Connecting Printers to Your Home Office Network

Wireless NetworkModern households typically have more than one computer, and for all of those computers to access the internet, a home office network is created.  But how can you connect a single printer to that network?  Well, this depends primarily on the type of printer you have and it’s available interfaces.  Each model and manufacturer will be slightly different, so though we will provide general direction, we strongly advise consulting your manual or contacting customer support for more detailed instructions.

USB Printer

If your printer can connect to a computer only via USB port, you have a few options.  You can purchase a network adapter, which will plug into the USB port of the printer then connect via ethernet to the network.  Read the instructions that come with the adapter for specific details and software information.  You also have the option of using a device like the xPrintServer which is not only a network adapter, but allows printing from mobile devices as well.

The most basic option that doesn’t require extra hardware, however, is to plug the printer into one PC and then share it with others.  Keep in mind, though, that the computer attached to the printer does have to be turned on for any printing to happen.  To enable your printer to be shared on a Windows PC:

  1. Go to the Start menu.
  2. Select Printers and Faxes.
  3. Right click the printer’s icon and choose Properties.
  4. Choose the Sharing tab.
  5. Select Share this printer.
  6. Enter a name for the shared printer and click OK.

If you are using a computer with a Mac operating system, here is how you enable the printer to be shared:

  1. Click on System Preferences in the dock and choose Print & Fax or Print & Scan.
  2. Select the plus sign (+).
  3. In the default tab, select Add.
  4. Choose Sharing and click Printer Sharing.
  5. Select the box that represents the printer you are trying to share.

At this point, the host computer is now enabled to share the printer.  To access the shared printer from another Windows PC:

  1. USB Network PrinterGo to the Start menu.
  2. Select Printers and Faxes.
  3. Select Add a Printer.
  4. Choose Network printer, or printer attached to another computer.
  5. Click Next, select the printer, and click Finish.

To connect to the printer via your Mac:

  1. Click on System Preferences in the dock and choose Print & Fax or Print & Scan.
  2. Select the plus sign (+).
  3. Click the Windows icon in the printer browser window.
  4. Select the workgroup name (first column) and click the computer that is connected to the printer.  If applicable, you will enter a user name and password at this point.
  5. Choose the printer that is being shared (third column).
  6. Go to the Print Using menu and select the appropriate printer driver.
  7. Click the Add button.

Now that the computer connected to the printer is enabled for sharing, repeat the above process on the other computers that you wish to print from.

Ethernet Printer

In recent years, ethernet interfaces have become a standard connection option on printers.  Most printers being manufactured today are network-ready, which makes the process of sharing a printer very simple.  Simply plug one end of an ethernet cord into the network router and the other end into the printer.  Once this is done, the printer will usually be automatically accessible on the network.

Wireless Printer

Once you have set up your wireless printer, connecting it to a home office network wirelessly is a fairly simple process as well.  There are only two things you need to know to complete the process: the name of your network and the password.  If no password is required, we recommend changing your security settings so that a password must be entered to access your network, otherwise anyone within range can steal your internet.  Once you turn on your wireless printer, it should scan for local networks.  On the LCD screen of your printer, select your network and enter the password.  If there is a hiccup in this process, visit this article for troubleshooting tips.

Regardless of which type of connection your printer uses, it is possible to share it amongst your home office network.  Be sure to read your printer’s manual and installation instructions if you opt to use universal adapters.  If there is a setup issue or connection failure, contact the printer manufacturer for more detailed help.

Greg Gladman
Greg Gladman has two degrees from the University of Cincinnati and prides himself on managing the operations and customer service at Ink Technologies. With a mind like a vault, he is full of useful and useless information, making him an asset to the company and to his Tuesday night trivia team. When he is not working, he spends his time bowling and playing golf. Greg dedicates much of his free time to raising money and awareness in support of the fight against blood cancers.

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