Tiny Code

Tiny Code

Monday, December 29, 2008

The new printer is working... finally!


I finally got our new Epson Workforce 600 all-in-one printer working properly today. It wasn't an easy installation by any stretch of the imagination. Their setup software isn't what I'd call user friendly. I was close to having it work on several occasions but something always went awry. The most annoying problem was when the printer found the WiFi network during setup and allowed me to enter the WPA key even though it refused me to allow me to paste the key into the form (try entering a 64 character hexadecimal key manually twice with no errors). The printer sat there trying to connect via WiFi in excess of 10 minutes. When it finally failed, it gave no indication of why the connection attempt didn't work.

I won't bore you with a step-by-step recounting of all the problems I encountered. Instead I'll present a list of lessons learned. Most of these only apply if using the WiFi connection.

1. Make sure your WiFi router has some of its IP address range reserved for statically assigned IP addresses (as opposed to DHCP assigned addresses). Using a static IP address for your printer will make the installation go easier.
2. If you're using WPA-PSK, specify the key as a 63 character ASCII string. The Epson doesn't seem to do well with a hexadecimal key. I used Steve Gibson's Perfect Password page to pick a strong random WPA key.
3. Use the printer's front panel to enable and configure the WiFi adapter. Sadly this procedure isn't covered in the manual which insists you use the software to configure everything.
4. Configure the WPA key for the WiFi adapter. This is done with the up and down arrow keys. You can toggle among the uppercase, lowercase, and numeric/special character sets by using the menu key located at the bottom left of the menu navigation keypad (the keys surrounding the "OK" button).
5. Assign an IP address which was excluded from the router's DHCP range in the first step.

Now that the printer is configured, it works like a dream. Don't be put off by this confusing WiFi setup. I've read worse stories about configuring the WiFi adapters for all-in-one printers from other manufacturers. There are far too many combinations of WiFi routers and broadband providers for any manufacturer to ensure no problems will arise during installation. I'm sure at least part of the problems are a result of the router supplied by our broadband provider. I've encountered problems attempting to connect other devices to it in the past. If it weren't for the requirement of MoCA connectivity I would have replaced it with a better router because of the issues encountered.

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