In the past, when most homes only had one computer, a single wired printer would suffice for each household. However, as technology evolved, almost everyone now has a computer in their pocket.
If you want to print a document from your laptop or smartphone, you have to physically connect your wired printer to your device. This is inconvenient and pretty difficult if you're only using a smartphone.
But what if you can upgrade your current wired printer into a wireless one? Here, we'll discuss a few ways you can do it.
This is the first thing you should consider if you want to convert your wired printer. That's because many routers today have a USB port at the back, allowing it to act as a server for your home network. If your router has a USB port, it most probably acts as a USB host, allowing all computers connected to it access to the device.
For example, if you plug a USB drive into the USB port, you can use that as network-attached storage. So anyone connected to your Wi-Fi or LAN would be able to copy and paste files into that storage. The same goes if you attach a printer to your router. However, if you do that, you should first check the router's settings to ensure that it's set to printer server mode and not as a NAS.MAKEUSEOF VIDEO OF THE DAY
If your router only has one USB port, that means you have to pick between using it as a print server or storage. You can't attach a USB hub to the port and make it use both as it will confuse the system.
Even if your router does not have a USB port or a NAS system occupies it, you can convert your wired printer into a wireless one if it has a built-in Ethernet port. You'll typically find this feature in business printer models, where many users are expected to print documents from different computers.
By using your printer's Ethernet port and attaching it to one of the vacant LAN slots at the back of your router, you're effectively connecting the printer to your local network. If your router has built-in Wi-Fi, that means all wireless devices connected to it can detect and print from the attached network printer.
It does not strictly turn your wired printer into a wireless model because it still connects via a LAN cable to your router. However, the fact that you can access it wirelessly from any device connected to your Wi-Fi means you can start printing on it without needing your smartphone or laptop to be physically connected to it.
Related: How to Set Up Ethernet and Wireless Powerline Adapters
Alternatively, you can get an Ethernet to Wi-Fi adapter for your compatible printer. This adapter sends and receives data wirelessly and then pushes it out via the Ethernet port. You can use a short Ethernet cable to connect it to your printer. This effectively lets you place the printer anywhere you want, as long as your home's Wi-Fi signal covers it.
While this is uncommon nowadays, some manufacturers used to make wireless adapters for their wired printers. This is a plug-and-play solution, where all you need to do is attach the dongle made for your specific printer model. This is one sure-fire solution for USB printers with no Ethernet ports.
However, since these adapters were typically for older models, you probably would have difficulty finding brand-new adapters for your printer. Before going down this route, you should check with your manufacturer to see if it's compatible with the printer you have.
Furthermore, these products are typically much more expensive. It might even be more cost-efficient for you to purchase a brand new wireless printer instead. So before committing to this option, you should canvass around a little first to see if you can get a cheaper alternative.
If you can't find a wireless adapter specifically made for your printer or find it too expensive, you can opt for this option instead. This is especially useful if your router doesn't have a USB port or your printer doesn't have an Ethernet plug.
The dedicated print server attaches to your router via Ethernet and acts as a computer. Its sole purpose is to accept and process print jobs and send them out via USB to your printer. This is similar to the above solution but is compatible with almost all models. Furthermore, they're typically more affordable and made by networking companies.
If you need a wireless printer occasionally and don't want to spend physical effort setting it up, you can share your printer using the computer it's connected to right now. As long as your PC and the device that wants to print are on the same network, you can use your computer as the bridge to let the wireless device print.
The main downside with this method is that the host computer needs to be turned on and connected. Furthermore, if you're not familiar with the steps of setting this up, or if you're connecting different systems, like a Windows PC and an iPhone, you might run into some complications.
Nevertheless, this is still the best solution for those who only print rarely. And with Windows 10 and 11, setting up this system is easier than ever before.
Related: How to Add a Printer in Windows 10
Wireless printing is indeed a convenient feature to have. That's because the number of wireless gadgets that we have means we're no longer stuck working on our computers.
For example, the latest flagship Android smartphones, iPhones, and iPads are powerful enough to get work done. However, you might find it difficult to attach a USB-A printer to your USB-C mobile device.
With a wireless printer, you no longer have this issue of port compatibility. If you already have a wired printer, you don't need to upgrade to a wireless model—pick any of the methods above and enjoy the benefits of wireless printing without replacing your device.The 7 Best Wireless Printers Read NextShareTweetShareEmail Related TopicsAbout The AuthorJowi Morales(215 Articles Published)
Jowi is a writer, a career coach, and a pilot. He developed a love for anything PC ever since his father bought a desktop computer when he was 5 years old. From then on, he has been using and maximizing technology in every aspect of his life.MoreFrom Jowi Morales
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