Wireless printers are a great way to share a single device among multiple users without having to resort to running Ethernet cables or other wires throughout your home or workspace. The setup process for connecting a printer to your existing wireless network is fairly straightforward; however, there are a few things to consider, such as the location of the device, to ensure the best results.
Before you begin, make sure you know the name or SSID of your wireless network. If the network is password-protected, make sure you have the password readily available prior to starting the setup process. You should also choose a location for the printer that is easily accessible for all users, but is also in close enough proximity to your wireless router that it can make a strong connection.
To begin, take the device out of the box, remove all packing materials, connect the power cables, and install the inkjet cartridges before you proceed.
Connect with Wi-Fi Protected Setup
Some newer wireless printers have a one-button setup procedure called Wi-Fi Protected Setup that makes connecting to a router a quick and easy process, but the router must also support this feature. The general process is to press the setup button on the router, then press the setup button on the printer. The two devices will then communicate and handle the setup process for you. Consult the manual for both the printer and the router to see if they support this feature.
Connect at the Control Panel
Many wireless printers can be connected to the network directly from the control panel. In this case, navigate to the “Setup” menu on the control panel and choose the “Network” option. There may be a specific wireless setup option. The system will ask which network to connect to, and also ask for the password. Choose the proper network, enter the password and press “OK” or “Done”.
Connect Using the Software CD
If your wireless printer doesn’t support connection from the control panel, you can usually connect it to the network using the software CD. Connect the printer to the computer directly with a USB cable, then insert the software CD. A software installation program should run automatically and walk you through the process of setting up wireless access. You will be asked to choose the network you wish to connect to and then you will need to enter your network password.
Set Up Your Devices
Once the printer is connected, it is available to your computers, laptops, and other devices on the wireless network. Follow these steps to add the printer to a computer.
Adding a printer to a Windows 7 computer:
- Make sure your device is connected to the wireless network.
- Click the “Start” button followed by “Devices and Printers”.
- Click “Add a Printer”, then choose “Add a network, wireless, or Bluetooth printer”, then click “Next”.
- Choose the wireless printer from the list, then click “Next”.
- Change the name of the printer if you wish, then click “Next”.
- Check the box to make the printer the default printer for your system if you wish. You also have the option of printing a test page. Click “Finish” when you are done.
Adding a printer to a Mac computer:
- Click the “System Preferences” icon in the dock.
- Click “Print & Scan”.
- Click the “+” button, then select the printer from the list.
- Click the “Add” button to add the printer.
Once your wireless printer is set up and ready to use, simply make sure it is powered on and it should be available to the devices on your network. If you wish to make the printer available for wired devices that don’t have access to the wireless network, see our article on home office networking. If you purchase a new laptop or other device, you can simply follow the steps above to make the printer available over the wireless network. You can now enjoy life with fewer wires.