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Configuring a Mixed Wired/Wireless Network


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#1 black069

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Posted 06 March 2010 - 05:08 AM

Hi everyone.

As I was transitioning from newbie to intermediate user over the past few months, I finally figured out how to use "File and Printer Sharing" to transfer files between my laptop and desktop, as well as how to wirelessly print from my laptop to either of my 2 printers (an old HP LaserJet and a newer HP All-in-One Photosmart) connected to my desktop computer (via LFT and USB cables, respectively).

Before figuring out how to set up "File and Printer Sharing", I was able to wirelessly print from my laptop to one of my printers (Photosmart). After configuring my wireless router, all I had to do was enable the wireless radio on the printer, select my Network Name from a list, and then enter my WPA2 key. The advantage of this configuration was that I could print anytime, regardless of the power mode (On, Standby, Hibernate, or Off) of my desktop computer.

So it seems like I'm stuck with having one of the following, but not both at the same time:
(1) "File and Printer Sharing"; Pros: able to print to either of 2 computers; transfer files between computers on my network; Cons: desktop computer's power mode must be "ON" or "Standby";
OR
(2) WiFi connection of printer & laptop (802.1g via router); Cons: not able to transfer files; unable to print to my more cost efficient printer; Pros: independent of power status of desktop computer

So one of my questions is: ARE "FILE AND PRINTER SHARING" OVER A NETWORK AND WIRELESS (WiFi) PRINTING BY WAY OF ROUTER MUTUALLY EXCLUSIVE?

The following in HP Photosmart user manual also seems to support this EITHER/OR scenario. It states that during setup the user must decide which ONE of the 3 connection types he wants:
(A) USB Connection direct connection btw. printer & computer
(B) Ethernet (Wired) Network printer is connected to router as opposed to a computer
Wireless Network

But what about in the situation where you have aspects of both? I can't seem to find information on how to set up a mixed wired/wireless network.

So am I correct with the above assumptions?


Is it possible to set up my network so that file sharing works as well as wireless printing from my laptop to both printers, and to do so while the desktop is in a low-power state ("hibernate" or "off")? To "wake up" my desktop, could I somehow send a signal using my laptop?

Would getting a wireless network adaptor for my desktop make any sense?

Thanks so much for your generosity, in advance.



NETWORK/DEVICE SPECS
(1) Desktop Computer
Dell Dimension 4550
Intel Pentium 4 CPU
Windows XP Home SP3
RAM: 2 GB
Network Card: Intel PRO/100 VE

(2) Laptop Computer
Dell Precision M6300
Windows XP PRO SP3
Intel Core 2 Duo CPU
Windows XP PRO SP3
RAM: 2 GB
Network Card: Intel PRO/Wireless 3945ABG


(3) Router: Netgear RangeMax WPNv824v2 Wireless Router. 802.11b/g.



(4) Printer 1: HP Photosmart All-in-One C6180. 802.1b/g compatible. USB connection.



(5) Printer 2: HP LaserJet 6L. Very old. Not wireless-compatible. LPT connection.



(6) Cable/VoIP Modem (from my ISP).



Note: I have attached a schematic of my network (thumbnail below), not to add more information, but to help in case the above is not clear.


[img]
http://i878.photobucket.com/albums/ab347/b...nfiguration.jpg
[/img]

Edited by black069, 06 March 2010 - 05:28 AM.



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#2 CaveDweller2

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Posted 07 March 2010 - 12:56 PM

So one of my questions is: ARE "FILE AND PRINTER SHARING" OVER A NETWORK AND WIRELESS (WiFi) PRINTING BY WAY OF ROUTER MUTUALLY EXCLUSIVE? The basic rule is - if it is connected to a PC, you get to it by way of File and printer sharing. If it is connected directly to the router no need for file and printer sharing. And that goes for pretty much all peripherals.

In your case the printer has 3 ways to connect:

USB - directly to a PC. So you need file and printer sharing.

Ethernet - directly to the router. No PC involved so no file and printer sharing needed.

Wireless - Same as Ethernet only no wire.

But what about in the situation where you have aspects of both? I can't seem to find information on how to set up a mixed wired/wireless network. The router is the central point of most home networks. It makes no difference how you are connected to it, wired or wireless. Info will flow if its over a wire or radio signal. No matter how things are connected to the router, they communicate with each other.

