This is by far the most direct solution. You install a network adapter in your printer.

The most common approach on campus involves an HP LaserJet brand of printer. A Jetdirect card (Part number J2552A) is suitable for most recent HP LaserJet printers. (Laserjet 4 and 5 families) (Click here to go to HP’s WWW site for full details on the J2552A Jetdirect adapter and printer compatibility).

A printer configured with this Jetdirect card is then assigned an IP address, which is the “lpd hostname”. The jetdirect card supports two “queues”. One called raw (which is the one we use) for formatted files, and another called text (which we don’t use) that may be useful for other printing. Thus the “lpd queuename” is raw.

If you have a printer that is not an HP printer, that printer manufacturer may be able to provide something functionally equivalent. For maximum flexibility you want to get a network adapter that supports lpd connections and is also multiprotocol and all protocols are simultaneously active. Lexmark makes such adapters for their printers for example.

HP also makes an external adapter that can hook to any printer that has a parallel port connection. The Jetdirect EX (J2382B) external print server should meet most of your needs. Click here to visit the HP WWW site and view the Jetdirect EX spec sheet for full compatibility information.