Earlier in the week, I was asked by a client to install a Brother HL-2170W printer to replace an out-of-warranty HP Laser Jet P2015 whose formatter board had died. My client wanted me to set up the new printer over the pre-existing wireless network that included an AirPort Express that extended the signal from the main router to the lobby. As I began the assignment, I assumed that setup of the Brother printer would be just as easy as configuring an HP laser printer across a LAN. However, the task took far longer than I expected. The delay occurred because of my simple misunderstanding of the printer setup instructions.
While HP printers are typically configured for network use by pressing buttons and entering text on a hardware control panel, Brother HL-2170W printers rely exclusively on software (an installation wizard) to complete the same task. When powered up, the Brother printer assumes one of two possible states: either ad hoc or infrastructure mode.
To expedite configuration over a wireless network, Brother recommends that users temporarily attach an Ethernet cable between the printer and the wireless access point. Once drivers are properly installed and the printer is recognized across the wireless LAN, then the cable can be removed.
After much frustration, I finally completed the configuration process when I “woke up” and created an ad hoc, private LAN between my wireless-enabled laptop and the printer while the printer was also connected to the router via Ethernet cable. In other words, I had to temporarily remove the laptop from the office LAN in order to install the device. Once I made that change, I was able to set up the printer as a wireless device.
Prior to leaving the office, I successfully printed test documents from two office computers and used Brother’s BRAdmin Light utility to assign a fixed IP address to the printer.