Printing via Network
Linux & Mac OSX
Sharing printers between these environments should generally work, because both use same CUPS printing sub-system. CUPS is a newer printing sub-system, for which the key advantages include:
- supports a wide range of printers dating back to before 1990
- regardless of Operating System version
- when printing via network, printers are automatically discovered
- does not require any printer driver or configuration on the desktop/laptop PC
- substantially simplifies printing configuration for networked PC
- facilitates printing from a laptop/netbook/tablet computer being used away from its home location
- might permit printing from a computer where the administrator password (which may be required to install drivers) is unknown.
CUPS admin is accessed via the URL https://localhost:631 - which does not require active Internet connection. Alternatively, an applet "Print Settings" may be used - if not installed, obtain from package "system-config-printer"
- to share a printer via a Linux/OSX server or another Linux/OSX machine see Sharing Printers via CUPS
- to use a printer via a NAS, see the documentation for the NAS, which varies widely
- alternatively, to print to a printer that is directly attached to the wired or wireless network, set it up via Control Panel or CUPS admin on the PC/laptop
- consider setting up one PC & printer this way as a contingency for failure of the print server/NAS.
- to print via Samba to a printer attached to a Windows machine – use the Samba option via Ctl Panel or CUPS admin on the PC/laptop
- this option requires CUPS printer driver available for and installed on PC/laptop
Windows 8 and later should automatically discover any network printers. If not, then printing can be done directly to most printers that are attached to a wired or WiFi network , without the need for a print server, after the following manual configuration:
- install relevant printer driver on PC
- drivers from the manufacturer's CD or web-site often provide better functionality than inbuilt Windows drivers
- go to Control Panel -> Hardware & Sound -> Device & Printers -> Add a Printer
- click -> the Printer that I want is not Listed
- select Add a Printer using TCP/IP address or hostname
- on next screen
- enter IP address of the printer
- enter (arbitrary) port name
- on next screen select relevant printer driver
- after installation completes, right click on printer icon and select "Printing Preferences" -> "Advanced"
- set paper to A4 or A3, as appropriate
Printer Attached to non-Windows Computer
Low Cost Alternatives
A lower tech solution for small LAN, having Windows as well as other OS, is long "USB" cables
- the limit of length to 5 metres for USB cables can be overcome by using a pair of USB-Ethernet/RJ45 converters, which enable a USB printer to be accessed from up to 100 metres over Cat 5 cabling.
- sets of these converters are available from specialisist computer hardware suppliers
- might variously be described as "printer extenders" "USB extenders" etc
- although this is not network printing, it can suffice.