One of the main reason and importance for computer networking is the ability to share limited resources / hardware among users on the said network, thereby reducing cost of equipment procurement and maintenance, likewise it streamline work flow with ease of communication transmission.
A basic and commonly shared device on the network is the printer. There are two types / ways to add or connect a printer to a network.
- True Network printer
- Share Network printer
True Network Printer: The first is to use a true network printer, this type of printer has a network port (RJ 45 in case of wired or WLAN for wireless printing) mostly configured in the same manner and mode as other computers on the network. It also has a unique IP address assigned either manually or dynamically to it by the network administrator.
This type of printer stands on it own, as in users send information and print job to it on the network directly without any interference from any other client computer on the network.
Shared Network printer: Another way to connect a printer to a network is to configure it as a shared resource. Shared printers are attached to a computer port (parallel, USB or wireless point). The printer is shared with other users in the same manner that files and other resources are shared on the network. And in that way, the printer can only be access via the network only if the computer to which it’s attached is turned on and has network access.
Procedures to Configure a Printer as a shared Resource.
- Determine which computer on the network will act as the print server (the computer that the printer will be attached to).
- Attached the printer to the computer via parallel/ usb port, wireless point.
- Connect the printer to a power source.
- Load the device driver for the printer, if required.
- Open control panel
- Double click on printers
- Right click the printer you want to share and select the share option.
- Select the sharing tab (note the default setting should be “Not shared”)
- Select the share option in the open window and enter the share name (the name that will identify this printer to other users on the network).
- Click OK to confirm sharing, other users should now be able to access this printer through network place.
Note: A true printer is different from a printer that is shared on a network in that the first has a NIC and configured as a separate node on the network while the later is attached to a computer on the network and can be access only if that computer that is attached to is turn on and connected / accessible on the network.