Setting up a wireless printer for the first time used to be hard. The operating systems commonly in use weren’t designed to work with wireless printers, and so you had to do a lot more work to setup the printer. Now, most modern operating systems are designed to work with wireless printers, and many other wireless devices. You can take advantage of this, to connect a WiFi equipped printer to your computer, and print from anywhere in your home.
While there are several technologies that wireless printers can use to connect to a computer, the most common is WiFi. That is the type of wireless printer that we will be discussing how to setup.
Some of the steps will vary depending on the wireless printer that you have, and on the operating system.
Gather the Wireless access point information.
Get the wireless network name or SSID (Service Set Identifier) and the wireless network password. You’ll need the name of the network, along with the password or pass phrase that you use to connect to your wireless network. If you are using a wireless router or modem and printer with WPS active, then you don’t need to worry about this step, just push the button on the modem. The printer should receive the network information, and connect to the wireless access point. For security reasons, it is recommended that you only have WPS turned on when you want to connect something, and to leave it off otherwise.
Gather up the installation disc and instructions for installing the printer.
In order to take full advantage of the wireless printer, you will need the printer’s driver software installed. In some cases, you can use generic driver software installed on your computer, but it may not allow full use of your printer. If you have been connecting your printer with a USB cable, and already have the drivers installed, it will be easier to re-install the drivers to setup the printer for wireless usage.
Run the printer’s installation software.
The printer setup wizard will ask you for the wireless network name and pass phrase, or if it is equipped with WPS, and your wireless access point(either modem or router) has WPS as well, you can just push a button, and have the wireless printer connect to your access point.
If the printer does not successfully install after this step, you should go to the access point’s administration page. This is usually accessible by typing 192.168.0.1 or 10.0.0.1 into your browsers address bar. In some cases, a wireless device may not support one of the encryption schemes, such as WPA, WPA2, or WEP. You can try removing the encryption from the wireless access point, and retrying installation. If this works, then you can try adding back one of the encryption modes, either WPA or WPA2 is recommended, WEP isn’t very secure. If this fails, then you should copy down the settings for your wireless access point, and then reset the access point to the default settings, and setup the wireless security. After setting up WPA2, or WPA if necessary, start adding devices back.
If you are limited to WEP with your printer and can not upgrade it to a model that supports a secure encryption scheme for wireless, the best solution is to have the printer setup next to a computer that can access the network, and allow that computer to share the printer with computers on the network. Windows computers that have at least Windows 7 or newer can share these settings via the HomeGroup sharing settings, which can be found in the network and internet settings in the control panel.
Ready to print.
4. If everything went well with your wireless printer installation, and you can ‘see’ your printer from your computer, you are ready to go. Most wireless printers have a control panel that is located at the printer’s IP address. You should be able to print out a copy of the wireless printer’s settings page, which will include the IP address of the printer. You should stick this in a safe place, so that you can easily access the control panel. Some models have detailed diagnostic information about the wireless printer on their control panel, which allows you to check the ink levels, and will tell you which printer cartridge you need for your printer.
Some printer manufacturers offer a mobile app that can allow you to print wirelessly from your tablet or smartphone. This isn’t as common an option right now, but is likely to become a standard option in the future.
Setting up a wireless printers for the first time can seem confusing if not down right impossible but we hope this post has helped you to better understand the dynamics of getting this done.