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Wireless printer woes

This is a discussion on Wireless printer woes within the Networking Support forums, part of the Tech Support Forum category. We have two laptops, both running Win 10 64 bit, and two wireless printers: A Canon Imagewriter and a Brother


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Old 11-30-2019, 10:26 AM   #1
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We have two laptops, both running Win 10 64 bit, and two wireless printers: A Canon Imagewriter and a Brother inkjet. The Brother itself says it is fine, but device manager says it is offline. We were having other router issues, and got a new modem/router from Spectrum -- a Technicolor TC8715D. I uninstalled the printers from the laptops, reconnected the printers to the router (same SSID, but I re-entered the password), reinstalled the printers to the computers. Both printers indicate they are connected with a strong signal, but the Brother is still always offline. If you send the Brother a print job and then power the printer off then on, it sometimes will print, but not always. The Canon now shows up in a print menu, but when you try to select it, the selection changes to the Brother. I found a post on this forum that seemed to be on point, but it assumed too much knowledge on my part for me to follow the instructions.

So we are in a situation where we can't print to either printer.

Any (understandable) advice would be appreciated. Thanks.
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Old 12-02-2019, 06:23 PM   #2
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Mark, are you able to connect an ethernet cable from either of the printers directly to your router? If you can, that will eliminate the most common problem, which is an intermittent wireless connection or wireless interference.
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Old 12-03-2019, 09:22 AM   #3
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Fred, the laser printer is downstairs and the router is upstairs; even if I had a long enough cable, it would have to snake across the floor, down the stairs, and my wife would trip over it, fall down the stairs and I would have huge medical bills as well as legal fees from the divorce. The inkjet doesn't have an ethernet (nor, oddly, a USB) port.

I can lug the laser upstairs and set it on the floor to try the experiment, but that isn't a long term solution. It does work fine via a USB cable from an old desktop.
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Old 12-03-2019, 09:48 AM   #4
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Hahaha, I understand. If you can temporarily move a printer closer to the router then connect it with an ethernet cable, that will give you an indication of whether it might be a wireless signal problem, which it usually is.

I go through this all the time. Your only options are a combination of moving the wireless printers and your router around to see if you can increase the signal strength to where the printers are located. You can try using a smart phone, a laptop or something like Xirrus software to measure signal strength before moving your devices. A wireless range extender may help if you can find a good half-way point between the printer and router. Make sure you don't have devices like a cordless phone or baby monitors close to the router or printers.
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Old 12-03-2019, 12:06 PM   #5
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Fred, the inkjet is about 5 feet from the router and indicates full signal strength. It is no longer offline, but about 1/3 of the time we get a "couldn't print" error message. The downstairs laser is working to an extent: it will print a pdf fine, but a full page open office document gets printed smaller than a postage stamp.
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Old 12-03-2019, 12:55 PM   #6
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Your Open Office Page Style Default Scale must be 100% or more for a bigger size.
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Old 12-03-2019, 05:37 PM   #7
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Corday, I am not sure how or where you adjust the Open Office Style Default Scale. I didn't knowingly change it, and the tiny print only began after we started having printer connectivity problems. FYI, if I print the open office document to a PDF, it is full sized.

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Old 12-03-2019, 05:41 PM   #8
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Incidentally, the inkjet is back to being permanently "offline".
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Old 12-03-2019, 06:48 PM   #9
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Mark, logically speaking, you are having similar disconnection issues with 2 different wireless printers. Do you have a cordless home phone anywhere near the router? I'd still try to bypass the wireless first as a test. Here's what I'd do.
  • Connect the Brother printer to your router with an ethernet cable, and if you can, turn the wireless setting off on the Brother at the LCD display.
  • Brother makes a connection repair tool you can download from their website drivers page. It should search for your printer and let you update the IP address easily for your computer (or download the BR Admin professional software). Write down the Brother's IP address when you do.
Try printing to the Brother printer. If you can't print and get an error message, do the following:
  • Press the Windows Start key and type CMD then right click on Command Prompt and choose Run as Administrator.
  • At the command prompt, type the word ping and then the IP address of the printer, like: ping 192.168.1.10
  • You'll either get a response if the printer is connected to the network or an error such as, "Destination host unreachable" if the printer is disconnected from the network.
  • Run the Brother Network Connection Repair Tool and see what happens.

The size of whatever you're printing is a separate issue as Corday was pointing out. The setting could be in your printer driver preferences where it's set to scale down the document instead of printing at 100% size.
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Old 12-04-2019, 08:16 AM   #10
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Fred, as I said, the Brother inkjet is strictly wireless: no ethernet nor USB port. No cordless landline. Relative positions of printer and router haven't moved for the 5 years we have been in this house. Could the inkjet have simply died?
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Old 12-04-2019, 08:51 AM   #11
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Sorry Mark, I misunderstood. Sure, it's possible the wireless card in the printer is the problem. You can still try the Brother network connection repair tool and the steps below to see if the printer has a valid network connection via wireless when you get an error message.

I'd also try resetting the printer back to its configuration defaults then reconnect it to your network. You can usually do that through the menu on the printer. I'd check Brother's site for a firmware update, too. Does more than 1 computer have a problem connecting to this printer?
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Old 12-06-2019, 02:08 PM   #12
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Fred, I really appreciate your continued patience. How does one determine the IP address of a printer? Control panel on both laptops says the Brother inkjet is offline, and trying to print wirelessly to the Canon laser gives an error message that basically says "The printer can't print your request". The Canon prints fine via USB cable, which isn't an option on the Brother.
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Old 12-06-2019, 06:22 PM   #13
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The easiest way to get the printer's IP address might be to download one of the Brother tools I mentioned two posts ago. Though you're skipping a couple steps I've suggested. Here's a link to the network connection repair tool. I'm pretty sure it will show you the IP address when the printer is connected to your network. There are also generic troubleshooting steps on that same web page, but I'd start under the support page for your specific printer. If you go to the Brother support site and search for your model, you'll see the various utilities available and maybe even a firmware update.
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