Following on from yesterday’s post on printing I wanted to share my experiences about the challenges I faced configuring the Canon Pixma Pro9000 Mark II for network printing. The goal was to achieve the configuration in the sketch at the top of this post.
I had very naively thought that adding a printer to my netowrk would be simple. WRONG! There were in fact several issues to overcome, work around or solve. Hence this post.
I’m happy to say that I have networked this printer and can print to it from eiher a Windows box or my MacBook Pro over my wireless network.
The first big issue to solve was connectivity. The Canon Pixma Pro9000 Mark II only has a USB interface so cannot simply be plugged into a router. I knew this when I bought it so it was hardly going to be a showstopper. I did however mistakenly think that my new router had a USB port to share a printer on the network. It didn’t and that could have been a major disaster, albeit in the short term, requiring additional hardware to overcome it or to use an existing PC as a printer server. I really didn’t like the idea of running a separate PC just to act as a print server on the network so I elected to use my NAS, a ZyXEL NSA-220 Plus instead. It comes configured as a print server out of the box, has two USB ports on the front and provided the ideal solution.
Trouble is it didn’t quite work. No matter what I tried I simply couldn’t see or configure the MacBook Pro to use the printer. Both my Windows boxes could which was very reassuring, suggesting a driver issue with the MacBook Pro.
Windows Access to Network Printer
This was very easy to do, simply requiring the driver disk to be inserted and running through the installation procedure with the printer connected to the USB port. After installation the printer could be reconected to the NAS and the printer attached as a network device.
This worked like a charm for both XP and Vista and although I could now print over the network I did have to log into the NAS to do so. Perhaps not ideal but at least it will stop my children from using up all my paper and ink.
MacBook Pro Access to Network Printer
This was significantly harder to solve.
I had searched through lots of very unhelpful forums with answers like “this has already been answered you need a different driver” and several variations thereof. Great that someone had managed it. Shame they couldn’t be bothered to share the knowledge.
After several hours of gleaning tidbits of information in this fashion I found I needed to install a CUPS driver for the printer. Cool. Downloaded the most recent one from the Canon website, installed it and lo and behold it didn’t solve the problem 🙁
Several more hours of research and “this has already been answered posts” and I eventually hit on the right driver: mcpd-mac-pro9000ii-10_42_1-ea8_2.dmg*
- DISCLAIMER – This worked for me but I cannot vouch that this will be true for everyone nor that this driver is safe to use.
Once installed, add the printer as a Windows Printer, select the correct device and you should be good to go.
UPDATE – 15th April, 2013
I’m currently using version 10.57.2.0 of the printer driver, obtained from the Canon website. I’m afraid I’m unable to provide DMG files or offer individual support.
To install the printer on the MacBook Pro…
Step 1 – In the system preferences dialog, select “Print and Fax”
Step 2 – Below the printer list, select the “+” button to add a new printer
Step 3 – The “Add Printer” Dialog
In this dialog you’ll need to choose the “Windows” printer button then navigate to the printer on your network. Once you’ve slected the printer select the driver in the “Print Using” dropdown list. The location field appears to just be descriptive. I only have one printer so felt I didn’t really need to worry about this.
Once the printer has been added you’ll see this dialog allowing you to view the print queue or print a test page through the Options and Supplies button.
Step 4 – Print a test page. If it works, great. If it doesn’t more investigation and research is required.
Issues with network printing on the Canon Pixma Pro9000 Mark II…
There is still one small issue using this printer on the network. Neither my Windows boxes nor my MacBook Pro can read the ink levels. It works fine when attached to the PC/MacBook via a USB cable and I expect it’s a driver issue. Nevertheless it’s something I can live with. At least for the time being.
Whilst conceptually very simple (especially if you look at the schematic network printing diagram I’ve drawn, this was a little delicate to set-up correctly and get working. The biggest issue by far was obtaining the correct drivers to support networking the Canon Pixma Pro9000 Mark II as there is no inherent native networking support. It’s worth persevering though as it is possible and well worth the effort imho.
If you’re reading this to find out how to network your own printer, leave a comment and let me know how you got on, especially if you have a better solution 🙂