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I've got to do user training at a large site (40+ location's/ 80 Sessions) that requires demonstrating printing to a (single) network printer.

How do I have a roving network printer across multiple LANs in an site?

The printer gets allocated (via DHCP server using the printers MAC address) new IPs on each floor (10), because each floor is allocated a specific range of IP's.

Because the printer name is associated with the IP address, moving the printer in this environment necessitates reconfiguring the DHCP each time the printer is moved.

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4 Answers 4

Why would the printer be getting a new IP address? Oh, wait-- you're physically moving the printer to different networks! Heh heh...

If you have to do this, dynamic DNS is your friend. I'd have your DHCP server register the DNS records on behalf of the printer. Windows Server 2000+ DHCP can do this. Look at the properties-sheet for your DHCP scope. Point the server-side print queue at the DNS name of the print server device. You might have to adjust the TTL down on the DNS records for the print device if you're moving it really frequently.

(This actually seems very funny to me. I'm seeing a battery-operated motorized wheelchair with a bunch of UPS's stacked on it, a big laser printer, and a WiFi print server driving around the office running into cubicles, with a bunch of people chasing it.)

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+1 for the mental image of a robo-printer with users chasing it down the hall! –  BillN Jun 17 '09 at 21:57

Sounds to me you're either going to need working DDNS or MAC-based VLANs...

Unless you're up for managing the printer name through your local HOSTS file (I'm assuming you're on Windows).

Under \Windows\System32\drivers\etc\ is a file called HOSTS. In here, you can tie an IP address to a name like so:

172.16.0.42 ThisPrinterNameRocks

If you are training in a lab, you'd have to make the change to every machine. A batch script on a flash drive can help:

@echo off
set PrinterIP = 172.16.0.42
echo PrinterIP >> %SYSTEM32%\drivers\etc\HOSTS

But really, DDNS or VLAN is probably your best bet.

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+1 Extra bonus for the printer name –  squillman Jun 19 '09 at 22:18

Are the sites known quantities? For example, will you be training at 4 different sites and rotating between them? If so, I'd suggest getting a DHCP reservation on each site so that your printer will get the same IP address within each site each time it is on the LAN. You could then set up DNS entries to those IPs so you can reference the printer as site1-printer, site2-printer, etc.

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Especially if you were using a Mac, I'd suggest printing via Bonjour (a.k.a. Zeroconf). The printer could be removed from the DHCP list and give itself an IP, and, (perhaps using Bonjour for Windows) you can print to it via its multicast DNS name.

If the point of the demonstration is to show printing to a network printer, could you just leave it in one place, ask the participants to tell you what to print, and have someone call to say, "The printout says, 'Floor 10 is the best'", to prove that the printout was successful?

If the exercise is not specifically about printing to a network printer, is there a reason you can just print using USB?

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