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  1. #1
    Star Lounger
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    Sharing office printer on two separate networks

    Hi, all. I'm working for a small office that has one copy machine/printer, but two separate LANs. It was two partners in one firm, but they split and are segmenting their (Apple/Mac) networks. Each has their own Internet connection, router, switch and server. Problem is, they still want to share the copier, which has a single Ethernet port. I know the challenges in bridging the two networks with an intermediary router and am hoping not to have to go that route. Was wondering if there are any other options. Someone mentioned an online print server service, but I can't find anything workable on that. Any input would be greatly appreciated.

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  3. #2
    Silver Lounger mrjimphelps's Avatar
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    Try this:

    http://www.iogear.com/product/GUB211/

    This is a USB printer auto-sharing device. It should do exactly what you want, if your copier has a USB printer port.

    Along with this device, you'll need to use a computer on each network as a print server; in plain English, that means that you will connect the copier to one computer on each network, and you will then share it from that computer. Of course, the two computers will need to be on all the time, so that you can print whenever you want to. And they'll need to be close enough to the copier so that you can connect them to the print sharing device. The maximum length for USB cables is about 16 feet, which includes the entire length of cable from the copier to the computer.

    You may be able to beat this maximum length with the following device:
    http://www.superwarehouse.com/Cables...29341/p/371521

    It will allow you to convert from USB to ethernet, then run a long ethernet cable, then convert back to USB.

    To me, this would be the simplest solution to this problem.

    Let me add that I haven't actually tested these solutions myself.
    Last edited by mrjimphelps; 2013-11-06 at 15:14.

  4. #3
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    Or connect the ethernet to one network and a USB print server to the other.

    cheers, Paul

  5. #4
    Silver Lounger mrjimphelps's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul T View Post
    Or connect the ethernet to one network and a USB print server to the other.

    cheers, Paul
    Some printers won't allow you to use both the ethernet port and the USB port; you have to choose one or the other.

    If his will allow that, then that would be the easiest and cheapest way to do it: on the ethernet side, make it a network printer, and everyone on that side can print to it; no dedicated computer is needed.

    He can choose which side is the USB side by determining which side can have a computer near the printer; in that way, he won't have to do the USB/ethernet/USB conversion.

  6. #5
    Gold Lounger
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    I assumed that it's a serious printer if they are sharing it but not anything else, so both USB and ethernet should be fine.

    cheers, Paul

  7. #6
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    Best solution: split the cost of a new printer. Draw straws to see who gets the new one.
    Split the cost of a new one 40/60%, 60% gets the new one?

  8. #7
    3 Star Lounger
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    Money size is involved here. Let's assume the copier is $1000 or quite expensive (the reason why parties split but still share the same printer).
    1. Use an old PC or cheap new PC. Add a network card. Now, with the built-in network card, will have 2 network cards. Assign TWO IP addresses, one from each network. Example: 192.168.1.135 on 192.168.1.xxx network; 192.168.007.135 on 192.168.007.xxx network. The USB connected copier is to this used PC. A laptop will also work, but need to add an USB-network adapter for the 2nd network.
    The dual-IP PC can communicate with both networks. Both networks can print to the shared USB copier.
    The key is cheap enough new PC (with a spare slot for 2nd netcard).
    The solution makes no sense if the copier is $500 or less. Might as well buy another copier.
    2. Use an intelligent router ($300 and up). Script it to allow both networks to go through.
    3. Use cheaper consumer grade router: May or may not work, depending on configuration and the type:
    Connect both networks to local side (LAN) of the consumer router. On the WAN side, connect the copier.
    How it works:
    Both IP network request-to-print goes through WAN. Now Net-address-translates (NAT) to single IP on WAN side. The WAN side IP is hidden from (here actually is common to) both 'local' IPs. One caveat, maybe one-way only, from local to WAN. Printer feedback signal may not work (WAN to LAN). Also, configure router to pass through unrestricted (DMZ).

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