Networking Printers

One common misconception about network printing is that it’s only possible if your printer comes equipment with an Ethernet network port. Thankfully, this just isn’t true. The real story is that you can make any printer network-accessible by connecting it to a networked PC with a suitable operating system. So, it is possible for computers on your network to print to a printer attached to a Windows 95 system via a parallel cable, or a printer connected to Windows XP via USB. No built-in networking support for the printer is required.

While “sharing” a printer connected to a PC is still the most popular way to network a printer, it’s far from the only option. Some printers do come with built-in networking support, especially higher-end models. Another option is to connect your printers to a dedicated print server, of the wired or wireless variety.

The method that you choose will depend on your particular requirements, existing hardware, and of course your budget. The good news is that network printing solutions come in all shapes and sizes. Once you set up network printing on your network, you’ll wonder how you ever got by without it.

Author: Dan DiNicolo

Dan DiNicolo is a freelance author, consultant, trainer, and the managing editor of He is the author of the CCNA Study Guide found on this site, as well as many books including the PC Magazine titles Windows XP Security Solutions and Windows Vista Security Solutions. Click here to contact Dan.