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If you have an Ethernet-ready printer (look for the Ethernet icon, as shown at right), connection to an Ethernet network is straightforward.
If you have an Ethernet-ready printer and want to connect it to a LocalTalk network, see the LocalTalk-to-Ethernet page.
Ethernet-ready printers connect to a network with a regular Ethernet cable. Once connected, use the printer software to configure the printer from a Mac on the network. (The exact process will depend on the printer software and/or manual.)
As a configuration example, Apple shipped its Ethernet-ready LaserWriters with the Apple Printer Utility (up to LaserWriter 8.5.1, anyway; 8.6 integrated these functions). This program named the printer, handled printer fonts, etc., for LaserWriters connected to the network. Other printer makers produce similar software for their printers, so your best bet is to check the printer manual or the maker's web site if need information.
Sample LaserWriter configuration interface (taken from Dartmouth College):
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