Converting Brother HL2130 to wireless

John Wallace

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Vodafone have kindly upgraded our house phone to wireless and provided us with a new router. My two Macs and my Canon printer and now also wireless and I would like the Brother to run wirelessly. I believe I need to obtain a transmitter that plugs into the printer cable socket but I cannot find any that do this. Can anyone tell me if I can do this and, if so, what I need to buy?

Many thanks

John W
 

stratman

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Looking at the specs for your printer there is only a USB 2.0 interface and no built-in wireless function. There are a couple of ways for you to access the printer wirelessly, some that will cost you money and some that may not.

1) If your wireless router has a USB port designed to act as a print server then all you do is plug the printer into the appropriate wireless router port. Only the printer and the wireless router must be powered on to print. Most wireless routers do not have this capability.

2) Buy a wireless Print Server. This is a device that plugs into the printer's USB port and acts as a wireless transmitter/receiver. Only the printer and the wireless router must be powered on to print. I did not find one on the Brother web site or on Google designed specifically for your printer. Contact Brother to see what they recommend. Search online using Google. (see below)

3) Buy a wired Print Server device that connects between your printer and the wireless router. The print server makes your printer a LAN networked device accessible through the wireless router for any device either wirelessly or wired on the network.

4) Plug the printer into your desktop and share it on your LAN. You will have to keep the computer powered ON that the printer is plugged into, otherwise no one else on the LAN will be able to see and use the shared printer.

If Brother does not have a recommendation then look online for a "print server", whether wired or wireless, at Microcenter or Newegg or Amazon in the US or whatever bigbox or online businesses in your country. Choose a business with a good return policy as not all print servers work with any printer, at least that used to be how things were years ago. Maybe things are more compatible now.

Here are some offerings from Newegg, both wired and wireless:

https://www.newegg.com/p/pl?d=print+servers&DEPA=0&Order=BESTMATCH&N=-1&isNodeId=1

5) Buy a new printer with built in wireless capability.
 

The Hat

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. My two Macs and my Canon printer and now also wireless and I would like the Brother to run wirelessly.
That’s a slippery slope to take, yes all the printers maybe wireless, but it can be a bit dodgy because you have to keep checking to see if a particular printer got the job you sent and is actually printing, wireless it maybe but it’s also more worrying.

The other problem with wireless printers is they tend to print so Feckin slowly, and can be notoriously troublesome with high volumes, and I always wondered if there’re worth it, convenient they maybe but troublesome with a capital T..

Where I can’t use a cable I switch to Davola power line plugs.. I detest Wi-Fi…
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Devolo-Mag...c=1?source=ps-sl-shoppingads-lpcontext&psc=1'
 

Artur5

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I agree that wireless connection is often a PITA, specially initial set-up of Canon machines, but printing speed is not an issue IMHO, unless wifi reach between computer/router/printer is very weak or irregular. I can't say that my Maxify or Pro10 are slower in wireless mode vs USB cable.
 

John Wallace

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Thanks for your reply and this detail, Stratman.

I checked on your link and came up with a possible printer server. Then, after a bit of thought, I realised that I had actually got something very much like it - Airport Express, for my Mac. So, at the moment, I am busy setting it up to see if it works OK and I'll let you know the result in due course.

thanks again

John W
 

John Wallace

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Hallo Hat, and thanks for your reply. I share the same misgivings as you regarding the capriciousness of wireless systems but unfortunately we have had to have a wireless land phone fitted via a Vodafone modem, because it was not worth them repairing the damage to their box in the street.

As a result, all my machines are using wireless and, to be fair to Vodafone, we have had no trouble so far via their excellent modem, which they supplied and fitted free of charge. Speed has not proved a problem and I assume that is due to the efficiency of the Vodafone cable system here (in Valencia, Spain).

Nevertheless, I could reconnect via cable and I might just take your recommendation and do that if I find that our systems misbehave.

Thanks again.

John W
 

stratman

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Airport Express
Not an Apple person but my reading shows the Airport Express can work as a print server, may use the 802.11 N protocol (if it is a more modern version of the chipset), and has a theoretical distance of 300 feet.

From https://electronics.howstuffworks.com/gadgets/travel/apple-airport-express.htm
"For wireless printing, you'll connect the Express directly to your printer via a USB cable. Then you'll use your computer's operating system to locate the printer on the network."
Not spending any money to get the job done is satisfying.

Let us know how it works out.
 

John Wallace

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Well, in the event, the amount of extra wiring and fiddling about made the whole exercise pointless. So I've followed The Hat's advice and plugged the printer back into a USB port.the
 

stratman

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The short version of this post that I would try first:

Mac OS X
  1. Connect the USB cable to the printer and to the USB port of the AirPort Express.
  2. Click the Apple menu ( ) in your Apple device (Mac, iPhone, iPad), and then click System Preferences.
  3. Click Print & Fax or Print & Scan.
  4. Click the plus sign (+), and then select the name of your printer.
  5. Click Add.

Now the long version...

amount of extra wiring and fiddling about
First, our fearless Moderator @The Hat spits in the eye of the devil, unless that devil is wireless. My computer-illiterate sister uses an old Canon wireless and has zero issues printing from her laptop from 1-2 rooms away. The Hat is not the go to person here about wireless, though his point about slow printing can be true, particularly with large, MegaBytes full images or wireless signal strength from too far a distance or interference from electrical signals and barriers occurs.

