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I am looking for a printer+ scanner device that any computer on my network can print, without switching on other computer. Usually, the way we setup a printer is that we have a host computer that connects to the printer/scanner, and all other computers connect to it to access the print function.

But this means that the host machine must be on all the time for the print functionality to be accessible by everyone. Is there a printer that can connect to all the machines ( via router, say) and is accessible when any machine that is switched on without depending on other machine?

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3 Answers

You're basically describing network printing. Make sure you select/purchase a printer that has a TCP/IP port. You can find more information on how to set it up here:

http://www.wellesley.edu/Computing/WinXP/printing.html

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It sounds like you're describing a network "all-in-one" device. We used to have an HP 8500 All-in-one connected to the router via wired ethernet. You could print from any computer or scan a document to any computer.

That said, I've never seen a consumer all-in-one that I liked. If just one part breaks, the whole device is crippled. Our 8500's printhead broke, so now it's just a bulky network scanner. The only reliable ones I've seen were large commercial Xerox or Canon copier/printer/scanners and I don't think that's what you're looking for.

Right now I use a USB scanner for the one computer that needs it and 2 network printers: a laser for economical printing and an inkjet for occasional color.

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Wifi all-in-ones are pretty cheap these days. A printer/scanner with wifi will do exactly what you want. If you have an existing wireless router, it's a good choice. I think they may even be cheaper than those with ethernet and built-in print servers, though I haven't checked lately.

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