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Things I Have Learned, Encountered and Realized About Wireless Printing

The connectivity struggle is real.

The development of printing technology has gone a long way. From its humble electromechanical beginnings, the technology evolved at a steady pace in a trajectory. Gone were the cumbersome days when your printing options are severely limited. Yet even if USB technology superseded the old LPT printer port, the lacking feature to accept multi-device printing (as printers only come with one USB port) was never really an issue until the advent of tablets and smartphones. Then, wireless printing became a byproduct since the peak of wireless technology.

That convenience paved the way to innovative printing solutions such as Google Cloud Print, Apple Airplay, and manufacturer specific programs such as HP ePrint or Epson iPrint. But despite this new convenience, new technology is not without issues. There are far more concerning issues especially when it comes to security breaches that exploit wireless technology, but that’s another story. In printing, the issues aren’t reached all the way to the national level but they’re not exactly a walk in a park. Problems arise like people are confused how they can connect to their printer, which can lead them to think something is not working. If you’re familiar with some of our articles here in Smart Print Supplies that discuss about wireless printing, you may have an idea what I’m talking about.

  • Basic knowledge about wireless networking and other technical jargon is a necessity.

  • If you have no idea how to setup your WiFi, chances are you won’t be able to set up your printer to print wirelessly. At the very least, you should understand how wireless network works. It is a prerequisite that you should be familiar with the functions and terms like SSID, wireless access points, IP address, wireless ad hoc network, and other terms. Knowing what they are, is saved for another topic.

  • It’s quite trickier to set up than I thought it would be.

  • This might be true to “techy-challenged” but some tech-savvy individuals aren’t exempted from some quirks encountered along the way. Some printers aren’t as easy to install by adding a printer in the Device and Printers’ Add Printer Wizard. But usually they work as it should, as Windows usually have a database of known printers and that’s why you’re able to install without a hitch. Even with automated setup, some installations require you to manually input the SSID or the router’s IP address. And if you have multiple laptops that need to connect to a single wireless printer, you need to perform the installation for each unit. Make sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions and do not skip any steps or else risk of failure and having to do it over again.

  • Different strokes for different models.

  • There is a reason that dozens of “how-to” articles exist, floating around in the internet that specifically instructs you how to set up (or troubleshoot) your printer of a certain model and enabling your printer to print wirelessly is no exception. The “one size fits all” approach is not always applicable.

  • WiFi Direct is a good alternative printing method if your printer supports it.

  • A WiFi Direct printer lets you connect from a wireless device directly without connecting to a WiFi network. Setting it up from your Windows laptop or an Android device is easy as turning it on from Wireless and networks in Settings then scan for the printer (make sure it’s on), select it, and then accept the invitation (either from the printer or your device or both) to connect.

  • Bluetooth Printing is another wireless printing method that surprisingly isn’t that popular but useful if all else fail.

  • It’s not exactly an issue, as people generally associate wireless printing with connecting to Wi-Fi. You only need to pair your printer with your wireless device and you’re good to go but the distance between the device and the printer should be really close to each other.

  • Google Cloud Print, Apple AirPrint, or manufacturer specific printing programs or apps don’t work if your printer isn’t connected to a wireless network.

  • These programs can be convenient but they are just as good as they are dependent to WiFi. If there’s no WiFi, they don’t work. ‘Nuff said.

  • Sometimes a problem is solved as easy as just enabling printer sharing.

  • If you managed to install the printer with its wireless feature enabled and still unable to print wirelessly, turning this on might do the trick. Try doing this:

    For Windows

    • Go to Control Panel.
    • Click Network and Sharing Center and go to Advanced sharing settings.
    • Select Turn on file and printer sharing.
    • Go back again to the Control Panel and click Devices and Printers.
    • Right-click the printer and select Printer properties.
    • Click Sharing tab and check Share this printer option and set the printer name.
    • Open another window and go to Network. You should see the shared printer.

    For Mac

    • Go to Apple menu and navigate to System Preferences >> Printers and Scanners.
    • Select your printer and check Share this printer on the network.
    • Click on Sharing Preferences and make sure Printer Sharing is turned on or selected.
    • Go back to the Printers and Scanners window and click Add Printer or Scanner.
    • Select the Windows icon button and select the following:
      • <Your workgroup>
      • <Your PC sharing the printer>
      • Printer name
    • Click Add. You should see the shared printer.

    Any other experiences that you think should be added? Share us your thoughts by dropping a comment below.


    • Bought my Canon TS5040 printer a couple of years back. Ever since, I have been using the USB cable to connect. After reading this article, I decided to try out Wifi Direct (I knew my printer supported this functionality but somehow never bothered to try it out). The connection process was a bit difficult but I finally managed to dobit. Having tried Wifi Direct, I think from now on thats the connection method I am going to be using.

    • I actually use bluetooth all the time. It works really easy for me.

      Mandy Robinson
    • very informative. I just learned a lot too!

      Jasmine Hewitt
    • When I bought my first wireless printer from HP, I was nervous if it would be easy to install. My main purchase decision was to run a printer without USB. Accordingly, my excitement was huge as to if it would work at all. First of all, it’s incredibly important to download and install the driver from the CD or from the company’s website. Although Windows (I don’t know Apple) already has a huge database of printer drivers, it is still much easier to install using the CD or the downloaded driver.

      What I had recently was a problem with my printer not being able to connect to the router. The solution to my problem was to disable MAC filtering. MAC filtering ensures that so-called “MAC addresses” of network devices are specified, which allow access to the WLAN network. Usually (not for me :)) the MAC filtering is not active and therefore the printer is accepted without problems. If the filtering is active, it can either be deactivated or the MAC address of the printer is entered into the system. This can be found on the device itself and only needs to be entered for MAC filtering. A practical feature of MAC filtering is that it prevents unauthorized use of the printer.


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