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Use Networked Printers and Scanners with HPLIP - page 2

HP vs. Samsung Smackdown

  • August 20, 2007
  • By Carla Schroder

The 3050 does not include an Ethernet interface (which is not a showstopper; it just means it has to be connected to a PC and shared over the network via CUPS) but many HP printers and all-in-one machines do. This is an excellent option for network printing, and is nice to administer on mixed networks. The printer gets its own IP address, and the HP toolbox will find all of your networked printers so you can manage them from your underground network administrator's lair.

Make the manual for your particular HP printer your first stop because it tells you everything. Mine is a 430-page PDF that covers models 3050, 3052, 3055, 3090, and 3092.

As is so often the case, there are a few speedbumps to getting all this network guff working. You need snmp and avahi-daemon running on your Master Linux Netadmin Workstation, and you need avahi-daemon on any Linux PC that you want to enable auto-discovery of networked printers on. These days most Linux distributions install and run avahi-daemon by default to enable Zeroconf services, even though there isn't much of anything for it to Zeroconf. (See Make Sense of SNMP/MRTG Alphabet Soup to learn how to enable snmp on your Linux hosts, and Run Zeroconf for Linux in a Snap for an introduction to enabling, testing, and using avahi-daemon.)

Mac OS X has the nicest Zeroconf setup and should "just work." Windows has its own weirdo auto-discovery protocol, and of course each iteration of Windows behaves a little differently, if it supports it at all. See your excellent printer manual for details.

You can configure everything on the printer's own control panel, but why do it the hard way when there are easier ways? Then you can manage your printer in several ways: from CUPS, from the printer's own embedded Web server (EWS), and from the hp-toolbox.

When you connect your printer to the network for the first time, the easy way is to already have a DHCP server running and the printer will get an IP address from that. It will look first for a DHCP or BOOTP server, and if you don't have either of those it will auto-generate its own link-local address, which comes from the 169.254/16 address range, which is the link-local (or Zeroconf) range. This has some advantages if your clients are all properly Zeroconfed. You don't need a DHCP server and address collisions are handled automatically.

You can give your printer a static IP address in the usual way via through DHCP, or use one of the HP control panels to configure it manually. If you use the printer control panel your address assignment won't survive a power cycle, so make sure you use hp-toolbox or EWS.

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