Troubleshooting common HP wireless printer connectivity issues
With rising adoption of mobile devices and slimmer laptops in the workplace, wireless printing has become the rule rather than the exception in many offices. Under the best of circumstances, a strong Wi-Fi connection lets anyone print from a phone, tablet or PC from any desk or conference room. Wireless printing is usually really simple and a lot better than having to wrangle with thick, tangled serial, parallel and/or USB printer cables. Plus, you’re not tied to a single machine like a big desktop PC.
Wireless printing is not without its fair share of issues, though. A lot can go wrong between router configurations, automatic Wi-Fi network connections (i.e., to a network that isn’t the same one as the printer’s) and required printer-related software updates on user devices. Let’s say you have a new HP printer from your HP re-seller that isn’t cooperating with devices trying to print. Here are a few tips to keep in mind.
Always start with a restart
“Did you try restarting [device]?” is probably the most commonly asked question of all time from IT help-desks, and for good reason. It’s a simple action that can fix a wide range of problems, including ones with wireless printers. It gives code execution, including within routers, the chance to restart, while also killing any programs that may be leaking memory (Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome have been known to do so on Macs, for example). Whether your printer has worked on your network before or not, a restart should be your first step.
Diving into more technical matters
The next thing to do is to test the connection between the printer and the network. We’ll mainly look at HP printers in this entry. On many HP models, you can do this by pressing the Wireless button to print a Wireless Network Test report.
What should you be looking for in this test report? Here’s what to keep an eye out for:
With most HP printers, there should be an area labeled Connectivity. If you see the word “PASS” in this field, then a connection exists. If not, then the printer is not connected to a network. Check router configurations and try to connect the printer again from the start. There are several options for doing so, including WPS/Wi-Fi Protected Setup, HP Wireless Setup Wizard and HP Auto Wireless Connect, which is probably the easiest as explained in this HP documentation.
The Current Configuration area has a field called Network Name (SSID) that should contain the name of your wireless network. If not, then follow the instructions from the first bullet point to get a network connection up and running.
Note any error messages that may appear in this report. They may provide more information that could explain why the printer has stopped working with the network.
That report should usually give you enough information to get started with troubleshooting problems with the printer itself. On the computer from which you are trying to print, always check whether any security software was recently updated and if the machine has a stable network connection. Software like the HP Print and Scan Doctor for Microsoft Windows can help in this regard.