Non-WiFi printers

Discussion in 'Network Routers' started by Robert Crandal, Nov 9, 2014.

  1. I have an older HP printer which is connected to my
    desktop computer via a USB connection. This is a
    non-WiFi type of printer.

    I understand if I plug the printer's USB cable into my
    WiFi router that I can send print jobs to the printer
    in a wireless fashion.

    But....what if I don't want to plug my printer into the
    router? How can I turn my non-WiFi printer into
    a wireless printer without plugging it into the router?
    Can I plug the printer's USB cable into a repeater or
    something else?

    I'd appreciate any advice. Thanks.
    Robert Crandal, Nov 9, 2014
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  2. Do a Google search for "print server" and you will find quite a few
    devices designed to connect a printer to Ethernet, you have to check
    them out to see if they support your model and if they are USB to
    Ethernet or Parallel to Ethernet.

    The other thing is to do a search on your model of printer. There may
    be an optional interface available for that model that includes wireless
    but quite often it is cheaper to get a print server adapter from a 3rd
    party vendor.

    Also for what it's worth, not all routers with a USB port support every
    brand/model of printer. Even those that try
    GlowingBlueMist, Nov 9, 2014
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  3. Robert Crandal

    Char Jackson Guest

    If the printer only has a USB port, your only option is to plug it into a
    USB host. That means a PC, your router, etc.
    One way or another, the thing you plug it into has to be able to act as a
    USB host. I would choose a PC, if available, and connect the printer there.
    Next, share the printer with Everyone on your LAN. Now you can wirelessly
    print to it from any other PC on your LAN.
    Char Jackson, Nov 9, 2014
  4. Robert Crandal

    Evan Platt Guest

    You can connect the printer via USB to the desktop computer, and share
    the printer over the network.
    Evan Platt, Nov 9, 2014
  5. Robert Crandal

    Ant Guest

    How about without a computer? ;)
    "Remember, ants are only waiting for you to die..." --unknown
    /\___/\ Ant(Dude) @ (Personal Web Site)
    / /\ /\ \ Ant's Quality Foraged Links:
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    \ _ / If crediting, then use Ant nickname and AQFL URL/link.
    ( ) If e-mailing, then axe ANT from its address if needed.
    Ant is currently not listening to any songs on this computer.
    Ant, Nov 9, 2014
  6. Robert Crandal

    VanguardLH Guest

    But does it also have an RJ-45 Ethernet port? "Older HP" doesn't say
    how old, what features it has, or its model number.
    That won't turn USB protocol into a networking protocol. Physically you
    could plug the USB cable into your printer and the wifi router but that
    won't make discoverable your printer on the network. Without a model
    number, no one here knows what capabilities are available in that "older
    HP printer".

    When I visited Newegg (which is not an exhaustive list), all the HP
    inkjets there (I assumed inkjet because you didn't give a model or even
    a type of printer) have an RJ-45 port *if* they are network-able.
    You may have an HP printer that can be networked but wired instead of
    wireless. If the printer supports network mode then you could connect
    it to a wireless AP (access point) which might be cheaper than the
    printer server option mentioned by Glowing. You said the printer is
    connected to your computer using a USB cable. Are there any other ports
    on the printer, like RJ-45 for Ethernet? (Don't confuse with the
    smaller RJ-11 port to connect to a phone line for a multi-function
    printer that does faxing).

    From what I saw at Newegg, a wireless AP starts at $20 while a wireless
    print server starts at $35. Not a lot of difference.
    Give the model number of the HP printer. Of course, if you still have
    the manual (paper or on CD), you could check if it mentions "network" or
    "Ethernet". If not, you'll have to follow Glowing's advice on getting a
    wireless print server.

    If you're intent is to share the printer with your other computers (on
    your intranet), why not just leave it hooked up where it is and then
    choose to share it over the network? The caveat is that you would need
    that leave powered 24x7 that computer so other computers can reach the
    shared printer connected to it. Or are you looking to merely physically
    relocate the printer to another room or building? That is, why do you
    want to go wireless for an already working solution?
    VanguardLH, Nov 9, 2014
  7. Robert Crandal

    Rambo Guest

    Ant wrote, On 09/11/2014 17:57:
    If you did not have a computer .. you don't need to print :)
    Rambo, Nov 9, 2014
  8. The HP All-In-One printer is at my parents' house, and I forgot to write
    down the model number. But, I didn't see any RJ-45 ports. It does
    have an RJ-11 port for faxing, one port for an AC power adapter, and
    one USB port that connects to a desktop PC (or laptop, etc.).

    My goal was to relocate the printer to an empty room in the house
    that has no computers or routers, just to free up some wall power outlets
    and space in the rooms that are cluttered with electrical equipment.

