How to Connect Multiple Printers to One Computer Through Routers
By Jeff Grundy
If you have multiple computers in your business, connecting a printer to each of them can be expensive. Sharing printers on the network not only helps you reduce equipment costs, it also helps reduce electricity usage and frees up space in the office. Nevertheless, with larger workgroups, you may need to share several printers for various printing needs. When sharing multiple printers on the network, individual PCs connected to the router can print to any or all of them.
Insert the driver installation disc for the first printer into the optical drive of one the computers connected to the network router. After a few seconds, the printer installation wizard opens.
Follow the prompts in the installation wizard to printer driver and application normally. Do not connect the printer USB cable to the computer until the installation wizard prompts you to do so. When prompted, connect the USB data cable to the printer and the computer and power on the device. Wait a few seconds for the installation wizard to detect the connected printer, finish copying needed files and then prompt you to print a test page. Print the test page when prompted to complete the installation of the printer.
Disconnect the first printer from the computer. Insert the installation disc for the second printer, and then install the driver and print application just as you did for the first printer. Connect the printer when prompted and print a test page.
Install the drivers and print applications for other printers as needed.
Connect the USB cable from the first printer to one of the print server devices. Connect an RJ-45 cable to the print server and an empty port on the router.
Insert the installation disc for the print server and wait for the setup wizard to open. Click the "Setup Printer," "Configure Printer" or other similarly named option. Follow the prompts to allow the utility to detect and configure the printer connected to the print server. When prompted, select the printer in the list of detected models, then click "Continue" or "Next" to complete the installation.
Connect the second printer to a print server device. Connect the print server device to the router with an Ethernet cable. Run the printer setup utility from the print server installation disc.
Connect additional print servers and printers to the router as needed.
Items you will need
Installation discs for printers
USB printer cable
RJ-45 Ethernet cables
Note that if all of the printers are the same model, you need only install the driver and print application once regardless of the number of devices you connect to the network.
If you don’t have enough ports with a single router to connect all network computers and printers, you can connect a second router or switch to add additional connections. To do this, run an Ethernet cable from port one on the second router or switch to the last port on the first router. You can also daisy-chain multiple routers or switches using this method.
If the printers you want to use have Ethernet ports, you can connect the units directly to the router instead of using print server devices. If the printers do have network ports, the installation wizard should contain a utility that enables you to set up the units to receive dynamic IP addresses from the router. If the network printer does not include a network configuration utility on the installation disc, you may have to configure the device to receive a dynamic IP address from the router using the control panel or menu keys on the face of the unit.
If computers connected to the same router have USB printers attached to them, you can share those devices as well. To share a USB connected printer, open "Control Panel" and then "Devices and Printers." Right-click the name of the printer you want to share, then click "Sharing" on the pop-up menu. Click the "Share" button and follow the prompts to share the printer on the network. Depending on the type of USB printer you share, you may need to install the driver on the remote computer connecting to it.
- Ask CNET: Connecting Multiple Computers to Two Printers
- Microsoft Windows: Find and Install Printer Drivers
- Microsoft Windows: Sharing Files and Printers
- Kodak: Kodak ESP 9 All-in-One Printer User Guide – Configuring Network Settings
- Online Tech Tips: How to Install a Network Printer on Your Home or Office Network
- Computer Shopper: Weekend Project – Install a Print Server
- Netgear: PS101v2 Mini MFP Print Server Installation Guide
- Netgear: Troubleshooting Print Servers
Jeff Grundy has been writing computer-related articles and tutorials since 1995. Since that time, Grundy has written many guides to using various applications that are published on numerous how-to and tutorial sites. Born and raised in South Georgia, Grundy holds a Master of Science degree in mathematics from the Georgia Institute of Technology.