You love network printing when you first set it up but no matter what you do, you still have a problem with network printing. No matter where you are with your laptop, you can print to your printer. But then it suddenly stops working. Windows can’t see your network printer any more. You try turning the printer on and off, but nothing changes. What happened?
It’s not a problem with your network printer, it’s a problem with your network. All home routers are configured to give IP addresses to computers (and printers) using the Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP). Each time a device connects to your router, the router tries to give it the same IP address it had before. But if there’s a power outage or your computer doesn’t connect for a long time, the router forgets which computer had which IP address—so it gives the computer a new IP address.
Since the only way your computer knows how to talk to your printer is by using its IP address, it can’t find the printer when the printer’s IP address changes. The easy fix for this problem is to re-add your printer, but this solution isn’t ideal—you’ll have to re-add the printer to every computer every time the printer’s IP address changes.
How to Fix Your Problem With Network Printing
The better solution is to give your printer a static IP address—an IP address that doesn’t change. You can do that in your router configuration. Every router is a little different, so you may need to adapt the following instructions:
1. Go to your router configuration screen in your Web browser. For most home routers (except Apple routers), this means going to http://192.168.1.1 or http://192.168.0.1. Apple routers use http://10.0.0.1. Log in using the username and password in your router manual. Here’s how to find your router IP address.
2. Look for a screen that lists the currently connected devices. In my router, this screen is called Attached Devices or in some cases the DHCP Client List. You need to find your printer and record its current IP address and MAC address. If you can’t find it here, consult your printer configuration manual for instructions on getting the printer’s IP and MAC addresses.
3. In your router configuration, look for a screen that lets you set “static IP addresses”. In my router, the screen is called LAN IP Setup and the specific option is named Address Reservation. Add a new entry to this table.
In the new entry, enter the printer’s current IP and MAC addresses into the appropriate fields. If possible, also give the printer a name so you can find it later. if your router does not support this Address Reservation feature then you can change every computer Ip address to “static” manually.
4. Save. Then turn off your printer and turn it back on again.
If necessary, re-add the printer to all the computers on your network. This is the last time you’ll need to do that again, so when you finish, sit back and enjoy network printing.
Advantages and disadvantages to having a network printer?
- You only need one printer for your entire network.
- You save money on office equipment.
- You save space.
- It is even better if you have a Wireless Laser Printer as the printer does not have to be connected to a computer at all.
- If another user is printing hundreds of pages on the network printer you will have to wait for them to finish printing.
- The computer the network printer is attached to must be on for the printer to function.
David A. Harding began using Linux in 2001 and quickly became a Linux Professional Institute certified system administrator. His articles have appeared in over a dozen publications and he has given over 50 presentations about Linux—including two Software Freedom Day keynotes. Dave always loves to hear from readers at firstname.lastname@example.org. Dave was blown away earlier this year when he discovered his grandmother was using network printing.
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If you have experienced a problem with network printing please share with us how you solved your problem.