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convert printer to wireless

by redbiker99 / February 14, 2012 5:01 PM PST

How can I connect my USB printer to a home wireless network? I currently use a wireless DSL modem as the router. I will be giving up my DSL now that I have a smart phone. I can replace it with a wireless router (non dsl) but how do I connect the printer? any ideas appreciated.

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All Answers

Best Answer chosen by redbiker99

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You can attach your printer to a wireless print server
by coffeejunkie / February 17, 2012 3:17 AM PST

If you search for "usb print servers" on, you will see small print servers for ($30-$70) that you can use to connect your printer to an ethernet port on your wireless router. Now your wireless router receives the file over wifi from your laptop and sends it out over the wire to your printer.

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by redbiker99 / February 20, 2012 4:01 AM PST

Thanks to all. I am looking at print server devices. New printers don't cost much more than they do.

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Re: convert printer
by Kees_B Forum moderator / February 14, 2012 5:16 PM PST

You can't built a wireless receiver in a printer. So your choices are:
1. Buy a printer with a wireless receiver built in
2. Connect the printer via a USB-cable to some PC that can handle it

Why change what works? You don't need the WAN connection (to your DSL ISP) for the router to function.


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wireless printer
by redbiker99 / February 14, 2012 11:18 PM PST
In reply to: Re: convert printer

bummer, I have a HP840c USB printer that I wanted to connect. I guess
I'll have to keep it cabled to a computer and make it a network printer.
At least that will give me access to it.


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HP makes a wireless print server
by Steven Haninger / February 14, 2012 5:56 PM PST
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Re: wireless print server
by Kees_B Forum moderator / February 14, 2012 6:04 PM PST

With the cheapest one being $269, there's a fair chance that a new printer might be cheaper.


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Other brands as cheap here as 50 bucks
by Steven Haninger / February 14, 2012 7:13 PM PST

But, you're right. The HPs have gone up. We got one for a school's HP printer for about $80 a few years back. I also need to wonder if some wireless routers with built in print servers might be capable. But I suspect this would need to be in some sort of bridge mode that could become complicated.

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how about wired, or better yet, an NAS
by porsche10x / February 25, 2012 4:12 AM PST

Wireless print servers aren't all that expensive, but you might also want to consider a wired print server. If your home or office layout will allow, you could just keep the printer near an available ethernet port, worst case, near your router/switch. If this is practical, you might also consider another alternative. Buy an NAS with a built-in print server. Some of the smaller ones are pretty cheap. When you subtract out the price of the print server you would have bought, this option might become very attractive; plus, you'll have another option for back-up, file sharing, remote file access, media streaming, etc.

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wired or NAS?
by redbiker99 / February 27, 2012 2:11 PM PST

Ok, I have no idea what you are talking about. NAS with print server? Most of my hardware/software expertise ended with Windows XP. I am trying to make it possible or easier to print from our laptops without taking them into the other room. I'll recap... I currently use my wireless DSL modem as my router. I don't have any computers connected to it by ethernet cables.
The USB printers are in a different room but they are where the modem is. I tried a female USP to male ethernet adapter to connect to the modem with no luck. I've never had much luck with USB adapters, not sure why. I don't have a working desktop/tower but I do have one awaiting repair. So, say I get the tower working, install the wireless ethernet PCI card and connect the printer via its USB cable. Will I have a network printer then? Will I need to connect the tower via cable to the modem?
As you can tell, I am totally lost on this. Anyone have an ABC kindergarten primer on networks? hmm, I bet there's a copy of "Network for Dummies" at the local library. Wrong again, their online catalog does not show it. OK back to the wisdom of CNET and the internet.

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by Kees_B Forum moderator / March 1, 2012 5:11 AM PST
In reply to: wired or NAS?

In the scheme you mention you must
(a) share the printer on the PC it is connected to
(b) install it as a network printer on the other PC's

If you let that PC hibernate in between, it's rather fast (coming out of hibernation takes half a minute or so) and not too expensive (it doesn't use power when hibernated).


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by redbiker99 / March 2, 2012 5:40 AM PST
In reply to: Printer

Thanks. That pretty much tells me what I need and how to do it. I guess I know what I'm doing this weekend.

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is this better?
by porsche10x / March 3, 2012 10:21 AM PST
In reply to: wired or NAS?

Sorry if I was a little unclear. You can certainly use another PC solely for the purpose of sharing a printer wirelessly, but it sounds like overkill. If I understand you correctly, you want to put your USB printer in the same room as your DSL modem / router anyway, right? Your modem also has wired network connections available too, right? As coffiejunkie mentioned, instead of using a PC, you can just buy a wired print server (~$30, and possibly even less), to plug the printer's USB port directly into one of your router's ethernet connection. The printer,even though wired, will be available on your network for any wireless laptop to access.

Regarding my other comments, an NAS is Network Accessed Storage, essentially a hard drive or drives in a box that connects to your network (usually wired, not wirelss), so that all of your networked PCs can share access to the drives. You can share files, stream audio or movies, even remotely access your files over the internet at other locations. Entry level NAS's aren't very expensive, and many of them have print servers already built in, so you plug the NAS into your router, plug the USB printer into the NAS, and both your USB printer and the disk drives are available over your network to all your laptops, etc.

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by porsche10x / March 5, 2012 5:52 AM PST
In reply to: is this better?

Oops, typo. that's Network Attached Storage.

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