Multi-function printer

  Skinn 23:19 21 Jun 06
Locked

I am looking for one of the above as at present I have a PC but hope to get a laptop also in the near future. I don't fancy having to plug it in each time I want to print something so would like wireless connection to a printer.

Does anyone know of such a machine? If not, is my only option to connect the laptop to the printer each time? Is it possible to link the computers up wirelessly and send data from the laptop to the PC and print off from the PC?

  mgmcc 08:48 22 Jun 06

<<< Is it possible to link the computers up wirelessly and send data from the laptop to the PC and print off from the PC? >>>

You can set up a wireless network and set a printer connected to one PC as "shared" so that it can be used by either computer. Be aware though that this applies to *printing* and, with a multi-function device, not to scanning and copying.

An alternative option (which I use with a multifunction device) is a USB switch:

2 computers to one USB peripheral click here

4 computers to one USB peripheral click here

These are USB 1.1 switches but, for "printers", USB 2.0 speeds shouldn't be necessary as the machine itself will be what determines overall performance.

  Skinn 11:27 22 Jun 06

Thanks for that.

For the wireless option, would any special features on a mult-function printer be required?

<<<2 computers to one USB peripheral click here>>>

I take it this is like a double adaptor for the USB socket? How does it connect to the USB socket as it seems to have a female connection whereas a male connection would be needed to plug into the socket?

Also, I have front USB sockets on my PC - would it be possible to plug the laptop into this and print via the PC?

  mgmcc 12:37 22 Jun 06

<<< For the wireless option, would any special features on a mult-function printer be required? >>>

No, but as already mentioned, only *PRINTING* will be supported over the network, whether "wired" or "wireless". Scanning and copying via the computer will only be possible from the computer the all-in-one is physically connected to. Windows File & Printer Sharing doesn't extend to scanning and/or copying.

<<< I take it this is like a double adaptor for the USB socket? >>>

No it *ISN'T* a USB hub. It is a USB switch, software controlled from the PC, to connect multiple computers to a single USB peripheral. The socket you are seeing is the same as the one on the printer, because it is the leads from the two PCs which are connecting to it. On the other side, is a single port, the same as that in the PC from which to run a cable to the printer. You are thinking the wrong way round as though it was a hub to add additional USB ports to a single computer.

<<< Also, I have front USB sockets on my PC - would it be possible to plug the laptop into this and print via the PC? >>>

If you are going to connect the two by cable, get a "crossover" network cable and do it properly - "Network Adapter to Network Adapter". You still won't have remote Scanning/Copying though. With the USB switch, you will.

  Skinn 13:41 22 Jun 06

<<<It is a USB switch, software controlled from the PC>>>

Does that mean the PC would have to switched on to use the printer via the laptop?

<<<The socket you are seeing is the same as the one on the printer, because it is the leads from the two PCs which are connecting to it. On the other side, is a single port, the same as that in the PC from which to run a cable to the printer>>>

So it would need three USB leads, one from the PC and laptop gong in the front and one coming out the back into the printer?


<< You are thinking the wrong way round as though it was a hub to add additional USB ports to a single computer>>

I was thinking it converted the printer USB port into a double port: one for the printer and one for the laptop in this case. In effectr though, is this not what it does?


<<<If you are going to connect the two by cable, get a "crossover" network cable and do it properly - "Network Adapter to Network Adapter". You still won't have remote Scanning/Copying though. With the USB switch, you will>>>

What would happen if I just connected the laptop to the PC via USB?

  Skinn 13:43 22 Jun 06

Efdited mistakes from last post:

<<<It is a USB switch, software controlled from the PC>>>

Does that mean the PC would have to switched on to use the printer via the laptop?

<<<The socket you are seeing is the same as the one on the printer, because it is the leads from the two PCs which are connecting to it. On the other side, is a single port, the same as that in the PC from which to run a cable to the printer>>>

So it would need three USB leads, one from the PC and laptop going in the front and one coming out the back into the printer?


<< You are thinking the wrong way round as though it was a hub to add additional USB ports to a single computer>>

I was thinking it converted the printer USB port into a double port: one for the PC and one for the laptop in this case. In effect though, is this not what it does?


<<<If you are going to connect the two by cable, get a "crossover" network cable and do it properly - "Network Adapter to Network Adapter". You still won't have remote Scanning/Copying though. With the USB switch, you will>>>

What would happen if I just connected the laptop to the PC via USB?

  mgmcc 13:57 22 Jun 06

<<< Does that mean the PC would have to switched on to use the printer via the laptop? >>>

No. The software to "switch" the USB Switch is installed in both computers. The switch itself has an LED to show which computer is actively connected to the printer and, if it is the wrong one, you click the 'switch' option in the PC you are using to make it the active one.

<<< So it would need three USB leads, one from the PC and laptop going in the front and one coming out the back into the printer? >>>

Yes, three absolutely standard USB cables.

<<< I was thinking it converted the printer USB port into a double port: one for the PC and one for the laptop in this case. In effect though, is this not what it does? >>>

No, a double port would mean that both computers were connected to the printer at the same time, which could cause problems. This "switch" connects only one PC at a time to the printer and you can toggle which computer is connected.

You need a special "laplink" type USB cable specifically designed for connecting two computers by USB. DO NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES connect two computers directly with a conventional USB cable and an adapter to change the termination. Doing so will cause damage. You can connect two computers directly with a Firewire (1394) connection.

  Skinn 14:13 22 Jun 06

Thank you, mgmcc, for taking the time to explain this.

  Skinn 21:35 23 Jun 06

Sorry to raise this again but is there any other advantage in having a USB switch apart from the convenience of having an open USB port on the printer to plug the laptop directly into when required rather than having to unplug the desktop first?

  mgmcc 22:14 23 Jun 06

There is no advantage in terms of functionality, merely convenience - in my case I have three computers connected to the switch which then has a 2-port hub connecting to two printers. It saves me a lot of messing with plugs!

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