What’s a good adapter to make a printer wireless?

Johnny March 15, 2015
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What’s the easiest way to convert a wired printer to a wireless one?

I have a networked (Ethernet) printer that used to be able to connect to my home network via PoE adapters, but recently the adapters started failing. My house has a 3-phase power system and working with PoE adapters have proven tricky.

The printer doesn’t seem to be able to obtain an IP address through DHCP, and although I did try to set it manually, it doesn’t seem to be working. The computers can’t locate and connect to the printer. The printer also doesn’t show up in the list of connected devices on the router’s admin dashboard.

It worked fine before and here’s how the setup looked: Computers (WiFi) -> router -> PoE adapters -> printer

Since I have a wireless network, I would like to abandon the PoE setup. What’s the easiest way to convert a wired (USB or Ethernet) printer to a wireless one? I also have certain restrictions/limitations:

  • I do not want it to be connected to a computer and shared. This option isn’t ideal.
  • I do not want to use a Raspberry Pi or Arduino as a server. I need something that’s plug and play.
  • I can’t connect it to a router’s printer sharing port. The printer isn’t located close to the router, and can’t be moved.

  1. Jackson
    March 20, 2015 at 3:53 am

    Yeah, I believe the submitter was referring to ethernet-over-power. I have a similar setup where it's not economical to replace the printer (colour laser), so I'm keen to find out more about possible solutions.

  2. Jan F.
    March 16, 2015 at 2:00 pm

    I'm not sure how PoE can be "trickier" at your place than somewhere else. The electrical grid is standardized to a point where a small travel adapters enables you to use your device on a different continent.

    I also have a feeling that you interchanged PoE with PowerLAN or Direct LAN, whichever you want to call it.
    A normal PoE (Power-over-Ethernet) adapter connects to both, an Ethernet port on your router as well as a normal power outlet. It then transmits the power via the unused cable pairs of the Ethernet cable to the second adapter which again, has an Ethernet out port as well as a power out port which go to the device.

    If you were using an actual PoE adapter it would imply that your printer is within range of a normal Ethernet cable to your router which would mean that you could just get rid if it all together, connect the printer to a normal power outlet and the Ethernet cable directly to the router and printer.

    With the theoretical technicalities aside: What printer are you using, how old is it?

    A wireless print server will easily set you back $40-60. Investing as little as $10-15 more will get you a brand new up-to-date wireless printer. Therefor it is questionable if the investment is worth it.

  3. ha14
    March 16, 2015 at 8:43 am

    NETGEAR PS121 USB 2.0 Mini Print Server ???

  4. Tony Rodgers
    March 16, 2015 at 3:43 am

    What you want is a print server. The question is which one. There are Ethernet Print servers that are basically a switch. There are those that connect to your printer via USB but to your network via Ethernet. I think what would serve you best from a standpoint of flexibility is one that supports WiFi (typically 802.11 b/g/n) that attaches to your printer via USB. There are literally hundreds at prices from as low as $50.00 to $200.00. The key is that quite often these devices have a compatibility list. That's where the rub exists. Do your due diligence and know that you definitely have to turn off your firewall during installation. If you do those two things your solution will come a little easier. Personally I prefer the units from Cisco or HP.
    Check out this one: