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Although this may seem like a (stupid) question - if we have a USB printer, hooked up to a host machine and shared out. The printer has Scan to network facilities - would you be able to scan to network?

In theory, given the data would merely travel down the USB to the host machine, and then across to whatever machine in the network, this could work, but I guess I'm well off track!


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up vote 2 down vote accepted

I'm assuming my answer to your previous question was not too useful as it requires you to connect the printer via ethernet in order to use the more advanced features.

This is highly dependant on the scanning software on the machine that the printer/scanner is attached to. If the machine has some kind of automated software that can scan to specific locations then sure, that software could be set up to push the files across the network.

USB is not a magic networking protocol, it is a master/slave point-to-point device interface and needs software support on the host in order to use any of the features of the slave device such as scanning or printing.

The interface is extremely dumb and lacks any form of routing logic, the master either requests data, sends data, or gets a poll from a device saying it has data but there is by no means the same kind of routing that is available with a proper networking stack such as TCP/IP.

If you want to have some means of pushing data that has been scanned from USB then you will need some kind of control logic behind it.

Lets assume the computer can automatically scan to a file without intervention, how do you expect the computer to then know where the file should go without some kind of human intervention? Every time you scan a file you would have to have someone push the file to where you want it.

Computers are not intelligent enough to know where you want anything to go. They are literally the dumbest people on the planet and can only follow incredibly precise instructions. They can do it damn fast, but they can only do what they are told, they are not magic and have no idea what to do with data once they are given it unless they have already been given instructions on what to do with it.

If the software you have does not support this using the connections you have then there is nothing you can do but look for other solutions.

Your printer manufacturer has given you the tools to do this using Ethernet and the configuration I pointed you at in my answer to your other question, they have not set it up to do this via USB because there is no real need to, where there is USB there is almost always the option to drag another ethernet cable into the area so why duplicate the functionality on both the printer and the dumb driver software on the computer?

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Without knowing the printer model, its hard to say for sure. But most likely, the answer is yes. Since it is connected via USB, software needs to be configured on the host machine to allow this functionality. Check the printers manual on how to set it up.

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depending on how the printer is setup, you may need to assign it an IP. If thats the case then you can log into the printer by visiting it's IP address, and then you set network shares from there. Typically, you point it to a shared folder UNC path. "\\hostmachine\scans" – Lee Harrison Aug 21 '12 at 19:50
he said it connected by usb, so it would not be getting an ip address. – Keltari Aug 21 '12 at 19:53
Good point, missed that one :P – Lee Harrison Aug 21 '12 at 20:00

As Keltari stated. Without more info it is hard to tell.

My suggestion :

I normally add a shared folder on the host machine and set that as the default scan folder.

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