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Network Printing Tutorial

We will be using HP Laserjets as an example. First some basics.

A networked printer is a printer that is hooked up to your computer network with a network cable or with a wireless networking adapter. Networked printers have what is called a print server attached to them. The print server can be external to the printer, a plug-in JetDirect card, or built-in to the formatter of the printer.

Here are some pictures of JetDirect Cards (internal print servers).

Here is a list of common HP JetDirect cards.

Here is an external print server.

You can think of a print server as a network card for a printer with additional functionality. For example, most of the newer model HP JetDirect cards (600N and newer) have embedded web servers This means you can remotely access the configuration of the card by typing in the JetDirect card’s IP address into a web browser such as Internet Explorer or Firefox. Usually this is more convenient than configuring the JetDirect card at the printer’s control panel. Below is a picture of the web interface for a J6057A JetDirect Card.

There are two basic pieces of information you will need to set up the JetDirect card: the IP address, and subnet mask. We won’t discuss a lot of technical details about IP addresses and subnet masks, but you should know that every device on a computer network has a unique IP address, and the subnet mask will generally be the same on all devices in a small network.

If you have a network administrator, ask them what IP address and subnet mask you should use. Or better yet, just have them configure the printer. If you don’t have a network administrator or resident computer guru, then we will assume that you have a small office or home network and that person is you.