Q

How to connect wireless networks for printing capabilities

Get step-by-step instructions on how to connect wireless routers so that you can print wirelessly and stay connected to the Internet in this expert response from Lisa Phifer.

I have an HP LaserJet printer with an HP Jetdirect print server, attached to a Linksys wireless router. I also have a 2Wire broadband router from AT&T to access the Internet and link four systems together.

How can I attach the Linksys wireless router to the 2Wire broadband router in another room? I want to link the two devices so all users can be on the Internet and print.

Based on your description, it sounds like you have two physically isolated subnets, one supported by your Linksys router and another supported by your 2Wire router. What you want to do is create a physical link and network route between those subnets, so that traffic can flow between them in both directions (from 2Wire clients to the print server, from Linksys clients to the Internet.)

To create the physical link, you can use Ethernet, HomePlug, or Wi-Fi. Because your routers are from different vendors and located in different rooms, HomePlug may be your best bet. Buy a pair of HomePlug Ethernet adapters -- you can find a list of HomePlug certified products here.

Plug one HomePlug adapter into an electrical outlet located near the 2Wire router, and the other HomePlug adapter into an outlet near the Linksys router. Use a short Ethernet cable to connect one HomePlug to an unused Ethernet port on your 2Wire router. Use another short Ethernet cable to connect the other HomePlug to the WAN port on your Linksys router. The two networks are now physically connected.

At this point, your Linksys router will get its WAN IP address from your 2Wire router.

Important: Change your Linksys router's LAN port address so that it uses a different (non-overlapping) subnet than your 2Wire. Both may default to 192.168.1.x. If so, change your Linksys router's LAN port to something like 192.168.55.1, leaving your 2Wire's LAN port at 192.168.1.1.

At this point, clients connected to the Linksys router will have no trouble reaching the Internet by routing through the 2Wire onto your AT&T broadband connection. However, you also want clients on the 2Wire to reach the printer connected to your Linksys router -- that requires a configuration change on the Linksys router. By default, your Linksys wireless router includes a firewall that blocks unsolicited traffic sent to its WAN port, including any traffic sent by 2Wire clients to your print server.

To change this, configure your Linksys to treat your print server as a "DMZ Host." On most Linksys routers, this can be found under "Applications and Gaming," just enable DMZ Host and enter the print server's static LAN IP address.

From now on, 2Wire clients will be able to print by sending jobs to the Linksys router's static WAN IP address. The Linksys router will forward those incoming requests, translating its own WAN IP address to the DMZ Host's LAN IP address.

To make this all works, the print server and Linksys router must have static IP addresses. Configure your JetDirect with an IP address from the Linksys router's LAN subnet, using a host number other than the Linksys router's LAN IP or DHCP range.

For example, if your Linksys LAN IP is 192.168.55.1 and uses 192.168.55.50-100 for DHCP, you could assign the JetDirect 192.168.55.2.

Finally, configure your Linksys WAN port with a static IP from the 2Wire's LAN subnet, For example, 192.168.1.2. Clients connected to the Linksys will print to 192.168.55.2, while clients connected to the 2Wire will print to 192.168.1.2. Yes, addressing does get a bit confusing, so I recommend drawing a diagram to keep everything straight.

For example:

Click the diagram to enlarge picture.

This was first published in July 2008

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