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This indirect route to an HP printer does work if I jump through enough hoops. But what is actually happening when the MacBook Pro (MPB) can see what kind of printer it is and where it is and can add it to the MBP but can't print on it until the cable is unplugged and plugged in again?

Macbook Pro  → WiFi → router → Cat-5 →  iMac  → USB → HP ENVY 5055
Ventura 13.3                           El Cap

(Assuming I can get the iMac working.)

Ancient Airport Express seemed to be getting flaky so we bought a new router which has better WiFi security. But the printer can't handle that, and I'd rather not downgrade the router's security.

UPDATE: Had to find a USB A-to-B cable. Hooked it up and turned on printer sharing on the iMac. MBP can't find the printer.  Apple's page telling how to find a printer apparently assumes they're all on WiFi these days. I'll see whether I can update the printer's firmware.

UPDATE 2: It's not enough to turn on printer sharing.  You also have to select the printer itself on the server and check a box "Share this printer on the network" and go to Energy prefs and set computer sleep to "Never" After doing that, MacBook Pro was able to add the printer—but a print job for testing is still "looking for printer" after five minutes.  Changed briefly to "Unable to locate printer" and then went back to "Looking for …"

UPDATE 3: Still something missing.  iMac is not sleeping, printer's tiny display screen is lit, but MacBook print queue says it is off-line.  Went to the iMac and it says "printer is not connected."  Which doesn't make sense if the MacBook was able to user the routing shown above to find the printer's name and know that it is plugged into the iMac.  But I unplugged the cord and plugged it into a different USB port and it started printing the Macbook's job!

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  • Bad memory—I just went and looked. It's a 5055.
    – WGroleau
    Commented Apr 1, 2023 at 21:48
  • There is a firmware update (dated Oct 17, 2022) available for the printer. I do not know if this would improve WiFi security. Commented Apr 1, 2023 at 22:22
  • Some routers have a USB port which can plug your printer into. The router then acts as a print server. Commented Apr 1, 2023 at 23:19
  • I'll check the router for a USB port. It's a TP-link
    – WGroleau
    Commented Apr 1, 2023 at 23:37

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As long as your MacBook Pro can talk to the iMac and you’re sharing the printer, it will work.

WiFi and Ethernet (CAT5) are network mediums or the physical connection to the network. Once connected to the network, all traffic is the same. This isn’t as indirect as you think it is.

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  • Thanks. I figure three hops, all of different types, is less direct than two hops of the same type. :-)
    – WGroleau
    Commented Apr 1, 2023 at 21:49
  • If we can get two computers on opposite sides of the planet to talk to each other, we can send a print job. :-)
    – Allan
    Commented Apr 1, 2023 at 22:23

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