Take my printer as an example. My PC is wired to my router. I have a laser printer that has Ethernet and USB as a connection. Where my printer sits makes it difficult to run an Ethernet wire to it and impossible for a USB cable. So I bought a wireless print server. I connect the printer to the print server via USB and the print server connects to my router via wireless and I connect to my router. Therefore I install drivers for the printer and tell it the IP address of the print server and I can print. Why? Its all connected to the router.

Connection wise the difference between mine and yours is your has the wireless print server built in.

Hope this helps thumbup.gif

Associate in Applied Science - Network Systems Management - Trident Technical College


#3 black069

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Posted 11 March 2010 - 05:57 PM

Thanks for the reply, CaveDweller2.

I have been digesting your comments to try to better understand them. (If you'll recall, I'm a "new intermediate" user.)

You wrote the following:


The basic rule is - if the printer is connected to a PC, you get to the printer (from a laptop) by way of File and printer sharing. If the printer is connected directly to the router no need for file and printer sharing.


Are you essentially saying that the only time one would/could use File and Printer Sharing (to gain access to the printer from a laptop) is when there is a USB connection between the printer and PC?

And since my Photosmart has the ability to connect via all 3 of the mentioned methods (USB, ethernet, and wireless), which method should I choose (knowing that, in my case, the USB and ethernet cables could reach)? Note that the reasons I chose File and Printer Sharing is because as I said in my first post, it allows me to view and edit files on my desktop from my laptop AND to print (from my laptop) to both my (color, expensive to replace ink) Photosmart and to my (black-ink only, more economical) LaserJet printer. The downside (a major one, I think) is that when using File and Printer Sharing, my desktop computer must either be on or in standby mode (no file transfer nor printing if the desktop is turned off or in hibernate mode).

It seems like the easy solution to this would be if there was a way to change the power state of my PC from my laptop. And actually, that MAY be possible. If you wouldn't mind looking at the screenshot (on the link) below, there are some properties for the network adaptor (via device manager) which discuss this. However, I do not understand what these "Wake on" settings do (or even if my PC is able to use them). The "Help" section states to refer to the user manual, but mine mentions nothing of this that I can find. Under Power Management, there are also some settings which, if configured, may help as well. But again, I'm not sure what to make of them.

Posted Image

I GREATLY would appreciate it if you would help me out on this. I have literally been struggling with this topic for well over a year.

Thanks so much.

Scott







#4 CaveDweller2

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Posted 11 March 2010 - 06:40 PM

Ok so the issue is: How to print to both printers without the PC being on all the time?

All-in-one - Connect it wireless to the router like you had it before and both the PC and laptop can print to it without the PC being on.

LaserJet - I am guessing this is an old printer that connects via a parallel printer cable?

What are the model numbers of both printers?

Looking into the Wake up thing.

Hope this helps thumbup.gif

Associate in Applied Science - Network Systems Management - Trident Technical College


#5 black069

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Posted 22 March 2010 - 04:58 PM

THANKS FOR YOUR CONTINUED HELP, CAVEDWELLER2. SORRY FOR THE DELAY....IN THE MIDDLE OF REFINANCING MY HOUSE, TAKING CARE OF MY CAR WHICH WAS DEMOLISHED BY A DRIVER WHO DIDN'T CHECK HER REAR-VIEW MIRROR (AND GETTING A RENTAL IN THE MEANTIME), AND HAD A 5-DAY CONFERENCE RECENTLY WHERE THE WIFI FEES WERE RIDICULOUS.

SEE THE ANSWERS TO THE QUESTIONS YOU ASKED IN YOUR LAST POST BELOW:


Ok so the issue is: How to print to both printers without the PC being on all the time?
Exactly. Although priority #2 is to be able to share and edit files wirelessly between my laptop and desktop so that I don't have to use a flash-drive, CD-ROM, etc. (I had been sharing/editing via "File and Printer Sharing.")

All-in-one - Connect it wireless to the router like you had it before and both the PC and laptop can print to it without the PC being on.
Hmm. This is the confusing part for me. I don't know if my connection to the All-in-One is wireless. The printer is connected via USB cable to my desktop PC, which in turn is connected via ethernet cable to one of the four LAN ports on the wireless router. An ethernet cable connects my cable modem to my wireless router (using the one "Internet port"), which I assume is what allows my laptop to connect to the internet wirelessly.

But here's the confusing part...before I set up "File and Printer Sharing," I do know that the All-in-One had a wireless connection to the router because (A) I was able to print from the laptop regardless of the PC's power state; and (B) I remember the pain of entering my 63-character WPA2 code into my printer using the up/down/left/right "direction pad."

