How to Connect a Wireless Laptop to a Printer

Level of difficulty: Intermediate

The setting-up of wireless home networks is increasingly becoming popular primarily due to the advances in the technology along with the better availability of components to support this type of architecture. Another contributory factor is the inclusion of utilities in different Operating System platforms to make the implementation of configuration of these types of networking environments for home and small businesses easier and faster. The steps described in the following lines are made in the assumption that there is already a fully-functional network environment that can host the wireless connection. Another assumption is that the printing device is not equipped with any built-in utility that allows it to connect as a standalone component of any networking environment.

Materials Needed:
- Computer
- printer
- Network Interface Card
- wireless router
- wireless printer server
- Ethernet cable
- laptop
Step 1
To accomplish the task of connecting a wireless laptop to a printer, there are at least two possible ways that can be undertaken. For users who prefer to utilize a wireless printer server, proceed to Step 10. To host a shared network printer, go to the next step.
Step 2
To share a printing device across a network, first make sure that the host machine and the printer are turned off. Connect one end of the cable (USB, parallel, etc.) to the host machine’s port and the other end to the printing device.
Step 3
Power-up both the computer and the printing device. It should be automatically detected by the Operating System. Install the device driver if required and reboot if necessary.
Step 4
Now that the printer is operational in the host machine, share it to the network by clicking on the 'Start' button and choosing the 'Printers and Faxes' option. This option can also be accessed by opening the 'Control Panel' service.
Step 5
Click on the printer’s icon and select from the task pane the 'Share This Printer' option.
Step 6
This will bring up the 'Printer Properties' dialog window. Click on the 'Sharing' tab and select the 'Share Name' option. Type the name that will be used to broadcast the printer’s presence to the network. Click on the 'OK' button to save and finish the process.
Step 7
Completing Steps 2 to 6 makes the printer available to the network immediately but may not be ready for use by network clients. Open the 'Control Panel' in the network client and choose 'Printers and Other Hardware' category to prepare client machines in using the shared printer,
Step 8
Select the 'Add a Printer' option which will bring up a new window. Select the 'network printer' option.
Step 9
In the 'Specify a Printer' page, select the 'browse' option which will display the list of available printing devices on the network. Click on the preferred printer and follow the prompt to finish and save the configuration. The host machine and the printer must both be turned on to allow client machines to print.
Step 10
Opting to use a wireless printer server eliminates the need for a host machine. The first step to implementing this solution is to install the printer driver on all computers that will attempt to connect to the PrintServer.
Step 11
Connect one end of the Ethernet cable to the wireless printer server and the other end to a vacant port on the wireless router.
Step 12
Aside from eliminating the need for a host machine, another advantage of using a wireless printer server is that it comes with a Quick Installation and Automatic Setup Wizard tool to make the configuration easier and faster.
Step 13
Once the set-up and configuration is completed, the printing device will be able to acquire its own IP address allowing it to function similar to any client machine. As long as the printer is powered up, any client connected to the network, either wired or wireless, will be able to print on the device.