Monday, October 04, 2004

Apple Airport and Wireless USB printer sharing

So I hooked up my USB printer this weekend to my Airport Extreme.  I did some research on the web and came up with the following instructions (if this seems way too technical, skip to the last paragraph of this post):

  • Plug the USB printer into the Airport (this also works for the Aiport Express).
  • If you are using a Macintosh, the printer will automatically pop up as an available printer in the Printer Configuration utility through Rendezvous and you can skip the rest of these instructions.
  • On a Windows machine, you will need to create a new printer port, you do this by:
    • Go to your Printers Folder.
    • Click on "Add Printer"
    • Select the "Local printer attached . . ." radio button
    • Uncheck the "Automatically detect and install . . ." box
    • Click "Next"
    • Select the "Create a new port" radio box
    • From the drop-down list, select "Standard TCP/IP" port
    • Click "Next"
    • Click "Next" when the new window pops open
    • Enter the IP address of the Airport device into the "Printer Name or IP Address field" (typically this is for the Airport devices)
    • The "Port Name" will automatically fill itself in based on the IP Address you enter, but you may want to change it to something a little more recognizable.
    • Click "Next"
    • Select your printer port from the list.  For HP printer, select the "HP Jet Direct" option
    • Once the port is created, and the system finds the correct IP Address on your system, you will be taken into the normal Add Printer dialogs that will allow you to select the driver from a list or click the "Have Disk" button.
  • A word of caution about the HP USB printers: in order to install the drivers to your system, you may have to plug the USB printer into your computer so that the printer is available from the list of printers the computer knows about.  For some reason, the HP CD provided with my printer would not load drivers when I clicked the "Have Disk" option.  Alternatively, if you install the printer over USB initially and then want to change it to wireless, simply do the following:
    • Go to the printer that was created via your USB connection and right-click the printer icon.
    • Select "Properties" from the list
    • Click the "Ports" tab
    • Click "Add Port"
    • Follow the instructions above for adding a port

Ok, so all of this took me a fair amount of time to configure this weekend, but it's easy once you know how; that's why I'm sharing these instructions.  Of course, today, I came across this post on Inluminent that describes where you can get the same Rendezvous software that Apple uses to make this process really easy on a Macintosh for Windows (you can download it here).  I tried installing the printer using Rendezvous and it was as seamless as my Macintosh experience.  Even though Rendezvous for Windows is a "technology preview," the software seems to work flawlessly for connecting printers to Airport wireless devices.


Anonymous said...

Do you know if Rendezvous for Windows only works with certain printers? I.e., what printer did you use? How was it hooked up to your Mac? Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this post. I found by googling and you probably saved me a weekend of similar pain!!

Thanks again for being so considerate as to share these instructions!

Jon Prevost said...

Thanks. Now to go try it out!

Jon Prevost said...

Thanks. Now to go try it out! Hope it works.

Roy_E said...

I was having a devil of a time configuring my Brother HL-2170W to print from a Windows XP (work) laptop over my Airport base station. Finally I realized that I had to disable not only the Windows firewall but also the McAfee firewall my employer installs on all our laptops. After that, smooth sailing.

Kurt Reynolds said...

Thanks so much for the information, I now have my home printer setup and no WIRES!


Anonymous said...

i have been looking all over the apple support sites AND HP support sites and no where is this explained............i have been emailing pdf's to my iMac to print, now I can print directly from my PC laptop....thank you thank you!

Anonymous said...

Just wanted you to know that 5 years later your post is still helping people! I followed your instructions to set up my HP USB printer on my Airport Extreme and it was up and running in a matter of minutes. This was after several attempts at trying to follow similar instruction on Apple sites. Thank you!

Anonymous said...

5 year later and your post is still helping people! I was up and running in 5 minutes after spending far too long trying to find the same basic info on the apple site. Thank you!