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I have a HP 2300dtn laser printer (PCL/PS) connected directly to the network and I would like to add "airprint" capability to it so that client computers can find it automatically.

The printer claims to support mDNS but it does not show up in iOS devices. What's the difference between mDNS and airprint?

Is there some way to use avahi on another computer to advertise my printer?

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1 Answer 1

mDNS (aka zeroconf, Rendezvous, and Bonjour) is a way for devices to advertise the services they have on the network. A computer still needs to support that service (with the appropriate drivers) in order for them to use the service. For instance, if you had Macs on the network, they would see the HP 2300dtn on the network and allow you to select it as a printer; then the Mac would download drivers and install them automatically.

Airprint is built on Bonjour, so that it allows you to find printers. But it also goes further by letting you print without needing any drivers. The protocol hasn't been published (that I can find) but apparently it normally spits out fairly standard formats (JPEG and PDF) that printers can understand.

There are various ways to enable desktop computers to advertise Airprint for other devices. The Wikipedia article on AirPrint mentions software for various platforms that can enable it. If you are using CUPS, versions 1.4.6 and greater automatically support AirPrint.

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I am not using CUPS since, as I said in the original post, the printer is connected directly to the network. I would like to use avahi-daemon on my router to advertise the service however I cannot determine how the options need to be set in the XML services file. In fact I have managed to get avahi-browse to list the printer but iOS still does not so something must be amiss in the aforementioned XML file. –  user64996 Nov 19 '12 at 0:56
    
Since AirPrint is a printing protocol that doesn't use drivers, you need software somewhere which will accept print jobs and then convert it to a form that the printer understands. That is what CUPS can do for you: it will both advertise and speak the AirPrint protocol, and then can send the job back over the network to the printer. The records in avahi are only part of the problem. –  Alan Shutko Nov 19 '12 at 15:46
    
I feared that CUPS was necessary (can CUPS manage network printers?) but I don't fully understand why. My Laserjet accepts many formats; what exactly does Airprint need? I have a newer inkjet that doesn't require support from CUPs either; what does it have that my laserjet doesn't? –  user64996 Nov 19 '12 at 21:59

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