DEV Community

Cover image for Sharing a Printer in a WiFi Network
Ingo Steinke
Ingo Steinke

Posted on

Sharing a Printer in a WiFi Network

Printers are maybe not something we should own at our home, at least not when we can access a shared printer at work, in a coworking space or a copyshop.

No Developer likes to Fix Printers! 🔧🖨️😒

Printers are notorious to be expensive, wasteful, and guaranteed to cause trouble due to missing, incompatible, or outdated device drivers. It has become a running gag that you don't want to be the "IT expert" having to support and fix other people's printing problems.

Image search results for fix printer developer meme

I have had trouble using an HP LaserJet in our family. At least, the printer doesn't refuse to work with third-party color cartridges, so we can use recycled ones instead of the more expensive original ones.

Outdated Drivers, Planned Obsolescence? 🗑️💸

But I often struggled and failed to install a driver for any other platform than Windows. It used to work some years ago, maybe 2018 when they last updated their HPLIP driver?

Screenshot of a Linux Hewlett Packard driver installation dialog with an AskUbuntu page in the background

Not even working on Linux anymore?!

But after both Apple and Linux switched their CUPS-based printing systems to Python 3 or some other breaking change that I don't mind to understand, the only way to print a document seemed to be using a PC running Microsoft Windows. So I had to save a PDF in the cloud or email it to myself, then startup Windows on a laptop physically connected to the printer, start the printing process, check if the paper has been printed successfully, and shut down Windows. What a waste of time and energy!

Screenshot of a printer icon and an error message telling that something has been deprecated

Later, I had another hardware problem, when the German Telefonica subsidiary O² had sent us their default white label router which seemed to use a slow fall back protocol when accessed by my Linux laptop. So I needed an alternative.

Reusing Second-Hand Hardware 🪄✨🙏

The Fritz!Box 7520 is branded by 1&1 and cheap to get second-hand, and it works as an O² client as well, as a helpful forum user pointed out.

A Fritz!Box 7520 router.

Later I found out that the router has an option to connect a printer via USB and make it accessible as a network printer.

No More Troubleshooting! ✌️

Now our old LaserJet is connected to the router and can be used as a network printer by everyone logged into our WiFi network.

Top comments (1)