Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Network Printing - Two Macs, One Printer

The hidden beauty of a home office computer network is sharing a single printer between multiple Macs, (and PCs, too).

A computer network is much more than sharing a single Internet connection. For home office professionals without experience on a larger business or educational network, sharing files and a printer on a home network can be a conceptual challenge.

If you can share the Internet, you can also share files and a printer. Computer networks are designed for sharing multiple types of computing resources — not just the Net connection.

To share a printer requires either a network-ready printer or a print server. Many modern printers designed for the home office are network-ready. Before purchasing, check for this feature as you shop, or consult with me.

Standard USB printers that are not network-ready can also be used on a network. An inexpensive print server is required. All recent Apple AirPorts have a built-in print server. Connect the USB cable for the printer to the AirPort, then setup the driver. If you're using a Linksys or other network switch, a simple print server can be purchased. This print server can be either wired, or wireless. The latter allows the shared printer to be situated in any room in your home office. Do you have a downstairs home office but want a shared printer upstairs? No problem. Can do with wireless print servers.

Your home office network shares many features with larger networks found in schools and traditional business sites. Internet sharing, data storage sharing, file sharing, and shared printing are at your disposal on modern home office networks.

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