    I will try to obtain the model of our HP printer soon. But, from my
    description above, does it look like a print server adapter will work?
    I'm thinking that because it's missing an RJ-45 port that no adapter will
    work. Buying a new WiFi printer is another option I might consider.
    Robert Crandal, Nov 10, 2014
  9. Robert Crandal

    Rambo Guest

    Robert Crandal wrote, On 10/11/2014 09:23:
    If you want to access the printer from two different pc, you can connect
    it to any of them.
    No need to install another box nor buy another printer.
    I was at work in a room with 20 people having each one a pc. We had two
    printers(a black-and-white one and a color one) one of them was
    connected at one pc and the other connected at another pc.
    Those 2 printers were available for print from the 20 individual pc.
    Rambo, Nov 10, 2014
  10. I just now found out it is an HP OfficeJet J4580.
    Robert Crandal, Nov 10, 2014
  11. Robert Crandal

    VanguardLH Guest

    Nope, that one is not network-capable. You'll have to use the print
    server box if you want the printer sitting by itself on your network
    while it remains powered up 24x7 for access by any other intranet host
    as well as leaving your router powered up 24x7.

    You need something to handle the print protocol over the network. That
    means using Glowing's suggestion of getting a print server that you can
    attach anywhere in your network.

    Again, is there a reason you want to move the printer off the computer
    it is now (or attach it to another computer) and use printer sharing on
    that host to share that printer with all your other hosts? You'll
    either have to leave your computer (just the base, not necessarily the
    monitor or other stuff) powered on all the time for 24x7 access to the
    printer or you'll have to leave the print server (and router) powered on
    24x7 for the same all-day access to the printer.

    As for making network capable the printer, it is unclear if you want a
    wired solution (printer goes to router via cable) or a wireless solution
    (printer goes to an wireless access point that can be anywhere within
    range of your wifi router). If you want the printer wired to the router
    (you don't want wifi involved with the printer), you'll need a print
    server with USB (to the printer) and RJ-45 (Ethernet cable to the
    router), like
    If you want the printer to be effectively wireless then you'll need a
    wireless print server (which has USB to the printer and acts as a wifi
    access point that connects to the wifi router), like (which does
    double duty as a wired or wireless print server, but they have cheaper
    ones, like and
    some single-function ones for about the same price).

    Guess you'll have to ask the parents if they want to simply share the
    printer on the current host with other hosts your folks have at home
    (leave it connected to the same computer and simply elect to share it),
    if they want the simplicity of a printer that is wired to the router but
    with a cable laying around, or the complexity and security issues of
    using a wireless printer they can position wherever they want within
    range of their wifi router, and how much they're willing to spend.
    VanguardLH, Nov 10, 2014
  12. We do not need the printer to be powered 24-7. Our plan is to
    place the printer in a separate room, just to free up clutter in
    in the bedroom that contains too many electronic devices. This
    separate room will not contain any computers at all. We will only
    power up the printer when a print job is needed.
    Yes, we effectively want the printer to be wireless. The wireless print
    server seems to be my solution, but at those prices I could simpy buy
    a wireless WiFi printer.

    The 4-port USB print server mentioned in the third link above seems
    to have a reasonable price. Do you think this product by Linksys will
    work too:
    Robert Crandal, Nov 12, 2014
  13. Robert Crandal

    David Guest


    As far as I can see that item is wired, not wireless, so it will not
    provide a wireless solution.

    One of the others quoted above -
    Item=9SIA5HT1ZF0045 - seems reasonable but as you say you may be able to
    get a cheap wireless printer (often below cost where the cost is reclaimed
    afterwards in ink sales) for similar money.

    Something to be aware of - there is more than one way of skinning a cat.

    In the case of a PC with an attached printer the PC normally controls the
    printer, but can accept print jobs from other devices on the network. It
    decides if and when to print the document, and schedules it in with
    anything else in the queue.

    With most networked print servers (as found on routers etc.) the printer
    is handled in a different way.
    The printer is connected to the server by USB.
    The server is then connected to the remote PC which wishes to print by
    "virtual USB" i.e. the remote PC treats the printer just as if it was
    connected directly by a USB cable. The network connection provides "smoke
    and mirrors".
    This means the print server doesn't care what printer is attached and
    doesn't have to know how to control it locally.
    All the intelligence is in the PC.

    Practical difference - with a PC acting as the print server you can have
    any number of other devices submitting print jobs at the same time, and
    the print server sorts them out locally and chooses when and in which
    order to print them. With a "virtual USB" connection the connected PC has
    absolute control. It has to release this control before another PC can
    connect to the printer. This may be tricky to learn if your parents have
    more than one PC (or other device which wishes to print).

    Of course, it does sound that a "virtual USB" connection may be just what
    they want, as your aim is to move the printer to another room for better
    use of space.

    Just to confuse things further, you can still have one PC as the print
    server, connected over "virtual USB" to the printer and accepting print
    jobs from other devices.

    Sounds a fun thing to try, but I would seriously consider buying a more
    modern wireless printer if the cost is the same as a server and the
    quality is as good as your old HP.

    Not sure what you can get as a wireless printer for under $50, though.


