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I have a multi-function USB printer, Brother MFC-8440. Before buying a Time Capsule it was connected to a USB port on the Mac. After purchasing a Time Capsule I attached the printer to the USB on the Time Capsule. This allows printing to the networked printer from other systems on my LAN.

Note: prior to the Time Capsule the other systems were still able to print but had to print by connecting to the printer attached to the Mac; a different but equivalent functionality. But it seemed to be more trouble prone, requiring frequent setup of the printer on Windows machines.

However, after connecting to the Time Capsule, I have lost the ability to scan, as that function is not allowed via the Time Capsule. The workaround is to swap USB cables to connect the printer directly to the Mac. So I can scan, but the cable swap is annoying, and then the other machines cannot print until the cable is swapped back.

Is there a solution that would avoid the cable swap?

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You could connect your multifunction printer via USB to a computer and use printer sharing to enable other machines to print through it. The downside is, as you point out, it is often less reliable, and you can only print from other computers when the host computer is on.

You could connect through your Time Capsule. Some multifunction printers only support scanning when directly connected to a computer.

You could get a new wireless multifunction printer that supports scanning wireless. This requires a more sophisticated machine, as the scanned documents have to go somewhere.

It is possible there is a way to make your multifunction printer work as a scanner while attached to the Time Capsule, but it's a property of the device, and you didn't specify what you're using.

So in the absence of more information in your question, this is my answer.

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While I originally asked "is there a solution" and this response does give some solutions, what I really mean is that I am trying to avoid a cable swap once or twice per month. Buying a new printer to avoid such a swap is not what I had in mind, and I am looking for something a bit more straightforward. From what I have read, the current Time Capsule hardware does not support scanning. –  Jeffrey Simon Sep 2 '12 at 17:00
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