I have an older AirPort Extreme (UFO, Version 5.7).

I can connect an Epson MX330 printer to the USB port of the AirPort Extreme and it appears on the AirPort Utility "Printers" tab, and I can print to it.

I can connect a Ricoh Aficio MP C4500 directly to a MacBook Pro (10.6.8) USB port, and it automagically downloaded and installed the driver and will print to the Ricoh.

But when I plug the Ricoh into the AirPort Extreme USB port, it does not show up on the AirPort Utility "Printers" tab, and of course, won't show up on any AirPort connected device, either.

I have tried re-starting both the Ricoh and the AirPort Extreme while they were connected.

Any clues on how I can get this $20,000 printer to work with AirPort Extreme like the Epson that came free with my MacBook Pro does?

1 Answer 1


Plug it in via Ethernet, not USB.

Any printer with built-in networking support (Ethernet or Wi-Fi) is best connected to the network via its network port. That's the most natural, best-supported, most reliable, most fully-featured way for your devices to discover and print to it.

When base stations first supported USB printer sharing in 2003, it was kind of a hacky workaround for the printers of that time, which were often USB-only. It's still a hacky workaround today, but luckily most people don't need to use it anymore as most printers (even the free-after-rebate consumer models) added networking by about 2005.

  • My topology is a cable modem feeding a switch, which then feeds the AirPort and a few other computers, including a server with a static IP. When I plug the printer into the same switch as the AirPort, no WiFi computer can see it. When I plug the printer into the other ethernet port on the AirPort, then none of the computers on the switch could see it. Mar 25, 2015 at 7:42
  • @JanSteinman If you already have something acting as a NAT gateway and DHCP server for your LAN, set your AirPort base station for bridge mode.
    – Spiff
    Mar 25, 2015 at 7:44
  • I can't set the AirPort to bridge mode, because my provider will only give me a small number of dynamic IPs (I think its 3). I don't have anything (well, a switch) between the AirPort and the WAN. Mar 25, 2015 at 7:48
  • So I guess I have to shell out for a router in order for both the WiFi clients and the LAN computers to both see the printer? How will my static-IP server "see through" the router, then? Mar 25, 2015 at 8:07
  • @JanSteinman Okay, then plug your printer into the LAN port of the base station.
    – Spiff
    Mar 25, 2015 at 8:12

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