Can you print/scan/fax directly over the local network ?
Yes, you can, with the right setup. There are a few different options possible to print/scan/fax over LAN, outlined below:
1. Configure the printer to be shared
This step involves sharing the printer on the local network. This step is dependent on how it is connected to the network:
- if the printer is connected via USB/printer cable to a computer, that particular computer must turn on file/print sharing, it must share the connected printer, and it must remain on for the shared printer to be visible on the network.
- if the printer is connected via network cable, or wirelessly - in such case, you should be able to "see" the printer directly on the network without any further setup. They may need to have some printer drivers installed, however they can print directly over the network to the printer.
2. Configure your client computer/device to see other networked resources.
The computer/device that you'd like to connect to the local network for printing must be configured to "see" other networked devices. This is accomplished in Windows by turning on "File and print sharing", and classifying the network as "private", for example. Once it is able to see other shared resources on the local network, it should also be able to see the printer, provided it is already configured/shared as explained in step one above.
Most wireless printers require some setup before they are successfully connected to a wireless network for printing. If they do not have a display, they are typically configured using either a WPS button, or, via a USB cable first, before they can be used wirelessly. This configuration is necessary to setup the correct IP address on the network, as well the WiFi security type and password. Manufacturers' instruction sheets are your best bet for setting up a wireless printer.
When configuring a networked printer, it is usually a good idea to set it up to use a static IP address, in your router's default LAN IP block.
If a printer has both network and USB/printer cable connectivity, it is usually better to connect it directly to the local network, so that no computer print sharing (and that computer being on) is required for printing to work.