Printers can be hooked onto a network system in several ways. Some printers come integrated with network sockets which allow them to be plugged to your router just like a computer. Latest printers come with the wireless technology that enables it to get connected to a network wirelessly.
Many home printers come with a standard USB offering. These printers can be connected to a computer through the USB port.
If a home printer needs to be connected to a network, there are a few options. The first one involves purchasing a print server which is a connector that converts USB into Ethernet that can seamlessly be connected to a router (wired or wireless) just like a network printer.
The easier/common approach is to share the printer through a computer. In essence, the printer will be connected to a computer and gets hooked onto the network through the computer.
For connecting a printer to the network through a computer, use the File and Printer Sharing tool included with Windows. Enable file and printer sharing and right click on any folder in My Computer and select Sharing and Security from the menu. Now, click the network setup wizard link, and work through the pages that follow, being sure to assign the PC a short and memorable name, enter a workgroup name, and then choose to enable file and printer sharing on the sixth page.
At the completion of the wizard, the printer should be shared. Now, right click on the printer and choose sharing. This will open a new tab that allows you to change the printer’s shared name and to enable or disable sharing.
If you have to deal with Vista, choose to add a printer then select Add a network, wireless or Bluetooth printer. The shared printer should appear, ready to be selected.