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Can I share a network printer on two networks

Posted on 2016-09-19
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Last Modified: 2016-10-09
I have a laptop that is not part of the network (on purpose)but wondering if it can use the printer on the network without need to do any changes to the network. by connecting to the printer with a network cable. (A USB cable will not work because of the distance between the printer and laptop)

It's a HP laserjet 4350dtn

It has a slot to add a nic card as well does it have a USB port
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Question by:Abraham Deutsch
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Expert Comment

by:Malmensa
ID: 41805855
Not sure what you are trying to do here.

If you were to unplug the printer from its usual network, and connect it directly to your laptop instead, that would probably work. (If both ends were 100Mb rather than 1Gb, you may need a crossover cable).

Once the printer is pugged directly to your laptop, just set a new IP on your laptop, and set up the printer.
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by:CompProbSolv
ID: 41805887
If you are trying to have nothing on the network other than the printer and your laptop, you'll have to set appropriate IP addresses on both devices.  If the printer has a static IP address now, then you just need to set things up on your computer.  If it uses DHCP, you'd have to set it back when done.

Why not just connect to the physical network with your laptop and access the printer directly?  While you'd be physically connected, you'd not be "part of the network" in terms of security.  Of course, if there is minimal security then there could be concerns.
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by:John Tsioumpris
ID: 41805901
If you have a connection from either networks to the printer you can use it just fine.
I think the easiest case would be to use the USB port and connect it to a router that has print server capabilities and connect through this (the wireless router-->printer)
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by:Dr. Klahn
ID: 41806040
I have a laptop that is not part of the network (on purpose)but wondering if it can use the printer on the network without need to do any changes to the network. by connecting to the printer with a network cable.

Well, yes ... but to avoid connecting the two through a network hub you need a crossover cable, not a standard cable.  The laptop's hardwire network connection must also be configured with a static IP address (unless the printer is the network's DHCP server) that is part of the printer's normal network address block.  That may have undesired effects on the laptop's "normal" networking.

Alternatively you could plug the laptop into a hub or switch on the printer's network, but then again, the laptop must acquire an IP address that is part of the printer's normal network.  This shoots the security aspect of the laptop not being on the network right through the foot.

imo there are only two "easy" solutions:

  • Make the laptop part of the network
  • Buy an inexpensive printer for the laptop
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by:Gareth Tomlinson CISSP
ID: 41806064
As long as there is a routing device between the 2 networks, you can use the printer without any problems.
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Author Comment

by:Abraham Deutsch
ID: 41806276
Sorry for not being clear on the environment and what trying to accomplish.

The printer is part of a network DHCP

The laptop is a standalone although I can add to it a router or switch if needed

What I want to accomplish

Being able to use the printer for the laptop without taking it off the printer from the main network (being able to continue using the printer at the same time on the laptop and on the main network), or adding the laptop to the main network.

On the printer a have a network port which is used by the the main network, a USB port, and a slot to add a network card. (A USB cable from the printer directly to the laptop will not work because a USB cable has limitations on the length)
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by:Dr. Klahn
ID: 41806289
I don't see a simple solution within those limitations, but perhaps someone else has insight.
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by:Abraham Deutsch
ID: 41806352
If I understand correctly john solution will work is this scenario.  Do I have it correct?

If yes do you have a model you would recommend?
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by:IT-Expert
ID: 41806460
Johns solution sounds interesting, otherwise I'd go with the idea of adding another network card in the printer.
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by:John Hurst
ID: 41806480
You need two networks cards in one printer to do what you want in https:#a41806276 .

It really will be vastly simpler to get another printer.
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Author Comment

by:Abraham Deutsch
ID: 41806488
Is it that I can add a network cards into the printer, with one network card plugged the main network and the other to the laptop, will both be able to print having both plugged in together?
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Author Comment

by:Abraham Deutsch
ID: 41806492
Because of space limitations an other printer is not possible
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by:John Hurst
ID: 41806523
I have not seen a printer that will field two network cards and handle two different print jobs over 2 lines.

Make a common folder somewhere on your network, put the files there, log into a connected computer and print that way. That will work. You may need a spare laptop to do this. You could have both machines.
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by:Abraham Deutsch
ID: 41806543
My initial thought was using of a device (if there is) that connects to the USB port on the printer and converts to connect to a network/cable/switch
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by:John Hurst
ID: 41806550
You can certainly get USB print servers that connect to Ethernet. But these are simple things and the USB connection will likely think it owns the printer.

They are cheap. Purchase one and try it.
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by:CompProbSolv
ID: 41807172
" (A USB cable will not work because of the distance between the printer and laptop)"
What is the distance?  There are active USB extension cables that can get up up to 100'.
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Expert Comment

by:Fred Marshall
ID: 41807259
Here is what I would say without trying to get too detailed:
1) It would be best if the printer were a network printer (ethernet with an IP address assigned and plugged into the network via a switch or router port).  I would say that this is "no change to the network" but it may well be a change to the printer connection.  I would assign a static IP address to the printer.
And .. then you would *not* connect the printer via USB any longer - if that's what you have now.
Current printer installations would have to be changed as follows:
The Printer Properties "port" would now need to be TCP/IP and the printer IP address provided.
Now all computers can reach the printer via the network no matter how *they* connect to the network.  Presumably this can be done without re-installing the existing printer setups on various computers .. but no guarantees on that!  :-)

With this, you need to connect the laptop to the network one way or another.
Presumably the laptop is on another subnet.  Yes?
So, you provide a physical connection from the laptop to the subnet with the printer.
This could be wireless if the laptop is wired.
This could be wired if the laptop is connected with wireless.
So, you'd be using two "NICs" on the laptop - which is typically provided.  One on each subnet.
Make the normal connection having the Gateway address filled in.
Make the "printer" connection without a Gateway address.
The laptop will know which NIC to use for the printer as a result of the subnet.

