Printer Installation 101 – (WiFi)

Article (PSA-0021)
Submitted by: Billy Joe Long
Company: PSA Computer Services
Titled: Printer Installation 101 – (WiFi)
Original release date: December 10, 2022

In our last article, Printer Installation 101 – (USB and Ethernet), we discussed the basic process on how to setup a printer via USB connection and Ethernet connection. In this article we will address setting up a WiFi enabled printer on your WiFi network.

Basic preparation for installing most WiFi printers will include: knowing your WiFi network name (SSID) and having your WiFi connection password. Also, on initial configuration you will want your WiFi printer close to your WiFi router (or access point). Within four feet with clear line of sight will be fine for our purposes. In addition to having the printer installation software available for your make and model of printer, ensure your computer(s) are connected to the same WiFi network you will be connecting the printer too.

There are two common WiFi printer setups you are most likely to encounter – printers “with a touchscreen” and printers “without a touchscreen”.

1. Setting up a printer with a “touchscreen”.
If your WiFi printer has a touchscreen you will need to go into the menu system to access and configure the printers WiFi connection properties. Most of the menu systems are pretty intuitive but can vary greatly – so at this point you may need to refer to your printer user manual for specifics on where to enter your WiFi connection information. Once you are in the correct menu for configuring your printers WiFi connection settings, you will either select your network from a list offered by the printer menu or you will need to enter in the name of your WiFi network manually. If you have to enter it in, make sure it matches exactly! Next, you will be prompted to enter your WiFi connection key (password). Again, make sure you enter it exactly … passwords are case sensitive. If all went well, your printer should now be connected to your WiFi network. You can now unplug your WiFi printer and move it to any location you want, as long as it is within your WiFi network coverage range. There is still more to do before you can print to it though … but for those of you who have successfully completed this step – please skip to step 3.

2. Setting up a printer without a “touchscreen”.
If your WiFi printer does not have a touchscreen, then it will attempt to connect to your WiFi network using technology called WiFi Protected Setup or (WPS). Your WiFi router (or access point) will need to offer this technology for you to successfully connect your printer. If you are unsure whether your WiFi router offers WPS, please refer to your router user manual. Assuming your router offers WPS, the first step is to put your printer in WPS mode. This is usually accomplished by pushing a button on your printer (refer to your printer manual). Next you will need to put your router in WPS mode within two minutes by pushing the provided WPS button. Each WPS enabled printer will offer a visual queue to indicate whether it has successfully connected to your WiFi network or not. Please refer to your printer manual for specifics. Most printers will usually have a blinking light while connecting – which then turns solid once connected. If all went well, your printer should now be connected to your WiFi network. You can now unplug your WiFi printer and move it to any location you want, as long as it is within your WiFi network coverage range.

3. Finally, setting up your computer to print to your WiFi printer.
Run the installation software that came with your printer (or you downloaded from the manufacturers website) on your computer. Each installation setup can be slightly different. If asked what type of installation your are performing (USB, Ethernet or WiFi), choose WiFi. The software will use your computers WiFi network connection to look for your WiFi printer. That is why it is critical that your printer be on the same WiFi network as your computer(s). If all goes well, the installation software should present you with the option to choose your printer from a list. Once you select your printer the installation should proceed with minimal input from you. If there are multiple printers on your WiFi network, you may be asked to choose the correct printer from a list. The printer you want will usually be distinct based on the make and model. Once the installation is completed you can open up Notepad (or the text editor of your choice) type a word or two and hit print. If all went well your printer should jump to life and produce a copy of your document.

Setting up a printer can be challenging if technology is not your thing. This walkthrough is very generalized and may not be sufficient to help with all installation scenarios. If you run into a problem installing your new WiFi printer and feel you need some help, give PSA Computer Services a call at (707) 506-6802.