Connecting a printer to laptop via Wi-Fi is much more convenient than using the traditional method: the devices are not connected with a cable and can be freely moved around the apartment (at least a laptop). Contrary to the fears of novice users, connecting a printer via Wi-Fi to a laptop is no more difficult than using a cable.
In this manual, let’s look at how to Connect Printer To Laptop Via Wifi and what “pitfalls” to pay attention to when setting up the equipment.
Features of Wifi Printers
Most of the printer models do not communicate with the laptop “directly”, but over a local network using a router or access point. If you have an Internet connection at home, then most likely such equipment already exists. Otherwise, you will need to additionally configure the laptop so that it can distribute Wi-Fi and the printer can connect to it.
Regardless of how you connect Windows, you will need drivers so that this operating system can correctly recognize the printer and give it the correct commands. The same applies not to a simple printer, but to a multifunctional device (MFP), that is, a “combine” that combines the functions of a printer and a scanner.
The cost of a printer equipped with a wireless module is not much higher than similar models on which such a module is not installed.
If there is a choice about which model to take, it is better to opt for a wireless one. It will be possible to send a document for printing from any device in the local network – not only a laptop, but a stationary computer, and if configured correctly, even from a tablet or smartphone.
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How To Connect Printer To Laptop Via Wifi?
Let discuss different ways of connecting printer to laptop via wifi.
As mentioned above, Windows will not be able to correctly detect most of the connected peripherals without installing special drivers. It does not depend on the version of the operating system even in the convenient and advanced “Top Ten” driver on the MFP, especially wireless. Not included in the basic software package.
Despite the fact that 2021 has come and optical drives are almost never used, MFP manufacturers continue to complete them with a disk with drivers and related software that makes it easier to use the device. In addition to drivers, which are needed anyway, many brands develop their own utilities for initial image processing, quick scanning and printing, and for setting up connections.
If your laptop is not equipped with an optical drive, such software can be downloaded from the official website of the printer manufacturer. The URL is usually indicated on the box, in the accompanying documentation, and in the warranty card.
Usually, after installing the drivers, a restart of the operating system is required. Only then will Windows be able to detect the MFP. The next thing to start is the connection wizard that comes with the printer. The interface of this program is user-friendly and adapted for a “very beginner” user so that even a ten-year-old child can cope with setting up a network connection.
The problem is that not all MFP manufacturers create such software. Whales such as Canon, Epson, or Brother definitely have the necessary programs. “Simpler” brands may not have such software. In this case, you will need to configure everything manually.
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How To Connect Printer To Laptop Via Wifi with WPS connection
This is the name of a special communication protocol created to quickly connect equipment. For correct configuration, the technology must be supported by both the printer and the wireless router serving the local home network. The principle is simple: the two devices exchange signals and establish communication using the built-in encryption keys. You do not need to enter any passwords. Everything is very simple and straightforward, but it is done in a few seconds.
Pre-study the instructions to find out exactly how WPS is activated on the MFP. It can be either a single button or a combination of buttons for printing control or a menu item. After you activate the readiness to connect to the router on the printer, the Wi-Fi indicator should blink, or change the color to another. After that, press the WPS button on the router for a couple of seconds.
If the connection is successful, the laptop will display a message that it has found a new device and will try to find drivers for it. If you’ve already installed them from disk, the MFP will be ready to print in a minute or two.
Connect Printer To Laptop Via Wifi
This method involves entering a password to connect to the local network. An exception is if your home local network is not password protected. We do not recommend leaving it in this state if you live in an apartment building, in this case, anyone can connect to your router and download whatever they want, creating an additional load on the network.
In addition, an advanced user will be able to connect to the printer in this way and, for a joke, send unnecessary files to print. Agree, it scares a little when, late in the evening, the MFP prints a sheet of paper with the text “The revolt of the machines has begun! Death to people! “
Password entry is possible only on a device equipped with an LCD screen. In most cases, the connection algorithm is approximately the following:
- Go to the printer settings and find the section with the Wi-Fi settings.
