You can share printers on your WLAN in several different ways. Perhaps the easiest is to attach the printer to one of your WLAN client PCs and then share that printer with the rest of the network. Although this approach is simple, it has three potential drawbacks:
- The computer physically attached to the printer must remain turned on or other clients won't be able to use the printer.
- If clients print a lot of files, the performance of the computer sharing the printer may degrade (slow down or crash).
- If the printer is a multi-function device (printer, scanner, copier) and you conned it to a single computer, other clients may not be able to access all of its functions.
You also can make the printer available on a WLAN by adding a wireless adapter or connecting it to a wireless print server. You can usually configure wireless print servers and adapters the same way as an AP (which is what they essentially are) using a Web browser interface or utility software provided by the manufacturer.
Note: If you are connecting an older printer or multi-function device through a wireless adapter or print server, be sure that it doesn't require proprietary software to operate. Often, software from older printers does not detect a network connection and may require that you connect the printer to the PC via a parallel port
Consult the documentation that came with the printer to determine if this is the case. This usually isn't a problem with newer printers, especially those designed with network support.
For specific instructions for sharing your printers, see "Secret #40: Setting Up Printer Sharing."
Other than network settings for your AP and adapters, there isn't that much software that needs to be configured when you're setting up a WLAN. This section covers three types of software that you may have to configure.