Small Business Helpdesk

Tips & Hints

Sharing printers on a network

4 August 2001

All but the cheapest printers can be used on a network. The whole purpose of having a network is to share computer resources and all modern computers have the ability to share their resources. The only limitation is that the software required to run cheaper printers often doesn't allow you to network them.

Printers on Macs and Windows machines are easily networked and the software is built into the system . Both types of computer need printer sharing enabled and the printers need to be setup on the individual workstations. Be careful allowing file and printer sharing on computers directly connected to the Internet .

While most printers can be used on a network, some printers are designed specifically for network use. Network printers are usually designed to print faster, have bigger paper storage trays and may even have a network card built into them. They may be more expensive than standard printers, but for heavy use or large networks they are good investments.

Having a network card built into the printer saves having the printer connected to a computer. The computer plugs directly into the network and the software that comes with the computer or print server allows you to set it up on the network. Not having your printer tied to a computer makes your network more flexible.

Sharing one printer among a group of computers is an obvious way that a network delivers benefits to a small business. This is the whole point of having a network, to share resources such as printers, Internet connections and information. By sharing your computer resources across a network you get a better return on your IT investment.

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ŠTechnology Publishing Australia, 2011