Mac doesn't see printer over wifi
June 18, 2005 5:43 PM   Subscribe

I have an iBook and an old Lexmark laser printer with an Axis print server. The computer has historically talked to the printer via Appletalk over my Ethernet network. Now I'm trying to go wireless.

I recently hooked up the iBook via wifi. Now, the iBook can apparently see the printer (when I click "add printer" in Printer Setup, the iBook finds the printer [or to be more precise, the print server]), but when I actually attempt to print to it, I get "printer not responding."

Interestingly, if I have the iBook plugged into the hardwired network and communicating wirelessly, I get the same problem. But if I turn off the airport card and just communicate over the wires, it works fine. I've turned on Appletalk in both the Airport and Ethernet port setups.
posted by adamrice to Computers & Internet (5 answers total)
What wireless access point are you using? Some don't route AppleTalk.
posted by trevyn at 8:15 PM on June 18, 2005

The printer pretty much needs to be on the same subnet as your iBook. Most wireless access points, at least in their default configuration, create a separate subnet for wi-fi, and translate between them. Which access point are you using?
posted by cillit bang at 1:36 AM on June 19, 2005

I'm using a Netgear WGR614.

I should add that I do have a desktop Mac hooked into one of the Cat-5 ports on the back of this. It has no trouble printing; the iBook and it can see each other. I turned on printer sharing on the desktop, and can use the shared printer on the iBook. So I've found a workaround to the problem, but I'm still curious about the resolution to the problem as an academic question.
posted by adamrice at 7:08 AM on June 19, 2005

I can't offer a real solution except to note that I had the exact same problem with my Linksys WAP/router and it persisted until I turned WEP off. Once there was no WEP, printing worked as it should. I don't know why, and no one seemed to be able to answer for why there would be a difference.

I ended up keeping WEP off. My access point allowed me to turn off beaconing, so I did that as a hat-tip to my (mild and atrophied) paranoia. I know all my neighbors and I don't live in an area where a.) a bunch of people in a coffee shop could find my AP or b.) a black van that accepts pizza deliveries at midnight would go unnoticed.
posted by mph at 12:40 PM on June 19, 2005

Yeah, I'm pretty sure that the problem is that your access point won't route AppleTalk between the wired and wireless sides, though I can't explain why the iBook can see the printer in the first place.

The LAN Ethernet ports on your router are basically just a hub, so everything (including AppleTalk) can go to another port on the same hub no problem, but getting between wiired and wireless requires software support in the router.

My setup uses an Airport Express in bridging mode to get around this problem. IIRC even some of the regular Apple Airport Base Stations don't route AppleTalk.
posted by trevyn at 1:14 PM on June 25, 2005

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