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small office group is part of a larger office; want to print locally

Posted on 2008-10-17
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Last Modified: 2010-04-29
There are 7 of us on a client site. Client is on their own wireless network but their printers suck. We want to print locally to our own printer wirelessly. Is that possible? We need to stay connected to the client network when we print. Have an HP all-in-one 4315 but willing to buy different one.

Thanks
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Question by:COBOLforever
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15 Comments
 
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Expert Comment

by:rindi
ID: 22747348
What OS is on the PC's? Is there an Active Directory Domain with enforced policies involved?

If no policies are involved that would disallow local printing ot installing software locally on the PC's, and if the PC's use an m$ OS (2k, XP or Vista), then there should be no problem installing the printer software and the printers locally, and if the printers include a builtin wireless NIC and you have a wireless infrastructure, then you should also not have any issue printing wirelessly.
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Author Comment

by:COBOLforever
ID: 22759139
hmmm ...  all using XP. No issue installing printer software on each machine. No wireless capability on printer. (Can use wireless print server?)  Remember, we are consultants working on a client site and logged into the clients wireless network.  Still do-able?
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Expert Comment

by:rindi
ID: 22763048
It depends on the printer, it's functions and the print server. Usually if it is a printer that only prints (no scanner or fax included), then usually you should be able print over the LAN without issues. Sometimes it also depends on the driver used. If it is a printer that only uses the windows printer system, you can also get issues, while with normal printers there should not be any problems.

The best thing nevertheless, is to get a printer with builtin NIC and wireless. Those will normally work with almost anything and are easiest to setup.
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Author Comment

by:COBOLforever
ID: 22767089
Thanks. So if i get a printer with a built in NIC and wireless, we will ba able to print to it even while being connected to our clients network and with no changes that the client needs to do and in fact the client does not even need to know the printer exists?
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Expert Comment

by:rindi
ID: 22767138
Correct. HP printers with built in NICs and / or wireless NICs include a utility with the printer software you install which searches the LAN for printers compatible with that software. You don't even have to assign them a static IP (although I would do that if you can get the customer to give you a free IP).
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Author Comment

by:COBOLforever
ID: 22767327
Ok. But there is one thing that leaves me with a question. You said that the NIC will have a utility that "searchs the LAN" - - the printer we have will not be known to our client's LAN. Are you suggesting that the 7 of us in the little office here on the client site, somehow define a network group that would be available for communication to the printer?
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Expert Comment

by:rindi
ID: 22767556
No, you just connect the printer to the LAN, install it's software on your PC's, and then that tool gets installed too. If you say that it is a network printer, the utility will then search for printers and list them, and then you can select the one you connected to the LAN.

The printers in the link below work that way, and you can use all functions of it via the LAN (Scanning etc).

http://www.shopping.hp.com/webapp/shopping/can.do?storeName=storefronts&landing=printer&category=Officejet&orderflow=1&a1=Networking&v1=Wireless%2FWired&catLevel=2#bcAnchor
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Author Comment

by:COBOLforever
ID: 22767737
I apologize for my naivete' on this - - but it is when you say "connect the printer to the LAN" that makes me nervous. This needs to work such that the client has no knowledge of the printer. I cannot plug the printer into anything having to do with the clients network. It's not clandestine, it's just that there are stipulatins in the contract that we cannot attach anything to the clients network.

We could do this with sneaker-net by carrying our laptop over to the printer and plugging it into the USB cable. I just want to do the same thing as that, only wirelessly. I'm sort of getting that it is not possible because you keep saying "connect to the LAN".

Is that making sense?

Thanks.
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Expert Comment

by:rindi
ID: 22767868
For wireless only, you would need an additional Wireless Router to which you configure your PC's to. Configure the Router to use a subnet different from the one your wired LAN has (if the PC gets an IP like 192.168.0.6 on the Wired NIC, use something like 192.168.10.1 for the wireless Router). Set the PC's wireless NICs to use static IP's in that subnet of the router (192.168.10.2 -> PC1, 192.168.10.3 -> PC3 ...), give them the subnet mask of 255.255.255.0, and leave all other settings empty (don't assign gateway or DNS server address, that is handled by the wired NIC). You can configure the printer's wireless NIC to either have a static ip or not, that shouldn't matter, just make sure the router's DHCP range doesn't include the static IP's you have assigned the PC's. That should be it.
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Author Comment

by:COBOLforever
ID: 22767904
Ah. Now I'm seeing.  There may be a problem though. We are not hard-wired to the client's LAN, it is wireless. Is that a problem?
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Expert Comment

by:rindi
ID: 22767947
You would have to add additional wireless NICs to your PC's in that case, so the 2 nets are separate. If your PC's are Laptops with builtin Wireless, you could get USB wireless NICs.
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Author Comment

by:COBOLforever
ID: 22767999
I see. So a wireless router (or is it print server?) for the printer, and a separate wireless NIC for each of the PC's.

And the laptops could be connected wirelessly to the client LAN and print to the printer at the same time?

So as long as the configuration is correct, you can run two wireless connections at once then I guess?

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Accepted Solution

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rindi earned 500 total points
ID: 22768077
No, just a wireless router and additional wireless NICs for each PC. Those printers I linked to above already include builtin wireless capabilities, I would only get printers that have that included as 3rd party print servers don't usually work well. You could of course also place the router and the printer close to each other, then you can connect the printer to the router with an ethernet cable, so also a printer that only has a builtin ethernet NIC would do fine.

Then you'd have 2 wireless LANs, one of them just used for printing.
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Author Closing Comment

by:COBOLforever
ID: 31507094
Thanks a lot rindi. That should do it. I am assuming I can fumble my way through setting up the wireless nics.

Also - thanks for your patience and thorough answers.
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LVL 88

Expert Comment

by:rindi
ID: 22768149
Your welcome
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