to the Linksys print server through the parallel port interface. If your printer only has a USB interface, then USB-based wireless print servers are also available. Both the print server and wireless printer also have an Ethernet port to connect to your main network. Both of them must be connected to the main network for the first time in order to be configured. By default they are both configured to take the IP address from a DHCP server on your network. Let them take a free IP for the first time. After this, determine this IP to access their configuration through a Web browser. In the Samsung wireless printer, you can find out by printing its configuration, which would give you its network settings along with the assigned IP address. In case of the Linksys print server, you can also print its configuration, but you’ll need to have a non-postscript printer connected to it. It’s recommended that you assign them a static IP address later so that you can easily access their configuration screens from any desktop.

Next you have to configure the wireless properties. If you already have a WLAN (Wireless LAN) setup in place, then make the print server or the wireless printer a part of it. To do this, open their wireless configuration screens through a Web browser and select Infrastructure wireless operation mode. Enter the SSID and WEP key of your WLAN and they’ll become a part of your existing wireless LAN setup. If you don’t have a WLAN in place, you can use these devices in ad-hoc mode from the same configuration interface. Here again, you need to provide the SSID and WEP key of your Ad-hoc setup if you have. 

You can now remove the Ethernet cables from both devices if you want. The Infrastructure mode configuration will allow both wired and wireless clients on your network to access the printers. In ad-hoc mode they are only accessible to wireless clients.

Configure client access
On the client you require two things. First you need to install the software that will detect the Linksys wireless print server and the Samsung wireless printer. It detects and finds these devices irrespective of whether they have a static or dynamic IP address. Once these devices have been found, you’ll be prompted to provide the drivers for a printer that’s connected to it. In Samsung’s case, you’ll need to provide the drivers for the printer, while in the case of Linksys, you’ll need to provide drivers for the printer that’s connected to it. Install the necessary drivers and the clients are ready
to print to your wireless printing  system.

Anoop Mangla

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