- Select the “Set up wireless connection” option.
- Find your local network in the list of found ones.
- When prompted, enter the password, taking into account upper and lower case letters.
If done correctly, the wireless indicator should be green. Otherwise, the color will be different or the LED will blink, indicating a connection error.
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How To Connect MFP To Laptop Via Wifi and USB?
In some cases, it is more convenient not to connect the printer to the laptop via WiFi, but to connect it to the router with a cable for example, if it is not equipped with a wireless module or there is a hardware conflict in this mode.
The method also has drawbacks: the router or access point must be equipped with a USB port to which you need to connect the MFP cable at one end USB type A (square, inserted into the router), at the other USB type B (trapezoidal, inserted into the printer).
As a rule, in this case, you also need to run proprietary software, which can be called Printer Setup Utility or USB Printer Controller depending on the brand. If you connect everything correctly and follow the prompts of the Connection Wizard, there will be no problems.
Instructions for setting up printer printing on a laptop
Even if you installed the drivers and Windows recognized the MFP, everything will not always work right immediately. It is possible that your printer is not used as the default device, so documents are not printed. It is necessary to configure the printer to print from a laptop via Wi-Fi.
Click the “Start” button and go to the “Devices and Printers” section. If the checkbox is checked next to the Microsoft Document Writer virtual printer, you will not be able to print anything. Select your physical MFP, right-click on its name and select the “Use as default” option.
A green check mark should appear opposite the device name. Now this printer should handle all your documents that you send to print.
You may also need to share printing so that everyone on your local network can use the printer. How to do it:
- Click the “Start” button and open the Control Panel.
- Go to the “Printers and Faxes” section.
- Select the printer used by PCM and click on “Properties” in the list that appears.
- In the “Access” tab set the “Shared access” option.
- In the “Security” tab, check the “Print for all users” checkbox.
It is important to remember that most router models need to be rebooted after connecting the printer via a cable. Otherwise, the device may not be recognized by the local network.
What to do if Laptop can’t find wireless printer?
If the laptop does not see the printer via WiFi, then the reason is most likely the typical mistakes that the user makes. These include:
The password (LAN SSID) was entered incorrectly, so the printer cannot connect to it.
- The button was not pressed in time to establish communication via WPS.
- The printer drivers are not installed or the version is not correct.
- The router or laptop has not been restarted after installing the drivers and connecting the printer.
- Wi-Fi is not activated on the router or printer.
- The connected printer is not set as the default printing device.
All such problems occur due to the user’s carelessness and can be easily eliminated if you pay attention to this. It’s a little trickier if you’re using a broken cable to connect to your router that has no obvious signs of damage.
The only way to be sure if this is the problem is to use a similar wire that is guaranteed to work.
It is also possible that the USB port simply does not work in the router. To test its functionality, you can use a USB flash drive with recorded files, which will appear as a device from the network environment. If the port is not working, the drive will not be displayed.
A complex type of problems that not every user will solve – if it is set in the settings of the router that only certain devices can connect to it, which are filtered by MAC addresses. In this case, add the MAC address of the printer to the list of allowed ones. If you are not interested in such excessive security and such settings were not made by you, you can reset the settings through the router management menu.
To do this, in the address bar of your browser, enter one of the following addresses 192.168.0.1, 192.016.1.1 or 192.168.2.1. As a rule, the login and password are the same – admin, in lowercase letters. Modern routers usually have a separate menu item – “Reset Settings” or Reset Settings.
You will need to configure the router again, but to connect to most providers, this is done in a couple of clicks. In any case, it is faster and easier than “dancing with a tambourine” by entering the MAC address for each new device on the network.
In general, connecting a printer to a laptop via Wi-Fi is no more difficult than using a cable. The main thing that is required is the correct version of the drivers and care so as not to miss any important stage of the settings.