LaserJet - I am guessing this is an old printer that connects via a parallel printer cable?
Very old LaserJet connected to my desktop PC (according to Device Manager) by ECP Printer Port (LPT1). I think this is a parallel printer cable, but not positive.

And although old, the LaserJet is much more cost-efficient than the All-in-One b/c it has one (black) toner which has to be replaced about every 2-3 years, whereas the All-in-One has 6 cartridges (1 black, 5 colored), which I always seem to be replacing.

What are the model numbers of both printers?
(1) HP Photosmart All-in-One C6100 Series (specifically, C6180)
(2) HP LaserJet 6L


Looking into the Wake up thing.
Yeah, the "Wake on Settings" (Wake on All, Wake on directed packet, Wake on Magic Packet, OS controlled, Disabled) are way above my pay grade.

Thanks again. I sincerely appreciate your help.



#6 CaveDweller2

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Posted 22 March 2010 - 07:51 PM

The All-in-one might be connected to the PC now but it doesn't need to be. It can connect to the router directly via wired or wireless.

Your WPA2 pass phrase doesn't need to be 63 characters long, because you can use letters, numbers, symbols and spaces just use a simple 4 - 5 word long sentence like I poke badgers with spoons that is more than sufficient to be secure.

My suggestion would be get a print server for the LaserJet but that is me. If you want you could have a read on here I have never used the software they suggest but it looks to do whatcha want. You just need to do that before you print.

Hope this helps thumbup.gif

Associate in Applied Science - Network Systems Management - Trident Technical College


#7 black069

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Posted 02 April 2010 - 07:38 PM

The All-in-one might be connected to the PC now but it doesn't need to be. It can connect to the router directly via wired or wireless.

What I was able to do, with your advice, was to remove the USB connection (from the printer to my computer). I replaced it with an ethernet cable going directly from the printer into one of the four LAN ports on my wireless router. I then had to use the control panel on the printer to MANUALLY set up the network by entering its IP settings (IP Address, Subnet Mask, Internet Gateway). Once I did so, I was able to print wirelessly from my laptop, at least for a day.

The next day, however, it didn't print wirelessly. I eventually figured out that it was because my router arbitrarily designates an IP address to its devices. So the day prior, the IP address was 192.168.1.3, but then the following day, that IP address was assigned to my laptop's network adaptor. Thus, I logged in to the router's settings and changed the IP address of my laptop to always be assigned 11 thru 254 after 192.168.1. This way, the printer would always be assigned the IP address of 192.168.1.2. And I can even now configure the printer's settings just by going to http://192.168.1.2.

What is so confusing about this is the terminology of the networking itself. The network settings on my printer show that it has a WIRED network setting, but not a wireless one. (It states that the wireless network interface is disabled.) But how am I printing wirelessly to the printer from my laptop, though, if it is WIRED. Does the "wired" simply mean that is hard-wired to the router? And since I have a WIRELESS setup from my laptop to my router, I can send whatever messages I need to send to the router wirelessly, then those messages are then sent to the printer via the wired connection.

The other strange thing here is that at no point did I have to enter my security settings (my WPA-2 key). But I guess this makes sense if I'm doing a WIRED connection only from the printer to the router.

Since I figured out this part, I haven't tried yet to print from my desktop PC to the HP Photosmart. (I had to remove the HP software/drivers from the desktop PC when I started this.) Remember, my desktop does not have any sort of wireless capability. So I'm wondering if I can print/scan/etc. from my desktop PC using the Photosmart. The HP manual states that a user must use either an ethernet cable, a USB cable, or a wireless connection to the printer; and that if an ethernet cable is connected, the wireless capability is automatically disabled. That said, though, I do have an ethernet cable running from my desktop computer to the router (in the "Internet" port). So should that connection send signals from my deskop computer to my Photosmart and vice-versa?


Your WPA2 pass phrase doesn't need to be 63 characters long, because you can use letters, numbers, symbols and spaces just use a simple 4 - 5 word long sentence like I poke badgers with spoons that is more than sufficient to be secure.

Point taken.

My suggestion would be get a print server for the LaserJet but that is me. If you want you could have a read on here I have never used the software they suggest but it looks to do whatcha want. You just need to do that before you print.

Thanks for this website. It seems like the methods they mention, if I can figure them out, are free, whereas I'm guessing a print server would cost quite a bit of money. I am confused regarding the website's instructions, though, since I'm not sure whether the connection between my laptop and my desktop. The site gives instructions for LAN connections only stating, "Note that you cannot wake a computer that is powered down over a WLAN connection. Only cable connections will do." So I'm not sure whether my setup will work (in other words, is it LAN or WLAN).

