Many companies route printing jobs from office computers to a shared printer. One of the simplest ways is by using an Ethernet network. In this blog post, you'll learn how easy it is to set up. Plus, you'll discover why you would want to use an Ethernet network instead of more high-tech options like wireless routers.
What is an Ethernet Network?
First, an Ethernet network simply connects multiple computers to your printer using cables. Some may find this solution to be low-tech in today's wireless world, but these types of networks have some significant advantages.
What are the advantages of using an Ethernet network?
A system with fewer parts is less likely to fail. That's why an Ethernet network is so reliable compared to wireless routers. Reliability, or up-time, plays a key role in most organizations' decisions to use cable-routed networks over wireless. However, there is another advantage.
2. High Speed
Ethernet cables and hubs allow data to transfer at speeds much higher than even the internet. Data travels from computers to printers much faster. Ultimately, the high speed translates to increased productivity in the office. It also means fewer maintenance calls, less waiting around the printer and absolutely no interference with other wireless equipment nearby.
3. Low Cost
Finally, Ethernet networks cut less into the budget than other options. The equipment is minimal and relatively straightforward to understand. It installs quickly and tucks easily out of sight when properly set up.
How to Set Up an Ethernet Network for Printing
1. Purchase Equipment
Begin by purchasing equipment. You'll need a hub and Ethernet cables. Be sure you don't accidentally buy crossover cables. Ask for help if you're not sure. You'll need a cable for every computer you connect plus one for the printer.
2. Designate a Location for the Hub
The hub isn't very large, but you should locate it in an area where people are less likely to disturb it. Typically, it fits well behind the printer, under a counter, in a server room or any area where traffic is minimal. Keep in mind, it's better to locate the hub near the printer for the sake of speed.
3. Route the Cables
Route cables to avoid tripping hazards. Normally, you'll want to route them up and overhead as much as possible. String them along poles or support beams of the building. Most cubicles and desks now come with routing holes and plugs to make this task easier.
4. Plug in the Cables
With the hub in place and the cables strung, you can now connect everything together. First, connect the cables to the computers. Leave slack for near the hub. You don't want excess cable dangling underneath desktops. After that, plug cables into the hub. Start with the printer's port. It is usually the last one on the right-hand side in the row. Some hubs will separate the printer's port for easier identification. If in doubt, look for a label above the port that says, "Link" or "Out." The other end of the computer cables can typically plug into any port.
5. Test Each Computer or Device
Finally, you're ready to test the new Ethernet network. Try printing a test page from each computer and make sure it works. If so, congratulations. You're done. If not, then check the cable first. It's usually the first culprit. And that's it. You now better understand Ethernet networks. You know why you'd want one, and you could set one up if you need. It really is simple once you know how.