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OT - Wireless Capability for an Old Desktop

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  • OT - Wireless Capability for an Old Desktop

    I'd like to enable an old desktop to print to a wireless printer. As I understand, I can either add an internal network adapter card (wireless) to replace the existing ethernet card, OR get an adapter to plug into a USB port. But the USB option would deprive me of its use for other purposes.

    I have a router positioned close enough to plug the PC directly into it, rather than into the DSL modem. I think I had it that way at one time, and was able to print to that printer; but that arrangement seemed to cause other problems. ...tho I'm not sure of that since I seem to have various connection problems with AT&T on a regular basis. (About a month ago they had to replace the box on the side of my house, due to severe corrosion.)

    My research to this point has served only to muddy the water. I'd appreciate any suggestions or advice, on a not-too-technical level.

    (added) ...don't know how my title got garbled like that. Somehow it concatenated that phrase "cause other problems" to my intended title. Try to disregard that.
    Last edited by lynnl; 02-06-2014, 03:43 PM.

  • #2
    My suggestion would be to use the router to join everything together, keeping the computer in question hardwired via ethernet.

    Your internet modem would plug into the WAN or INTERNET port on the router.
    All of your wired and wireless devices (printers/computers/etc) would plug into the other ports of use wifi.

    Once everything is hooked to the same router you should be able to use a network printer.

    For your current setup I would guess that right now you have bypassed the router, probably in the process of dealing with your internet providers tech support. Assuming no hardware is bad there could be other common reasons for your previous issues with the router. Your DSL modem likely has an integrated router, if it's IP scheme is the same as your regular router then you could have strange things happening. There are numerous ways to deal with that, such as changing the IP subnet on your router or reprogramming the router to be an access point and interfacing it a little differently. It is at that point that you might enlist the help of a local computer tech since you wanted "not so technical" advice.
    Last edited by SirLesPatterson; 02-06-2014, 04:10 PM.


    • #3
      I'll go back to trying the PC ethernet card hard wired to the router instead of the dsl modem.

      This modem, a Motorola that was installed by an AT&T tech a year or two ago at the time of one of the recurring outages, has a little short antenna, so I kind of guessed that it provided wifi. But I already had the router in place at that time, so as long as everything worked I was not inclined to reconfigure the set up.


      • #4
        I agree that hard wired to the router is a good option. My router is hard wired to 3 devices and wifi connects to 5 others. If that option is problematic, does the old system have more than 1 USB port? If so, you could plug in a USB wifi adapter into 1 and add a USB port extender to the other. I have extenders on 3 of my systems, including a 12 port hub on 1, and they all run without problems.

        More tools than sense.


        • #5
          Yes, it does not matter how the computer and printer are attached to your in-house network, just that they are. You probably just have to install the proper driver for using the NETWORKED printer from your PC. This can be done on any computer you have attached to your network.

          Also, the network connection and the PC to printer, direct wired connection can both be installed on the same computer at the same time if you want. These will show up as two different printers on your printer choice menus. I have a printer installed that way and it works through both drivers.
          Paul A.

          Make it fit.
          You can't win and there is a penalty for trying!


          • #6
            Well, it depends on what your AT&T DSL gadget is doing...

            If it's one of those modern combo modem/router/wireless/usb-printer-port things and you tied another router into one of the wired ports on it... yeah, you'll have weird connection issues. Double-hop with 2 NAT translations through 2 routers... you can probably still browse the web but you will get "other problems". If that's the case, ebay a powered usb hub at the same time you're getting a usb wireless adapter for the old computer, put away that second router, and your problem is solved.

            If you're running an old-school standard DSL modem to a separate router with wireless capabilities and some wireless printer attached to that, and you can plug said computer into a wired port of that router, that would be best. Though, it doesn't solve your "other problems." Next best, the same usb hub and usb wireless adapter. But, even then, if you have other stuff going on... this isn't likely going to bypass that. I mean, if the machine has connection issues while wired into the same router you would be connecting to wirelessly, radio waves aren't going to solve them.

            Last edited by fixerdave; 02-07-2014, 01:26 AM.


            • #7
              Originally posted by fixerdave View Post
              But, even then, if you have other stuff going on...
              So true. Don't ya just love "Plug and Play".

              More tools than sense.