How to Set Up A Network Printer For a Home Or Small Office

Adding a network printer to your home or small office can seem like a daunting task, especially if it is an older printer, or one that is angled towards office or home office use. This usually includes many laser printers, and larger printing stations. The task itself is usually pretty far from intimidating, and we will cover the basics of installing a wired or wireless network printer on one, or multiple computers in 3 simple steps.

Note – If your printer comes with an install disk, please use the install disk and disregard these instructions unless the disk install fails. There may be needed software on the disk that can cause a manual install to not work properly.

Step 1: Connect your printer to the network:

If your printer connects to the network with a standard cable, plug one end into the printer, and the other into your router… Wasn’t that easy?

If your printer connection wireless is, use the control panel, or configuration options of your printer to connect to the wireless network. This is usually done by going to settings, scrolling to network settings, and then choosing to turn WLAN on. After that, use the utility to search for the network you want, and enter the security key using the printers built in method.

If the printer does not have an option to configure a wireless connection internally, you will need to download software from the manufacturers website, and use a temporary USB connection to configure the wireless information.

Step 2: Configure the relevant IP addresses.

Most small networks operate fully on DHCP, and the downside of this is that if your router is rebooted, there is a chance that the new IP address will be assigned differently, and this can cause issues with the next step. The easiest way to do this is to set up a DHCP reservation for the printer, so that it is always assigned the same address.

First, print a network configuration page from the printer. You will need it’s information. Then log into your router’s control panel. This is almost always done by opening a web browser, and going to one of two possible addresses ( or If a password window pops up, you are in the right place. Consult your routers documentation for the default passwords if you do not know them.

You may need to consult your specific router’s documentation for creating a DHCP reservation, but the general process on many routers goes something like this: Click on the status tab, and then look for an option that says something like “connected devices.” In this menu, look for a button labled “DHCP clinets information” Click that, and then reference the configuration page you printed out earlier. Look for the ip address of your printer in the clients list, and choose add a DCHP reservation under the appropriate IP. Fill in the fields, and you are all set!

Step 3: Install the printer on computer(s)

The steps for this are very similar across many versions of windows. Once the network is configured, open control panel, and choose Devices and Printers (just Printers for XP). In this window, click add a new printer.

A window will pop up asking if you want to add a local printer, or a network printer… Here is the trick. You choose add a local printer, and then uncheck the box that says “automatically look for my plug and play printer.” (if the box is not there, ignore this.) The next step is to choose to create a new standard TCP/IP port, so select create a new port, and use the TCP/IP port option. When it asks for port information, input the ip address of the printer, and then click next.

A window may pop up asking about network cards and servers. Unless you are using a print server (not covered in this article) then simply click next.

A list of manufacturers and devices will then come up, and all you need to do is locate your printer to install the drivers. If your printer is not on the list, you will need to download the drivers from the manufacturer, and then use the “Have Disk” button to locate the appropriate driver. Once the driver is selected, click next and choose the options you would like in the subsequent menus. When the sharing and miscellaneous items have been completed, click finish, and if everything is set up right, aa test page should print.

If that works, you are done!

If not… Check to make sure you have the right driver file, and then check to make sure your IP information is properly set.