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Author Topic: Printer network  (Read 1414 times)

dMbTiger

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Printer network
« on: December 30, 2013, 10:19:30 PM »
I have 7 PCs running various versions of windows 7 and one running windows 8. They are all networked WI-FI in various locations in my home. I have an HP printer hardwired to one of the W7s.  I'd like all of the PCs to be able to print to the one printer. Cost is a major factor, so I need a cheap solution The only two ways I've been able to ID to do this is either through a Microsoft Homegroup network or Google Cloud Print.  My printer is not one that's on the Google list of compatible printers, and assuming I went out and bought one, I have no assurance that I could get that approach to work.   I tried setting up a Homegroup and got as far as getting the PC the printer is on to recognize two of the other PCs.  Even so, I can't any of the PCs to talk to each other.  I spent several days wandering around on various forums, and none of the posts I found there were helpful.   Mostly they appeared to be single responses thrown out by people making dumb wild guesses for the sake of scoring ego points.  I need someone (or one +) knowledgeable enough to stick with me until I work through the problem.  If I go the Google approach, I'm willing to buy one of the cheaper compatible printers, but I'd rather not since I'm on a fixed income with a negative cash flow.   The Homegroup road looks to be very, very messy from what I saw on the forums, and Microsoft has nothing useful that I could find in their Knowledgebase.  They seem to pretty much steer clear of the whole Homegroup subject.  

So would someone open a discussion with me....please!                   Dan
Dan

mouser

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Re: Printer network
« Reply #1 on: December 30, 2013, 10:49:42 PM »
Quote
an HP printer hardwired to one of the W7s

Connected how? USB or traditional printer port?

I don't have much experience with such things, but as you say, it should be possible to do what you want using workgroup stuff -- that's how things used to be done in the early days before networked printers.



HOWEVER, my impression is that going the workgroup route or otherwise trying to print from one computer through another, is bound to be frustrating and flakey.



What i would do if i were in your place is EITHER buy a new network-capable printer.  Whether that's a printer that can use wi-fi or one that connects directly to your router via ethernet, same deal.

That way the printer is a first class part of your network that all computers can see.

Actually however, that reminds me that i think if your printer is a USB printer, you can probably buy a router with usb printer support that would also make your printer a first class citizen in your network.  So you might be able to buy a new router instead of a new printer -- choose the one that is oldest/cheapest.
« Last Edit: December 30, 2013, 11:03:12 PM by mouser »

Stoic Joker

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Re: Printer network
« Reply #2 on: December 31, 2013, 12:02:14 AM »
In addition to the above. (Very important) What model HP printer do you have? Because if it uses a host based driver it can be a real PITA trying to get it to behave properly on the wire.

Also there are small print server devices that are fairly cheap ($20-30) if your router doesn't have one built in. Or the option of adding a network card (More specifically one of HP's EIO JetDirect cards) directly to the printer depending on what model it is.

Did I mention it would be like super handy to know what the exact HP model number was...? ;)

Shades

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Re: Printer network
« Reply #3 on: December 31, 2013, 06:35:23 AM »
Never had (major) problems with sharing an 8-year old HP Laserjet 1020 (USB, attached to a computer) through a workgroup consisting of 12 (wired) computers.

The printer ran fine with XP based Workgroup, Windows 7 based Workgroup and there is not even sharing the printer now the PC that it is attached to runs an evaluation copy of Windows 2012.

What I found is that you want to download the most basic driver you can get from HP. These keep working in a multitude of OS's. However, I never had too much luck with the all-in-one's of HP...or any other brand for that matter.

The advice given earlier is the best way to go, though. Turning any kind of printer into a network printer is always preferable.

And one more bit of advice: drop Homegroup and just use a Windows work group. Go to the advanced settings of your computer (where you can set the name of your computer) and adjust the name of the workgroup to whatever name you like. Just make sure it is the same on each computer in your network.

Homegroup should make networking easier, but it is sheer misery in my experience and expect to lose 10 to 15% of overall network speed, if you do decide to keep using it.

From your description I understand that you have a lot of trouble getting computers to "see" each other over your network. How are the required IP numbers (one for each PC) distributed? You have a router/switch that supports DHCP?
When that is not the case, buy a router/switch that does. You have models that do this and support a USB printer as well. Products intended for SOHO's (Small Office, Home Office) are likely your best bet. SOHO equipment is usually not that expensive and make your life (you know, the part that has to handle your computer network) often a lot easier.

Sharing a printer over a network, while the network itself isn't setup properly...expect a lot of "sudden and acute discomfort" in the the area where your rear end resides.

