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How to find a printer on a network

posted Dec 9, 2010, 6:29 PM by d graham   [ updated Jan 4, 2013, 10:22 AM ]
To find the printer a good first step is identifying the IP address. Today many network printers support a printing protocol which makes use of port 9100.

One way to determine the IP address is to use a network scanner. There are several different networks scanners, the most prominent of which is in nmap. Nmap is incredibly complicated in some areas, but highly useful even for a novice. Nmap also has many advanced features which the average user will find unnecessary, but they are easy to ignore. For our purposes there is visual interface which is called Zenmap. Both the command line based version and the visual(gui) are located at http://www.nmap.org


Before scanning your network with Zenmap, you must find out the IP address range of your local area network. Most Home Local Area Networks will have an IP address similar to 192.168.1.1 or 10.1.10.1.

On my machine, I selected quick scan from the drop down box, and entered 10.1.10.* into the target textbox. When you run the Zenmap scan, sometimes the printer will print out a page, this is because most networked printers will print anything sent to port 9100. (If you want to test that, connect to your printers ip address with Telnet and begin typing)

To determine which IP address is your printer, click on the “Ports/Hosts” tab, then look through the IP addresses until you find an open port 9100, this will usually say “jetdirect” or similar.
 
edit: a better command to search for just this port(as nmap now sometimes skips the port to avoid random printing) is "nmap -p T:9100 10.1.1.*" for example which tells nmap just to scan for port 9100
 
Once you find the IP address of the printer, go to: Start> Control Panel> Printers> Add a Printer

Select Local Printer (not network printer although this sounds counter-intuitive)

Then change to make a new port and in the drop-down box select "Standard TCP/IP Port"

Enter the IP address you determined earlier

Download the drivers for your printer from the manufacturers website(you can usually find the model of the printer by going to its IP address, which hosts a webserver based printer manger)

When asked, select the correct models drivers, click through the dialogs and start printing!

An alternate method to determine the IP address of your printer navigate to the Belarc Software website at: http://www.belarc.com/

Choose the free download link at the navigation bar towards the top of the page. On the free download page you will download a copy of Belarc System Advisor. Belarc System Advisior is alot like CPU-Z if you are familiar with that system profiling tool. One of the neat features of Belarc Advisor , and what makes it useful for finding a printer is that during the course of profiling the system it is run on, it also does a network scan of any available interfaces.

After installing Belarc Advisor, go to: Start > All Programs > Belarc Advisor (it will not add a folder, but will be ungrouped with other icons like Windows Media Player, Windows Movie Maker, etc)

Upon opening Belarc, it will begin doing a system profile scan, this can take a few minutes, so grab a beer/coffee and relax. After Belarc has finished its scan of your PC/Network, it will open the report as a webpage in your default browser.

Scroll down the page to where the network map is and IP addresses are listed. Look for an IP address that says “Print Server” next to it (its okay if it says web server also on that IP address)

edit: Also if you are on windows but feel like doing things the hard way, or have a good idea what other addresses are already on your network, you can ping the broadcast address 192.168.1.255 in some home networks(based on the netmask) and then perform and arp -a to see a list of hosts your computer recognizes.

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