How to Connect Ethernet & USB Cables to a Printer

By Avery Martin

Ethernet and USB cables provide communication from a PC to the printer.
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Depending on the type of printer you have, you may be able to connect your printer with a USB cable, Ethernet cable or both. Many modern printers allow the option to connect to a network modem or router via an Ethernet cable. For routers or modems that don't have an additional Ethernet port, you may be able to connect the printer to the network using the USB port located on the back of the device. Business owners often find the need to connect printers to a network so several computers can share printer access.

Ethernet Cables

Look at the back of the printer for an Ethernet port. The Ethernet port looks like a small rectangular box, similar to a large telephone jack.

Take one end of the Ethernet cable and gently guide it into the Ethernet port. When the Ethernet port is engaged, you'll hear a click.

Plug the other end of the Ethernet cable into an available Ethernet port on your computer, modem or router.

USB Cables

Check for a USB port on the back of your printer. It looks like a small square box with square edges on the top of the port, and it appears slanted inwards on the bottom of the port.

Plug the B plug of the USB cable into the USB port on the back of the printer.

Plug the A port into your router or modem to allow for network access to your printer, or connect directly to the computer to allow communication between the printer and your computer.


Modems connect directly to a DSL or coaxial cable. Often, there is a free Ethernet port to connect to peripherals such as a printer or router. These types of connections do not allow for wireless access.

Routers connect to modems and provide wireless access to your Internet connection and network devices. Most routers have one main Ethernet port that allows the modem to connect to the router and additional Ethernet ports for connecting external devices such as printers, storage drives and scanners.

USB printer cables are called A/B USB cables. The A portion consists of a flat and wide plug that plugs into a computer or router and the B portion consists of a rectangular end that plugs into the printer.