Setting Up Network Printers

The Easiest Way To Setup Network Printers

There are several ways to hook up a network printer, and several ways to get the printer to talk to your computer. Usually, this can all happen automatically when you use the installation software provided by the printer manufacturer. But when it doesn't work right, you might have to configure the printer and your computer manually. I'm going to do my best to lay out the simplest way.

These aren't precise directions that will work exactly for everyone, because each system is different. But it should point you in the right direction, so that you'll be able to figure the rest out on your own.

The first thing to do is to reserve an IP address for your printer. For that, you need to find your router administrative menu. You can consult your router's manual to do this, but usually the easiest way is to go to your browser (Microsoft Explorer or Firefox), go to the URL address bar, and enter in the numbers "192.168.1.1". By default, most routers use this number as their own IP address. But you'll still need to look in the manual to find the username and password necessary to get in and change things (you should really change these to something more personal anyway, for security reasons).

But if you're using the modem supplied to you by your internet provider (like RoadRunner), you might have to go out and purchase a new router to do it this way.

Once you are at the administrative control panel, look through the menus for something like "reserve IP addresses" or "LAN Configuration". Once there, you'll need to add an IP address that you will later assign to your printer. You choose one by looking at the other numbers being used (for example, the IP address of your router if it's the one I suggested) and changing the very last set of numbers. So if the router is 192.168.1.1, then a good reserved IP address would be 192.168.1.54. That's an odd number that nothing else is likely to use.

Once you've reserved it, it's time to enter that number into your printer.

To set up the printer correctly, consult your user's manual on how to configure the network settings. The manual should tell you which buttons to press on the printer to get to the right place. Look for something like TCP/IP configuration. TCP/IP is the protocol your computer normally uses to print stuff through a network.

The first thing you're going to do is turn "DHCP" off. This should be one of the first options you come across in the TCP/IP menu.

Then next thing you'll have to do is give the printer a set of numbers. To find these numbers, you'll have to go back to your computer.

If you're using Windows XP, go to your "My Network Places" window, and look for a button that says, "Network Connections". Go there, and figure out which of the connections you're using for your internet access. Right click on it and choose "Status". A new window should pop up, and you should be able to click on a button that says "Support".

If you're using Windows 7, then you have to go to the control panel and click on "Network and Internet". Then click on "Network and Sharing Center". Finally, click on the "Change adapter settings" on the left hand side of the window. You should see your network card here, and it's probably named "Local Area Network". Right click on it, and choose "status". In the window that pops up, click on the button marked "Details..." Finally, a window will pop up and you can get all the numbers mentioned below from there.

In the window that appears now, you'll want three different numbers. One is the default gateway (normally, it will be 192.168.1.1). The second is the Subnet Mask (it's usually 255.255.255.0). And finally, you might need the DNS server numbers. On most printers, you won't need the DNS server numbers, but if you want to email directly from the printer (like if it's a printer/scanner) then you'll need them.

Those are the numbers you'll enter directly into your printer. When it's time to enter the actual printer's IP address, use the one you reserved on your router. Or, you can make one up using the same process outlined here, and just hope that your router will accept it and not give something else that same address.

Now that you've configured your printer, here's how to make the printer and computer speak to each other.

First go to the Control Panel (on your computer—not on your printer), and look for a button that says "Printers" or "Add Printer" or "View Devices and Printers". Somewhere in the window that appears, you should have an option to "Add a printer." Once you click on that, you'll be asked if you want to add a network printer or a local printer.

***You're going to add a LOCAL printer. It doesn't make sense, but to add a networked printer to your computer, you have to add it as a local one.

In the next window, you'll be asked to choose a port or create a new one. You want to create a new one, and you'll choose a TCP/IP type. It might say "Generic TCP/IP" or "Standard TCP/IP".

In the next window, you'll be asked for the hostname or IP address. There's where you'll enter the IP address that you had entered into the printer—the one you reserved on your router.

Eventually you'll be asked to choose the printer and drivers. You can use the ones from your installation CD if it isn't listed in the ones Windows provides.

Again, these aren't precise directions that will work exactly for everyone, because each system is different. But hopefully, you can use the information here to get you going in the right direction and get your network printer configured and working. If you're in the Cincinnati area and can't manage it on your own, give us a call. We can get your network configured and working for you for just the price of a service call.