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Hook up wireless printer in dorm room?

turbo93turbo93 Registered User Posts: 2,823 Senior Member
edited September 2011 in College Computers
Quick question for the next parental IT support excursion...

DD1 has a nice Canon MX495 USB/WiFi printer for her dorm room. Since the dorm room was designed for hamsters and other rodents, and not normal humans, there is no place to put the printer in any other place but on top of a huge dresser across the room. Electricity is present...The printer can be configured for WiFi or USB.

If I configure it as WiFi, the printer will have to be allowed in as part of their Residence Halls Network. There's a standard IT web page where you put in your user id, password, and MAC address and it adds the device to the network. I assume the DHCP fairy provides an IP address to the printer and all is happy.

DD1's Lenovo T420 has gone thru the above procedure as well and works fine.

Is that all I need to do before installing the software driver on the T420?

And, if her roomie also installs the drivers, they can share the device?

Any experiences with WiFi printers in a dorm environment?
Post edited by turbo93 on

Replies to: Hook up wireless printer in dorm room?

  • RockBandMomRockBandMom Registered User Posts: 52 Junior Member
    And is there a way to "limit" the printer so everyone on the floor won't have access?
  • turbo93turbo93 Registered User Posts: 2,823 Senior Member
    I know that :-) I would not worry about it since they'll have to install the right driver, it won't be discoverable, the works. So unless some random dorm-mate knocks on DD1's room at 3 AM asking for her printout, we're good.

    I doubt the printer can set such limits on its own though - or that Windows is smart enough to autodiscover printers...
  • marcdvlmarcdvl Registered User Posts: 1,315 Senior Member
    An easier solution might just be to move the printer when it's actually needed. I print things maybe once a week, if that. I keep mine out of the way, and grab it, print, and put it back when I'm done.
    If your D really wants to use the wifi, there should be someone at the college's computing center than can help. Wish I could be more help with the installation, but it's hard to do when not physically there. It might be as simple as going the installation, and then providing the MAC address and device name. Wireless gadgets syncing with a computer and a college network can be a finnicky process if not sure of what's going on.

    Printer's options will get saved to the Printer's memory on initial setup. She will be able to block others from using it then.
  • turbo93turbo93 Registered User Posts: 2,823 Senior Member
    It's just a question as to whether the laptop will happily DHCP off the school's wifi router and DNS rather than choke. This works fine on my home network but throw in an academic network and all bets are off. I'll know more when I try it on Labor Day weekend...
  • UAKidUAKid - Posts: 554 Member
    I think you're right. Academic networks are a virtual labyrinth of complexity and security. Heck I sometimes have problems getting computers networked at home with total access to everything...college wifi is like a black box.

    My solution would be to buy a 20' USB cable and either tape it to the floor so people don't trip over it, or just run and plug it in whenever your D needs to print and unplug when done.

    You can also be a bit clever and build a custom table out of cardboard and hot-glue. I do this at my apartment to stack electronics on top of each other (my scanner is on a 3 leg table above my external hdd).
  • turbo93turbo93 Registered User Posts: 2,823 Senior Member
    Based on USB 2.0 spec the max length is 16ft... In my drawer of junk of course I have a really nice Asus WiFi Dongle (vendor sample :-)) and could use it to build a private subnet between the T420 and the printer...
  • sleep4mesleep4me - Posts: 98 Junior Member
    Presumably 16' would be plenty (they're always conservative with their specs anyways), but nonetheless there's a 33 ft repeater cable for $10 on ebay.

    I think the private subnet is over complicating a relatively simple problem. Something goes wrong your D has no clue how to fix it.
  • bruno14bruno14 Registered User Posts: 2,024 Senior Member
    I agree with sleep4me: my roommate last year had one of those printers, and she just kept it on the floor under her desk. When we needed to print something (no more than once a week), we pulled it out, hooked it up to our computers, and printed. Much simpler, and it was easy to troubleshoot.
  • turbo93turbo93 Registered User Posts: 2,823 Senior Member
    That's what DD1 is doing right now (plastic milk crate, printer on top and hooked up via USB...
  • charlieschmcharlieschm Registered User Posts: 4,282 Senior Member
    I know of one university that says that their dorm wireless system conflicts with individual wireless printers, so they will not work. People have tried for hours to get the wireless printers to work before they found out it was impossible.
  • turbo93turbo93 Registered User Posts: 2,823 Senior Member
    Flagship State U - 1, Turbo - 0...

    Tried today and found my plans thwarted by the university's IT constabulary. Apparently they need me to register the MAC address of the printer in order to allow it to get a DHCP address. Unfortunately, without the MAC address being registered the printer can't join the network, period. Registering is done via a web page.

    In order to get the MAC address I have to turn on the printer and 'scan' for it from the laptop using the Canon network scan utility. But without the MAC address, this won't happen.

    The obvious solution is to do this at home where your router is your router and you don't have to deal with the IT restrictions. Then at school use the MAC address to register the printer and pray that it is visible. So, the printer remains connected via USB. Grrr.
  • queenthethirdqueenthethird Registered User Posts: 167 Junior Member
    Even if you did get the MAC address and a DHCP assignment, chances are it wouldn't be visible. This is done for the obvious reason of preventing kids from connecting to other unsuspecting kid's shared folders.
This discussion has been closed.