Saturday, June 13, 2009

Wireless Printing - SUCCESS!!!

Up until today, the only printer we have is attached to my wife's Windows XP machine via its USB cable. If I wanted to print a document, which isn't all that often of a need here at home, I would just email the file to her and print it after saving it on her machine. That was a bit tedious, especially when she is on the computer and doing her thing. I don't really like to be a bother and disturb her.

Both of our machines are on the home wireless network and being a network, I wondered how difficult it would be to set up to print, wireless, to the printer attached to her machine. After doing a quick search on Google and a short bit or reading I did the following:

1. Set up file and printer sharing on the Windows XP machine. This was quite easy and walking through their wizard is recommended. Make sure that you have set up the following pieces of information:

Machine Name
Workgroup (I changed this from the default)

2. After setting up the sharing, I went to the specific printers settings and turned on its sharing. Make sure that you give the printer a name as you will need it.

3. I am using Ubuntu 9.04 so I went to System->Printing. Click on New. Once you do that, it will try and find machines. In the next box, I clicked on the Network Printer drop down and selected "Windows Printer via SAMBA".

In the options that appear to the right, you will need to enter the smb address in the following format:


After that, if you have authentication setup, you will need to enter it. I didn't, so I just hit verify and it said it found the printer and it was shared. Jackpot, so far so good. Next, click Forward.

4. Now is the search for drivers. You can do this blindly or be smart about it and do what I did. I have a Brother printer and the options you are provided at the top for selecting your printer are:

a. Select printer from database
b. Provide PPD file
c. Search for a printer driver to download

I figured I would search Google for a ppd file, so I entered the following into a Google search: brother dcp-7020 ppd file

Low and behold, the first link in the search was for the OpenPrinting Database. They basically told me all they knew about my printer and notes it had on it. The best piece though, was it told me which driver was recommended. So, I went to the Choose Driver screen, chose Brother and then Forward and on the next page selected the driver it recommended.

Wouldn't you know but it worked PERFECTLY!!! Isn't Linux just beautiful? :) I think (and know) so.

I hope this helps you setup your printer, wireless, on your own home network. I definitely see the value in print servers and network based printers, don't get me wrong, but when you are unemployed as I am and have no $$$, its awesome to be able to do what you need to, for free.

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