TLWIR 50: A Case Study on Line Printing from GNU/Linux to a Wifi Printer

by Rex Djere on December 27, 2012


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Summary: In The Linux Week in Review 49, I showed you how to reliably print to a printer connected to a Windows 7 computer. This article is for those who don’t want to depend on a Windows machine for printing. In TLWIR 50, I will show you how to print directly to a WiFi-enabled printer. My case study uses a Canon MP560 all-in-one WiFi-enabled printer.

Reserving an IP Address for the WiFi Printer

In TLWIR 49, I set up our Windows 7 PC as a fixed target so that it would be easier for the GNU/Linux PC to find it. We used one of two methods to do this:

  • Giving the Windows 7 PC a static IP address.
  • Reserving an IP address for the Windows 7 PC in our wireless router.

We will use the exact same thought process in setting up to print directly from our GNU/Linux PC to our WiFi-enabled printer. We want our printer to be a fixed target instead of a moving one. Method 2 is preferred because it allows us to run our network more flexibly. For example, the printer could have the reserved IP address when connected to one network, and a completely different IP address when connected to a different network. We will go into our router’s settings, and reserve an IP address for our printer’s MAC address. In Figure 1, I show how I get to the page where I can reserve the IP address on a Linksys E4200 router.

Figure 1: DHCP Reservation Example

When I hit the “DCHP Reservation” button highlighted in Figure 1, I get a pop-up windows where I can add the network name, IP address, and MAC address of my printer, as shown in Figure 2 below.

Figure 2: Actually Reserving a Printer IP Address

The network name that I have chosen for my printer is “CanonMP560Wifi”. I want to reserve IP address for its use, so I simply add following information using the “Manually Add Client” block:

  • The printer’s network name.
  • The IP address that you want to reserve for the printer.
  • The printer’s MAC address.

I was able to find my printer’s Media Access Control (MAC) address by going to its built in web configuration page. I did this by clicking on the “Advanced” button in Figure 3 below. The MAC address is unique to the network adapter installed in your printer. If you can’t go to the configuration page for some reason, you may have to get creative to find out what your printer’s MAC address is. For example, if the printer is currently connected to the router via DHCP, you may be able to look at the DHCP client table to figure out which one is your printer. You may also be able to find the MAC address printed somewhere on your printer itself.

Once I add my printer, it appears in the “Clients Already Reserved” block. Now that the IP address is reserved, I can go to my printer’s built in configuration web page to set it up further, if needed. For my printer, the configuration web page is accessible by typing the reserved address, in my case, into any web browser from any computer on my home network. (Note: you may have to restart the printer to make sure it picks up the reserved address).

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