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I am in a residential accommodation that only uses Ethernet cable to connect to the Internet. I am thinking of buying a printer, and the ones that I am looking for connect to a computer/laptop with WiFi.

Do I need WiFi or can I connect with the printer in another way?

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1  
Got a specific model in mind? (it is easier to answer based on an actual printer). –  Rinzwind Nov 5 '12 at 11:12
    
I have yet to see a printer with wifi but without ethernet or USB conections. It doesn't hurt to take a look at the spec of your specific model though. –  David Foerster Oct 17 '13 at 19:19

3 Answers 3

If you have a wifi router and several machines, you can connect the printer to the router via wifi and the other machines connected to the same LAN (same subnet will be easier) via ethernet cable will be able to use the printer.

If you have a network with no wifi and the printer can only connect via wifi (very unusual), you won't be able to connect to it.

If your router has no wifi and you have a machine with wifi, you can connect the printer to this machine and share it from there but this is not the best way as your machine will need to be always on (and working).

If you have a router with an USB port and no wifi, almost certainly, the printer will have an USB port and you can use it to connect to the router and share it to the network.

If you have only one machine, you can use wifi if available on your machine but almost certainly your printer will have an USB connection available too.

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You can connect using WIFI but I myself have yet to see any printer that does not include also a method to use either ethernet (this is mainly for network printers) or USB (do not forget about that one since it is the most common method).

The question is ehmmmm somewhat wrong: the usage of internet has nothing to do with the ability to use a printer. Yes you can have printers that need the router that is used for internet connectivity but those are mainly network printers (those tend to have an ethernet connection).

The general method for printing from a desktop/notebook is to use USB or WIFI but this is directly from desktop/notebook to the printer (the printer has USB, system has USB, plug in an USB cable and the printer should be detected (of course WIFI even does not require a cable)). Just pick one others on the web marked as Linux compatible.

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Using USB in a network means sharing the printer from the machine connected to the printer and keep it always online so it should be used only for local printer (used by one computer only) unless you connect it via USB to the router. –  laurent Nov 6 '12 at 1:46
    
You assume something that might not be true @laurent Residential normally means she can not tinker with the general setup. So the printer is most likely not meant as a network printer but just as a printer for herself. The question is a bit vague on that ;) –  Rinzwind Nov 6 '12 at 6:03
    
You are perfectly right but I assumed that because frequently people use (or can use) a self owned router between the modem and the LAN if they have more than one machine. If you have only one machine, there is no point in buying a network printer (wifi) which is probably more expensive than a regular USB only printer. –  laurent Nov 6 '12 at 11:51

It depends if the wifi and ethernet are on the same network or not. If your wifi is supplied through an access point on the same network as the ethernet one you shouldn't have problems.

So in short, you can check the ip addresses of your printer and your computer and the first three numbers should be identical. Example: 192.168.0.1 and 192.168.0.245 are on the same network; 192.168.0.1 and 192.168.1.245 are not on the same network.

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