Printer Wi-Fi Direct causing interference

Today we attended a customer that was having trouble connecting her new laptop wirelessly to her printer.

The wireless setup was continuously failing because the software installation gave an error that it could not find the printer on the network.

The client also complained that the Wi-Fi speed was varying wildly and was unreliable.

Suspecting a neighbour’s co-channel Wi-Fi network, I activated an App on my smartphone that allowed me to look at the Wi-Fi spectrum. I was horrified to see that the customer’s printer was transmitting a very strong signal at the exact same channel as her Wi-Fi router.

I discovered that the printer feature called “Wi-Fi Direct” had been enabled. The Wi-Fi Direct option, allows a printer to use an inbuilt Wi-Fi transmitter when there is no router installed. The printer communicates directly with the computer. However in this case, the printer’s signal was in direct competition with the customer’s Wi-Fi router.

After I disabled the Wi-Fi Direct signal, I was able to join the laptop to the printer. The Internet signal from the router was also now stable.

If you have problems with your Wi-Fi signal and you are using an Internet router, check to make sure that your printer does not have the Wi-Fi Direct feature activated.