    Dave R
    David, Nov 12, 2014
  14. Robert Crandal

    VanguardLH Guest

    The HP 4100 is a laser printer. Wireless laser printers run over a
    $100. The wireless print server would be half, or less, of that. Plus,
    if the folks already purchased replacement toner cartridges then that
    money would be wasted. You could go with inkjet but ask the folks if
    they want to deal with lower capacity of the ink cartridges, having to
    replace them more often, the high cost of color cartridges (that they
    don't need since they've only used black and white prints, so far), that
    the inkjet cartridges dry out over time, and the printouts aren't as
    permanent or as crisp with a laser. Remember to consider the cost of
    consumables and if they expire even when not used, along with print
    speed. I print so little that I end up replacing the dried cartridges
    long before I approach their printing capacity. I waste more ink just
    doing the monthly test print to ensure the cartridge ports haven't
    gotten plugged. Inkjet printers are considered ink sales platforms:
    they don't make much money on the inkjet printer but plan on the revenue
    from the ink sales.
    That's a *wired* print server hence its lower price but most of the
    price reduction is because it is a used item. You knew that, right? It
    could be an auction house that has no idea the working condition of the
    item and is selling as-is. Could be something broke and the seller
    hides that fact by not having ANY description of the product. Or maybe
    the seller doesn't need it anymore or upgraded his gear.

    Send an e-mail to inquire about the condition of the used item, plus
    this will indicate if the seller is responsive to e-mails, like if the
    product doesn't work or never arrived. Note that this seller does NOT
    offer returns. You'll have to deal with eBay and the buyer protection
    policy if it's broke or never arrives. The seller has 398 transactions
    with 100% feedback but that rating is based ONLY on the last 12 months
    worth of transactions (107 of which only 102 can you see) and only for
    buyers that bother to issue feedback. Looks like an okay eBay seller
    but he definitely didn't spend much time describing the product he is
    selling which could mean he's reselling someone else's goods.

    Does the computer (not identified) have a wifi connection? Does the
    cable modem have wifi? If so, why not move the printer, router, and
    other peripherals, especially if wired to the router, into the other
    room? Reverse the setup. Instead of having the computer and all
    peripherals in the bedroom and just move out the printer, why not move
    the wifi router, printer (with the new print server), and other
    peripherals wired to the router to the other room and use wifi from the
    router (now in the other room) to the wifi modem (left in its location
    due to the cable) and wifi computer in the bedroom? The cable modem,
    even if it has wifi to devices connected to it, has the coax cable to it
    so leave it wherever it is now (unless the basement ceiling is open and
    re-routing the coax is easy to the other room). Then you can use wifi
    from the cable modem from wherever it is to the wifi router in the other
    room. The printer gets moved to the other room, too, but will need the
    print server box; however, you could use the cheaper wired print server
    to the wifi router because both are in the same other room. Any other
    networked peripherals could move to the other room.

    When ISP replaced the non-wifi cable modem, they gave us a wifi one. I
    didn't want wifi. I have the rooms cabled and prefer the simpilicity
    and security of wire over wireless, so I had to replace it with a
    non-wifi model. Looks like my ISP (Comcast) wants to install wifi cable
    modems in their customers' homes in order to enlarge their wifi hotspot
    coverage (which most customers don't know about but it can be disabled
    not in the modem to which you don't have permissions to the admin pages
    but in your account which has them reprovision the modem to not share
    your modem's bandwidth with others). So, in the future, I may not be
    able to get a non-wifi cable modem leased from them. So your folks
    might already have a wifi-capable cable modem. If so, you can put the
    wifi router in the other room along with the printer where you could use
    a wired print server to the router.

    By the way, that laser printer has a PowerSave mode that activates 17
    minutes after last use. So the folks don't really have to power off the
    laser printer when they're not using it. They won't then start a print
    job to wonder why nothing happened or figure out what the error prompt
    is telling them. I haven't use a print server but suspect they might
    buffer up a small print job so the user at the computer thinks the print
    job is done but find nothing at the printer. If the cable modem and
    router are both wifi capable, the money you save using a wired printer
    server over a wireless print server could offset the cost of leaving the
    laser printer on for years. Put it this way to the folks: would they
    mind having 3 night lights left plugged in and turned on all the time?
    VanguardLH, Nov 12, 2014
  15. Robert Crandal

    Linea Recta Guest

    That's the way I have it. I can print "wirelessly" from my notebook to my
    old HP deskjet 720C. Works fine, but I do need to have the PC running also.
    I believe that's not what the OP intended.


    |\ /|
    | \/ |@rk
    Linea Recta, Nov 13, 2014
  16. Robert Crandal

    port70 Guest

    The best solution is to get a network-capable printer; they aren't as
    expensive as they use to be. The Brother B&W lazer printers can often
    be found on sale for under $100 USD.

    10 years ago it was more common to find print servers built into consumer
    grade routers; no so much any more. I suppose the OP could buy a wifi
    dongle and small system-on-a-chip type computer with a pair of USB ports
    - the Raspberry Pi for example - and setup linux/bsd to act as a printer
    server. More fun but probably as expensive as buying a new printer.
    port70, Nov 22, 2014
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