The wireless transmitter/receiver device used also plays a role - older usually does equal poorer performance. This would include both an older Airport Express device and the wireless devices used in your home. Wireless protocols of a, b, and g may be frustrating or worthless, while wireless n, ac, and ax perform properly. FYI - both wireless router and device must use the same wireless protocol (a,b,g,n,ac,ax), meaning the wireless transmission will only run at the highest speed that BOTH sides share in common, meaning one side may downgrade protocol speed in order to match the protocol from the other device.

Besides a power cable, there should be no 'extra' wiring when using the Airport Express. You already should have a USB cable for the printer and use it to plug into the Airport Express from the printer. Done.

Then you need to setup the printer via the Airport Express on each device you will be using to print from.

You said you have two Macs. From my understanding, Apple devices are meant to easily add an Airport Express for use and this can be done using Macs or iPhones. Since you do not have an Apple Wireless router - instead you have a Vodaphone - then set up the Airport Express as its own unique new network. Do not add it to your existing network created by the Vodaphone nor use it to extend your existing network. In other words, you will have two different wireless local area networks (LAN) in your home, each with their own unique SSID's. The Airport Express will only be used to connect to the Brother printer.

The Airport Express must have its own unique SSID. The SSID acts as the "home address" that identifies that wireless router signal, and the password you give is the "key" that opens the lock on the door to the home. You could use the same password as used on the Vodaphone wireless network, but I recommend using a different password for security sake.

Choose the highest security level possible, such as WPA2-AES (read more here). I do not know Apple products, so what is available as security choices for you is unknown to me. The idea, though, still holds - choose the highest security protocol available and is compatible for both your Airport Express and devices (Macs, phones, etc). Old devices may not be compatible with new security protocols. If you do not know what your devices are capable of, always choose the highest level protocol first and if it doesn't work then lower the security level protocol until it does. Just know that lower security devices have easier to crack protections OR no protections at all. That the Airport Express will only allow access to the printer is a safeguard for your network. The worst a hacker could do is print until the printer runs out of paper or ink.

Once the Airport Express is installed, your wireless device (Mac, phone, etc) should be able to see the SSID.
Select the Airport Express SSID to connect. Enter the password for that SSID. Now your device is connected to the signal transmitted by the Airport Express. You are connected to the printer. Each device you use will need to have wireless capability in order to access the printer via the wireless Airport Express. No wireless - no printer connection.

At this point, the printer needs to be installed on each device in order to use the printer. I do not know how Apple products work. From my reading, Apple has a built-in list of drivers for various printers and does the printer installation automatically. Maybe you need to manually install the printer drivers on each device that will use the printer with PC computers. If needed, download / install the appropriate printer drivers for your Operating System on the manufacturer's web site - see here.

FYI Canon requires a specific sequence when installing a printer, whether wired or wireless. Deviation from that sequence and the printer may not function properly. I do not know how Apple treats the printer installation process, but from my reading, it looks like Apple is much easier and straightforward.

A couple last points:

1) If there is more than one USB port on the back of your wireless modem, call Vodaphone and ask if one of the USB ports can act as a printer server. If so then you won't need to install the Airport Express, just plug the USB cable into the Vodaphone.

2) If your devices are all sharing across a network (LAN then plug the printer into a desktop or other device that can remain powered on 24 hours a day. Share the printer on all devices and now your Vodaphone wireless router modem connects all devices to the printer. No Airport Express needed.

3) It is possible to connect the printer to a desktop AND to the Airport Express. With it connected to the desktop computer you will not have to worry about slow or faulty printing over wireless with BIG images. Being connected simultaneously to the Airport Express the printer will be available to your wireless devices, too.

As always, with wireless there is the possibility of poor performance due to old equipment, too far a distance, interference from barriers (walls, steel, glass, electrical, plumbing, etc) as well as electric signals (other wireless routers in your area, microwave ovens, vacuums, electric knives, baby monitors, remote control devices, refrigerators, etc)

Place wireless routers as high up off ground, unobstructed, and as close to center of the radius of where devices are used. Usually try to use 5 GHz bandwidth but may have better success using the 2.4 GHZ as it provides more coverage distance, may be the only option for older wireless devices, and may saturate the bandwidth for the devices used.

(My Kindle is a 100Mbps wireless device. My wireless router can use up to 1 GHz. I have 400 Mbps speed from my ISP. I can saturate all 100 Mbps capabilities of the Kindle on the 2.4 GHz bandwidth from most everywhere in and around my home.)

Besides, it may be best if you use the 2.4 GHz bandwidth only for the printer if the Airport Express gives you the option while using the 5 GHz bandwidth from the Vodaphone for your Macs, phones, etc that can use 5 GHz and are in range of the 5 Ghz signal (shorter range than 2.4 GHz signal). This may help with congestion and slow downs in your home.

Additionally, try to use a different bandwidth Channel (1-11 on the 2.4 GHz bandwidth) than others in your area as well as the one in use by your Vodaphone wireless router modem. This requires some kind of WiFi signal app that displays what SSID's and how many of them in your area are on a specific channel of that 2.4 or 5 GHz bandwidth. There are free apps for wireless capable smart phones, laptops and desktops. This is only a concern if you are getting poor wireless function, so don't worry about this for now.

There ends today's primer. Looks intimidating but first follow the short and sweet version posted at top. It might be all you need to know and do.
 

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After that great post @stratman, I reckon it’s a good dram of Whisky and an early night for you.. Well done.. We’ll wake you if the Academy awards ring…. :hugs 👨‍🎓
 

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