Guide to Wireless Printing from Your Computer and Mobile Phone

While printing dates back to the mid-15th century, wireless printing has only become commonly used in the last two decades. Wireless printing is, as the name clearly states, the ability to use a printer without a wire or a cord connecting the printer and computer. This will allow you to print from any computer within appropriate range of the printer, which will most likely be anywhere within your home. The average distance for wireless printing is approximately 100 feet, but this can vary based on the manufacturer. This wireless technology allows multiple family members to print from their personal computers to the same household printer.

3 Ways to Set Up Wireless Printing

  1. USB Cable: Many wireless printers will come with installation software and a USB cable. If you connect the printer and computer using the USB, you will be prompted to follow the installation guide setup steps. Once completed, you will be able to remove the USB and print wirelessly.

    Printer connected by a USB cable

  2. Wireless Setup Wizard: Using this method, you can setup wireless printing directly from the printer itself using either its control panel or touchscreen. You’ll need to follow a few quick steps and enter answers for questions such as the name of your wireless network and password.
  3. Wi-Fi Protected Setup: Similarly to the wireless setup wizard, you can also use this method using the printers control panel or touchscreen. If your home already has a WPS router with a push-button, after following a few printer setup steps, you will be able to push the button to activate the printer wirelessly with your computer.

Printing from personal computers is the most common form of printing and has been around almost as long as the computer itself. This form is used in offices and homes worldwide and while the printing technology has remained mostly the same, printers themselves have gotten more advanced.

The printer supply industry generates over $100 billion dollars a year. This includes not just printers, but also the ink cartridges or toner cartridges supplies. However, since smartphones and tablets hit the marketplace, the need to print from all technological forms grew as well. Since this need was growing, different mobile applications created by each leading manufacturer such as HP and Epson began emerging for both tablet and smart phone use.

What are my Options for Wireless Mobile Printing?

Regardless of the tablet or smartphone you have, there is a surplus of mobile printing apps to choose from. A few of the options you may use include Bluetooth printing, Apple AirPrint, or manufacturer applications. Allow us to highlight a few of the options:

    Apple iPhone AirPrint settings
  1. Bluetooth printing: Perhaps a more outdated technology, Bluetooth printing is primarily used with mobile phones, yet unlike Wi-Fi, your phone must be used within a few meters of the printer. This is best for phones without a Wi-Fi connection that are enabled for Bluetooth printing.
  2. Apple AirPrint: This is a great option for anyone who uses an Apple device whether an iPad or an iPhone. However AirPrint only applies to software versions 4.2 or later. There are several printers that are compatible with AirPrint including many Epson and HP models. Just locate what you would like to print on your phone, locate the print button (no application download needed), and your phones software will find all AirPrint printers in range you can print from.
  3. HP ePrint settings
  4. HP ePrint: This application can be downloaded directly from your mobile phone. The app is not only compatible with most HP printers, but is also compatible with Word, Excel, PowerPoint, photos, web pages, and more. The easy to use interface makes it simple to print documents, images, or web pages. If you have the appropriate printer and the application downloaded, make sure your printer is stocked with HP ink cartridges.
    Brother iPrint&Scan settings
  5. Brother iPrint&Scan: This app can also be downloaded directly from your mobile phone and is compatible with most Brother printers. In addition to an easy-to-use interface, the Brother app also allows you to set up scans from your smartphone and send results wirelessly to your printer. Don’t forget to fill your office or home printer with Epson ink cartridges before sending documents to print.

Printer applications have now become mainstream for most large manufacturers and have become expected by consumers. In the future, we can expect that most new smartphones will come with already enabled printing features, making the setup and installation process easier and easier. 


What is Bluetooth printing and how does it work?

8. June 2012 06:00 by Calvin Yu in Technology News, Troubleshooting and Printer Tips  //  Tags:   //   Comments (0)

bluetooth You may have heard of Bluetooth and seen people in public wearing Bluetooth earpieces talking on their cell phones. In recent years, Bluetooth technology has blossomed and has started to become more and more mainstream. While earpieces are still the most popular implementation of Bluetooth, it has found its way into the workings of other electronics like printers.

Bluetooth is simply a wireless technology that allows two or more electronics like computers or, say, a phone and an earpiece, to communicate without wires. Bluetooth uses radio signals in the 2.4 GHz range and comes in two classes. One class is capable of transmitting signals as far as 33 feet while the other allows for the transmission of data more than 300 feet.

Bluetooth is used in printers to allow for effortless cordless and wireless printing. Bluetooth printing provides an easier way for your computer to pass on print jobs to your printer without the need for any physical connections. Even if your computer and your Bluetooth printer are in different rooms, you can send print jobs at a data transmission speed of up to 3 Mbps, which is quite fast.

Some printers are sold Bluetooth-compatible while others require adapters. Bluetooth adapters will work with almost any type of printer, including ones that normally require a wire to connect with computers. If you need an adapter, find one that fits your printer model, and follow the manufacturer directions for installing the adapter. Usually, this involves inserting the adapter into the printer's USB port. Make sure your computer has Bluetooth functionality before continuing.

After enabling your Bluetooth printer, turn on your printer and your computer. Go to "Bluetooth Devices" under the Control Panel to add your printer. This may involve a discovery process, so be sure to check "Allow Bluetooth devices to connect to this computer." If everything goes smoothly, your computer and your printer should detect each other and make a connection while they are both in discovery mode. Otherwise, add your printer manually by selecting "Add Device" under the devices tab, or use the "Add Printers" wizard under "Printers and Faxes." When prompted, select the choice for "Bluetooth printer." If you are using Windows Vista, you can find your Printers folder by opening your Control Panel and clicking on "Hardware and Sound."

For your computer to properly connect with the Bluetooth printer, you may have to install drivers or operating system updates. Be cautious, and always stay vigilant to ensure you do not download and install any malware.

Your Bluetooth printer and the computer(s) you connect to it will together form a personal-area network (PAN). Within this Bluetooth network, it will be possible to print from multiple computers to a single printer. This printer network will work much the same as if you had formed the network through your home WiFi.

Most Bluetooth printers only use the weaker class of signals that only travel about 30 feet, so don't count on printing remotely from very far away.

The ease of using Bluetooth has its downfalls. Bluetooth devices are infamous for being able to connect to various networks easily. This has sparked concerns about the security of Bluetooth networks. It may be possible for someone to eavesdrop on or interfere with the radio signals to and from your Bluetooth devices. Bluetooth printing and other uses of Bluetooth should not be considered entirely safe. You may try to beef up the security of your Bluetooth network using encryption codes or passkeys. However, this is not a failsafe method of protecting your data, and an intrusion is still possible.   

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