 

 

dMbTiger

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Re: Printer network
« Reply #4 on: January 01, 2014, 12:55:10 PM »
My printer is an HP PSC 1510 USB connected to an ASUS tower running Windows 7 Home Premium.  The other 7 PCs are scattered all over my house on two floors.  Three are laptops and the rest are towers, so I can't really set up a hardwired network. As I said, money is very scarce, but I could replace the printer as long as it was an inexpensive one.  I've never set up a network before, but I already know Windows Homegroup is bad news. I've got one tower running W7 Ultimate hardwired to a Verizon FIOS M1424WR (?) router: the rest are WIFI. The printer and the router are on different floors.
Thanks.
Dan

Shades

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Re: Printer network
« Reply #5 on: January 01, 2014, 03:05:43 PM »
On any of your computers you should open the command line, just to see if that computer receives a proper IP nuimber. Use the Windows key + R to open the Run window. type inside this window 'cmd' and hit the Enter key. A new window should appear where you can type 'ipconfig /all >> c:\temp\ipconfig_result.txt'.
Clipboard01.png

That line will generate a text file called 'ipconfig_result.txt' in folder 'C:\temp'. Inside this file you will see all available network connections on that computer and how these are configured.
Clipboard02.png

The highlighted blocks show the most important IP addresses. You should notice that the network connection called 'Local Area Connection' has an IPv4 address that starts with 192.168.xxx.xxx. All the other highlighted IP addresses are similar, these also start  with 192.168.xxx.xxx.

If you check this on the PC that is hardwired to the router, you will see IP numbers that start with the same 192.168.xxx.xxx, it is also possible to that the IP numbers in your network start with 10.0.xxx.xxx. Do the same on any other PC and verify there if the IP numbers from the Wireless Network Connection on that PC start with the same 192.168.xxx.xxx or 10.0.xxx.xxx. When that is not the case, you have a bigger networking problem which requires the help from someone who has or still does maintain computer networks. It is at least a problem I cannot hope to solve from this end of the globe in a timely fashion.

Now I perused a little through the manual from the Verizon router/switch I downloaded from the Verizon website. From this I gather that it is a quite capable router switch. The pictures in that manual also indicate that a total of 4 computers could be hardwired to this router. So you could consider connecting 3 computers with a cable. I mention this as this router allows for different networks to be configured and when something is done wrong one might network connection on each PC that has been associated with that network. As I cannot see any of these settings here, it is very hard to guess how the configuration state of your network actually is.

Assuming that the hardwired PC is able to access the internet, you could connect 3 computers more to the router by cable as this part of the router is properly set up for internet access. If one of these 3 PC's would be the PC where your printer is connected to, you could at least share the printer between these 4 PC's already. Then get someone to fix and/or enable the WiFi network section of the router, so your other computers can share your network resources.

A pair of eyes and hands on-site will fix this way more promptly than any of us here can. Try to find someone in your neighborhood, a close by computing club, a Verizon tech support person or maybe even a close by living DC member can be (financially) persuaded to take a look at your network. Having said this, it would pay in the long run if you invest some time to read up on these matters yourself. It really isn't that hard once you get the concepts and it saves you a lot of time (and money) not being dependent on the expertise of others when a networking issue occurs.

Another long post, but I am still thinking that your network isn't properly setup. This needs to be fixed first before you can even think about sharing your printer between your computers. In my personal experience, wired connections are a lot less problematic than WiFi can ever hope to be. Because of this I don't even consider using WiFi in any of my own computers.

40hz

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Re: Printer network
« Reply #6 on: January 01, 2014, 04:56:42 PM »
HP's docs say that this particular printer model will only support 5 PC clients under Windows P2P network sharing. Odd in that Win 7 itself allows up to 10 PCs for file & print sharing.

Screenshot from 2014-01-01 17:43:02.png

Try disconnecting 2 PCs from your network, restarting the rest, and see if that fixes the problem before you try anything else.

If it's still screwed up, the quickest way to eliminate odd gremlins is just to redo your network.

  • Uninstall the 1510 printer.
  • Set-up a new workgroup, and create the optional setup disk for additional machines.
  • Take the optional set-up disk around to each PC and redo their network set-ups.
  • If all the machines can see each other (and web out) you know your P2P network is working corrrectly.
  • Reinstall the printer on the host machine and allow sharing.
  • Install the printer (drivers only) to each member PC -  one at a time - and test to see if you can print.
  • Continue until all 7 PCs can either print or you encounter a glitch.

FWIW, I seldom see USB connected printers reliably share on most home networks. Many times they'll mysteriously disappear from the network and need to be restarted manually - or the host PC will need a reboot to get it back. Print stall-outs and hangs are also fairly common.

Luck. :Thmbsup:

Stoic Joker

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Re: Printer network
« Reply #7 on: January 02, 2014, 07:08:35 AM »
HP's docs say that this particular printer model will only support 5 PC clients under Windows P2P network sharing. Odd in that Win 7 itself allows up to 10 PCs for file & print sharing.

This is caused by the immense amount of bloated BFF software that wants to display ink levels, job status (and etcetera ad nauseam) information to the user from the system tray. 90% of this software is totally pointless, and the rest is just junk.

Unfortunately there is no set procedure as HP changes the installer UI constantly. But with a bit of exploring there should be an option to install only the driver (minus the crapware) so that more (7-10) machines can be comfortably added.