If you have a home network, you surely need a printer installed. If you are planning to buy one soon, you should consider a wireless printer. Why? Lots of good reasons: it allows you to print from anywhere in your home (any computer or smartphone), it helps you eliminate one more wire, and it allows you to place the printer in accessible places so that you are not bothered by others.
One thing to keep in mind though: installing and configuring a wireless printer requires a lot more work than installing a traditional printer. And this is where this tutorial comes in - to guide you through all the important steps.
NOTE: This tutorial was created using a Cannon Pixma MX410 printer. Even though some of the installation steps can differ between printers, the principles covered in this tutorial remain the same for all wireless network printers.
Step 1: Unpack the printer
First, you need to unpack your printer and place it somewhere close enough to your wireless router so that it gets a good wireless signal. Also, the spot should be accessible to people using the printer.
Pay attention to the instructions from the printer’s manual regarding the removal of all packaging and protection. Printers tend to have a really rich packaging, filled with stickers, tape and other protection features.
Step 2: Configure the printer for the first time
Once all packaging is removed, it is time for you to install the printer and configure it for the first time. You need to plug in the power cord, install the cartridge(s) (depending on the manufacturer and model), and run the configuration wizard.
You might be asked to set the language used through the printer’s menus. Also, be sure to wait while the printer cleans
and aligns the cartridges.
Before installing the printer on any of your computers, you need to connect it to your network. Look through its menus and search for LAN settings. You will surely have the option to connect it via cable but also via wireless.
Select the wireless connection and go through your printer’s setup wizard. If you have security enabled on your router, you will be asked to select the network and enter the pass-code (security key). Once you enter all the details, the printer will start the connection procedure.
Unless you have a weird setup (e.g. old router, MAC filtering, etc.), the connection should be done in a few seconds.
If you encounter issues, check your printer’s manual for troubleshooting instructions and also look at your router’s configuration for any settings that could block your printer’s connection to the network.
To double check that everything's fine, you can ask the printer to print its network configuration details. There you will see important details such as its MAC address, the IP address received from your router and other details.
Step 3: Install the printer on your computers
Now you should install the printer on your computers. You should have not executed any installation/configuration steps on them until now.
In order for your computers to view the printer over the network and use it for printing, you need to install the printer’s drivers and configure them on each computer that is part of your network.
The setup program can be found on a CD/DVD that comes with your printer or on the website of your printer’s manufacturer (search the drivers for your exact model and operating system). Since setup programs differ between manufacturers and printer models, we cannot provide you with a universal guide. Confidently use the manual that comes with your printer for detailed guidance. However, there are some universal pointers we would like to recommend you follow at all times:
- DO NOT make an EASY installation - always go for a Custom Install. Easy installations mean that you will get a lot of junk installed on your system - lots of software you don’t need, which will only slow down your computer.
- When making a custom installation, choose the drivers plus the utilities you plan to use. Uncheck everything else to exclude it from your installation.
- When asked about the printer connection method, don’t forget to select "Use the printer with wireless LAN connection".
- The setup program should detect your printer. If it detects more than one (this could be your neighbours’ printer), select the one that matches the network connection details printed at step 2.
Once the setup is complete, the printer must show up in your Start Menu, under Devices and Printers.
NOTE: Don’t forget to run the setup program on all computers in your home network. Installing the printer on one computer doesn’t mean others will be able to work with it. Also, sharing the printer from a computer is no longer required. You simply need to install it separately on all computers and they can use it whenever needed, without depending on other computers to be turned on and sharing the printer.
Step 4: Install the printer on your smartphone(s)
If you have a smartphone, you can print wirelessly from it too. Look for printing applications from the manufacturer of your printer. For example, Canon has a free application called Canon Easy-PhotoPrint, available both for iPhone and Android. Other manufacturers also provide similar free apps.
As you can see, installing a wireless network printer requires quite a bit of time and work. Also, you must be careful and not miss any steps or important configuration items. However, the time saved when using the wireless printer definitely pays off. Being able to print from anywhere in your home, at any time, really helps your productivity.