Thanks so much for your help.





#8 CaveDweller2

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Posted 02 April 2010 - 09:04 PM

The other strange thing here is that at no point did I have to enter my security settings (my WPA-2 key). But I guess this makes sense if I'm doing a WIRED connection only from the printer to the router. Correct. WPA = wireless security not involved with wired.

"Does the "wired" simply mean that is hard-wired to the router? And since I have a WIRELESS setup from my laptop to my router, I can send whatever messages I need to send to the router wirelessly, then those messages are then sent to the printer via the wired connection." You hit the nail on the head.


Since I figured out this part, I haven't tried yet to print from my desktop PC to the HP Photosmart. (I had to remove the HP software/drivers from the desktop PC when I started this.) Remember, my desktop does not have any sort of wireless capability. So I'm wondering if I can print/scan/etc. from my desktop PC using the Photosmart. The HP manual states that a user must use either an ethernet cable, a USB cable, or a wireless connection to the printer; and that if an ethernet cable is connected, the wireless capability is automatically disabled. That said, though, I do have an ethernet cable running from my desktop computer to the router (in the "Internet" port). So should that connection send signals from my deskop computer to my Photosmart and vice-versa? If you install the software back on the PC then configure a TCP/IP printer port. It'll be in the instructions somewhere. All the functions should work.

The site gives instructions for LAN connections only stating, "Note that you cannot wake a computer that is powered down over a WLAN connection. Only cable connections will do." So I'm not sure whether my setup will work (in other words, is it LAN or WLAN). I didn't see that. You are correct, it won't work for you. You could plug it into the desktop. I believe it would work. Yes print serves are kinda expensive but worth it for what they do, here is Newegg's list.

Hope this helps thumbup.gif

Associate in Applied Science - Network Systems Management - Trident Technical College


#9 black069

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Posted 02 April 2010 - 10:32 PM

Thanks for your quick reply.

In your last paragraph, you wrote:

"I didn't see that. You are correct, it won't work for you. You could plug it into the desktop. I believe it would work."

Dumb question on my part...what do you mean by "it" in this case? And the same for "work"? The goal, I think, is to be able to print to my HP LaserJet6L wirelessly (using my laptop). The LaserJet is connected by LPT port to my Desktop PC and has no wireless network adaptor, no USB port, etc...the only means of connection is the LPT cable. So I was asking whether my desktop could be woken up remotely using my laptop in order to print to this more efficient printer (and also to access files on the former). The (non-wireless) network adapter in my desktop PC has, in its settings (via Device Manager, selecting the adapter, then Properties>Advanced), "Wake on Settings".

And the choices for "Wake on Settings" include the following:
  • Disabled
  • OS Controlled
  • Wake on ALL
  • Wake on directed packet
  • Wake on Magic Pocket
So it would appear that I may be able to wake up my desktop computer from my laptop if this (and likely other) setting(s) is/(are) configured properly.

But when I right-click on the above choices, it reads:

"This property setting is device dependent. Read the device manufacturer's instruction manual to determine what to select here."

Do they mean that mythical 1,000 page user manual for my Dell Dimension 4550 that is hiding somewhere on the net and likely remains untouched because only experts can decipher its text?

What do you think, my spelunking friend?

Edited by black069, 02 April 2010 - 10:34 PM.


#10 CaveDweller2

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Posted 05 April 2010 - 01:47 PM

I am sorry. I have been busy and when I replied I didn't do what I normally do which is to re-read the post so I can refresh my mind.

If your desktop is connected via Ethernet to the router that will work. If you shut your PC down then look on the back of it, you'll see that where the Ethernet plugs in the lights are blinking or at least on. Which is how WOL is able to work, signals are still going to the Ethernet card. But if its connected via wireless when the PC shuts down the wireless is not still sending a signal nor is it able to receive one while the power is off, so you can not use WOL to wake up a PC if its connected via wireless. That is what the site is talking about. You can send the signal from a wireless connection to wake up another PC but not to one via wireless to wake it up.

As far as which to choose in the "Wake On Settings", I'm not really sure. You could look in the software to see what sort of packet it sends. I would try the "Wake on ALL" because no matter what signal is sent I think it would work.

Hope this helps thumbup.gif

Associate in Applied Science - Network Systems Management - Trident Technical College





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