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If you’ve been able to print over the Internet using the new Internet Printing Protocol (IPP), then
you’re one of the lucky few. Fortunately, Windows 95 and 98 users need not wait for future OSs
that promise IPP support thanks to an upgrade that Microsoft has made freely available. Here’s
what you need to do to be able to print to any printer—anywhere.

ne of the hot topics relating to

O printers today is the Intern e t

Printing Protocol (IPP), a new
s t a n d a rd that makes network
setup for printers potentially much eas-
ier and, not so incidentally, lets you print
over the Intern e t .
M o re and more network-ready print-
ers include IPP. Alas, most computers
don’t. More precisely, their operating
systems don’t. Future versions of all ma-
jor operating systems and network op-
erating systems promise IPP support,
and support is already built into Wi n-
dows 2000. But right now, lots more sys-
tems come with Windows 95 and 98,
which pre-date IPP. And that’s a pro b-
lem if you want to take advantage of the
p ro t o c o l .
The good news is that Microsoft has an
upgrade for Windows 95 and 98 (though
not Windows NT 4.0) that adds IPP sup-
port. The bad news is that the inform a-
tion on Microsoft’s site concerning how
to use IPP with the upgrade is wro n g
(as of this writing, at least), and Micro-
soft does not offer technical support for
Figure 1: To Download the IPP upgrade, look for the Internet Print Service choice on the Windows
the upgrade. In this article, we’ll fill in Upgrade page.
the details about how you set up IPP.

88 October 2000 ■


We’ll assume you’re already familiar with yourself. In other cases (the Te k t ro n i x
issues such as determining your printer’s Phaser 750D X by Xerox, for example),

IP a d d ress and whether a given system you’ll find a choice to actually install
can see the printer over the network. All the driver from the Web (one of sever-
comments here apply to both Wi n d o w s al choices for the 750D X). Be aware that
95 and 98. installing over the Web may not let you
First, you need to download and install install and set up IPP in a single step.
the upgrade. Note that Mic rosoft re- You may have to install for LPT1, t h e n
arranges its Web site occasionally, so the change the port afterwards.
spec if ics for downloading ma y have Once you have the driver files in hand, A s y o u m a y k n o w,
changed by the time you read this. choose Start | Settings | Printers, then I P P’s ability to let you
Open your browser and go to the Micro- Add Printer to start the Add Printer Wi z- print over the Internet
soft Windows Update page (http://win- a rd. Choose Next, then Network Print- is t he e y e - c at ch i n g, then choose e r, then Next again and type the print- part of the st o r y. But
Product Updates. The Web site will analyse er URL in the text box labelled Network the real importance of
your installation automatically and then Path Or Queue Name. Note that the de- IPP is that it’s a new
show you a list of updates that you haven’t fault URL will depend on the printer. In st a n d a rd for printing.
yet installed. Scroll through the list; you’re many cases, the URL will read Think of it as an up-
looking for the Communications section. h t t p : / / n n n . n n n . n n n . n n n / I P P, where the d ate to the venera b l e
Under Communications, look for Inter- string of n’s re p resents the IP a d d re s s . L i ne P R ri n te r ( L P R )
net Print Service, as shown in Figure 1. In other cases, the address may not need printing st a n d a rd. It’s
(If you don’t see this choice, IPP may al- the /IPP. In still others, the URL m a y meant to provide eas-
ready be installed. To check, go to the top start with IPP instead of http. Also note ier setup for network
of the list, click on Show Installed Updates, that the printer may be assigned a name printers, and it also al-
and scroll down to Communications. If using a DNS s e r v e r. If someone else set l ows IP printing ov e r
the Internet Print Service is installed, you up the printer, you’ll want to find out the the Internet, so you
should see it marked with the designa- URL. can print to any print-
tion Already Installed, as in Figure 1.) After you type the URL in the text box, er yo ur sy st em ca n
At this writing, the comment following choose Next. If your system can see the ping.
the Internet Print Service choice will re- p r i n t e r, it will simply move to the next Also note that IPP
liably misinform you: ‘This component s c reen. If not, you should get a message makes setting up peer-
only works if you can connect to a Wi n- telling you the printer is off-line, and to-peer printing on a
dows 2000 machine to print.’ If you choose that you won’t be able to print until it network simple. This
the Read this first link, you’ll go to a page comes back online. If you see this mes- can be useful in set-
with a similar statement. Ignore both sage, check to make sure you entere d tings ranging from a
statements. they are wrong. the URL c o r rectly. If you did, you may small office that does-
If Internet Print Service isn’t already in- have a networking problem that you n’ t hav e a ne t wo rk
stalled, check the box next to the name need to resolve so your system can see server to a WAN t h at
and then choose the Download button. the printer. Also, though it may seem spans the country. In
The file will download, install and give elementary, make sure the printer is ac- a small office, IPP lets
you the option to reboot. Allow the re- tually online. you connect the print-
boot. Assuming your system finds the print- er dire c t ly to your hub
The next step is to make sure you have e r, the Wi z a rd will take you to the next i n stead of hooking it
the printer driver. If you don’t alre a d y step, which installs the driver. Simply up through an LPT port
have it, you should be able to download choose Have Disk and complete the in- on a given system. You
it from the vendor’s site, or you may be stallation the way you would with any can then print dire c t-
able to get it directly from the printer. other printer. If you downloaded the ly to the printer fro m
Most newer network printers have built files to your local hard drive, point to e a ch computer, with-
in Web pages. Assuming your system can the appropriate directory. When the in- out a particular com-
see the printer (over your network or stallation finishes, you should be able to puter being pow e re d
over the Internet), you can load the We b print. on just to let you print
page by entering the printer’s IP a d d re s s As mentioned earlier, you can install f rom other sy st e m s .
in your browser—in the form the driver to an LPT port first and then On a WA N, IPP will let
http://nnn.nnn.nnn.nnn, where each n change the port. If you took that ro u t e , you print dire c t ly to
re p resents a number. If you can load the choose Start | Settings | Printers after a ny p ri n t e r, i n a n y
Web page, and if you have appro p r i a t e installing the driver, right click on the building, anywhere on
p e rmissions, you’ll often find a choice printer and choose Properties, then De- the WA N. Indeed, you
to install or download the printer driver. tails. Choose Add Port, then Network, and coul d prin t to any
In the case of some printers, including type the URL in the text box labelled p r i n t e r, in any build-
the Lexmark Optra C710dn, the install Specify the Network Path to the Print- ing, i n a ny c o un tr y
choice will take you to the appro p r i a t e e r. Then choose OK and click on O K connected to the WAN.
page for downloading the driver on the again to close the Properties dialog box
vendor Web site—a convenience that can and save the settings. You should now
save a lot of time over searching the site be able to print. ■ October 2000 89