And, this way there should be no firewall issues such as described in:
https://www.experts-exchange.com/articles/17507/Windows-Firewall-Settings-for-Inter-Subnet-Peer-to-Peer-Networks-File-Sharing.html
This might be an issue if you used a router as a bridge between the subnets and only had the laptop on its current subnet.  That would be another way to do this and only use one NIC on the laptop.  Just FYI.
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by:Abraham Deutsch
ID: 41808594
I tried with a long USB cable and the laptop did not recognize the printer (and with a smaller it does) but might be it was not from a brand company or may it be the power the USB get from the laptop is not enough for such distance if so a USB hub with its own power cable my work, is this a possibility?

Would it work if I put a Bluetooth USB into the printer, or needs the printer be a Bluetooth enabled?

(Will look in the network suggestion you posted)
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by:John Hurst
ID: 41808602
The USB in the Printer is not connected to the network card, so no, that will not work.
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by:Abraham Deutsch
ID: 41808613
I'm currently printing via the USB (being connected to the network does not interfere using the USB port) but I need to take the laptop close to the printer and use a short cable
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by:John Hurst
ID: 41829834
You cannot do precisely as you wish. Can you find a small space for another printer (that is a solution that works well and what I would do)?  Or can you close this question another way?
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by:Abraham Deutsch
ID: 41830970
A small printer is not a solution from this laptop I use for heavy printing (over 1500 invoices at once)
What I'm wondering an don't think I got a clear answer if adding a network card will be a solution.
One will go (as is) to the network.  and the other card  with a direct connection (into a switch/router with only the laptop and printer plugged in -This laptop for security reasons is isolated from the company network) to the laptop
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by:John Hurst
ID: 41830988
You cannot do precisely what you want. I have not seen a printer with 2 network cards. That does not mean there isn't one, but none suggested here and I myself have dealt with many printers.

PDF what you want to print, put it on a USB Hard Drive and take it to a computer with a printer.
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by:CompProbSolv
ID: 41831063
As John mentioned above, you could add an inexpensive network print share box.  You would connect to it with a network cable (might require a crossover cable) and connect the print share box to the printer with a USB cable.  As you indicated, the printer seems to allow both at once.

This still requires some sort of cable between your laptop and the printer, unless you go wireless.  Would a 100' USB cable not do the job for you?
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by:Abraham Deutsch
ID: 41831079
A 25' is enough. But for some reason with this size cable the laptop does not detect the printer (in the same time that with a 6' it does)
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Assisted Solution

by:Fred Marshall
Fred Marshall earned 50 total points
ID: 41831081
The printer is already on a network via ethernet, right?
It appears this network subnet is the same as the laptop is on, right?
You want computers from another subnet to be able to print, right?
Please confirm....

I would do this:

Connect a router between the two subnets that's set in "router mode" or "no NAT" mode.
One side of the router would be on one subnet.
The other side of the router would be on the other subnet.
The router would have static IP addresses on both sides that match the subnet.

Under normal circumstances, the router would then allow traffic between the subnets.
So, a computer on the "other subnet" could address the printer by its IP address with the router's local IP address as the next hop.  Or, this routing could be handled once and for all in the network's gateway router and the computers would remain without special routes for this purpose.

If the gateway's route to the printer is for only the printer IP address and not the entire subnet then that should limit traffic between the subnets.

The same treatment should be on the printer's subnet gateway so return packets can get back to the "foreign" computers.

I believe you said that all of these things are acceptable, right?

If inter-subnet traffic really needs to be blocked then you might set routes in the added router to prevent anything but to the printer.  Otherwise computers could be configured to access the opposite subnet.  Not likely but possible.
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Accepted Solution

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CompProbSolv earned 450 total points
ID: 41832283
Was the 25' cable an active one?  I believe that 16' is the maximum length for a passive one.
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by:Abraham Deutsch
ID: 41832332
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by:CompProbSolv
CompProbSolv earned 450 total points
ID: 41832342
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Expert Comment

by:Fred Marshall
ID: 41832667
You should definitely be familiar with the USB cable length limitations.  If someone is recommending longer cables then they should justify doing so - such as using extending devices or from actual experience.  I don't know so I can't.  Here's a reference:
http://www.yourcablestore.com/USB-Cable-Length-Limitations-And-How-To-Break-Them_ep_42-1.html

In the mean time, here is a diagram for what I described earlier.  If a subnet doesn't have a gateway router then the bridging router can be the gateway and will provide internet connection as well.
Bridge-Subnets.pdf
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by:CompProbSolv
ID: 41832803
@Fred:
You are correct that one needs to be careful about USB cable lengths.  While I've not used that specific active USB cable, I have used others (30-35', I believe) without problem.

As mentioned in your link, it is important that the computer can supply ample power to the active cable.
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Author Closing Comment

by:Abraham Deutsch
ID: 41836227
The active USB cable did the job a simple and non expensive solution Thank you
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