Help with Making a Printer Wireless

Making a printer wireless lets you take advantage of the ultimate in convenient technology. Before the advent of wireless print servers, a network of computers would need to be tuned into a host computer for the printer. With today's wireless print servers, just about any printer with a USB port can become wireless and available to any computer in the network. Whether you want to make your office or home wireless, it also pays to know where you can turn to for help.

Find a Wireless Print Server
The first step in wireless networking your printer is to purchase a wireless print server that is compatible with both the printer and your wireless network. When you need help determining what specifications you need, you can refer to the manufacturer's instruction booklet, the manufacturer's Web site or even a knowledgeable customer service rep at the computer store. Knowing the make and model of your printer and router is usually sufficient, but it also helps to know the transmission type and speed of your router, as well as the types of ports on your printer.

When you have selected a wireless print server, connect it to the printer with the USB cable. The USB port is usually found in the back or side of the printer. Plug in the server and turn it on. Make sure that the wireless print server is secure and seeking the wireless networking signal by checking the green light.

Software Setup
The wireless print server will have come with an installation CD that should be placed into the computer. Each manufacturer's CD is set up a little differently, but all will guide you through a series of steps to set up the print server. You'll need to provide IP addresses for the printer and computers on your networks, as well as passwords, MAC addresses and configuration requirements, depending on your level of network security. You may also need to install new print drivers on your printer or computer, which you should be able to download online. Once the printer's found by the network and had its drivers updated, you should be ready to start printing.

Where to Go For Help

There are three main sources to consult when you need help setting up a wireless printer:

  1. The manufacturer: Between the owner's manual and the manufacturer's Web site, there are enough troubleshooting tips, frequently asked questions and general step-by-step guides to answer just about every question. From compatibility to encryption, the manufacturer is the first resource to tap. Many manufacturers even have help lines set up for experts to assist you with questions.
  2. Online forums and tech help: While the online experts are not authorized by the product manufacturers, there are quite a few knowledgeable computer wizards out there who contribute through their own blogs and Web sites, technical forums or Q and A sessions. Post your questions on any of these multimedia sites and use their knowledge to guide you. Be sure to provide very specific information when you're posting, including your operating system's current version, the type of printer and print server you have and the nature of your problem.
  3. Personal professionals: If you are really stuck and the previous methods didn't get your printer working, go with a live person. A professional computer or network consultant will take the time to ensure that every aspect of the wireless printer setup is flawless. While you will have to pay for his or her time, it can be a comfort to know that an expert has done the setup of the wireless printer and that it is working to it's maximum capability.
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