If you want to just get to the good stuff, scroll down to the “Setup” section.

My wife and I finally got a new printer to replace the old one that has pretty much given up the ghost and refuses to print anymore (often considered an important feature for devices like this).

New printer day! Our current one hasnt been working consistently in about 2 years and percussive maintenance isnt having quite the same effect it once had pic.twitter.com/JD0VuTpFJd

— Matthew Champion (@MattJChampion) January 28, 2021

We settled on an Epson ET-2711 in large part because of the ink tank that should (hopefully) do away with the constant stream of expensive cartridges in favour of some cheaper-per-page ink bottles. I was excited to get it out and start setting it up (in part because we’re in another lockdown and what else is there to do right now)!

Imagine my frustration, dear reader, when I found out that the whole wireless setup process for this printer is terrible if you follow the official instructions. I genuinely spent a couple of hours bouncing between the Android app (which gave me a very helpful message telling me “Communication error”, to check the printer is on and not much else), the included software for Windows (which was just as helpful), the printed documentation in the box and the website, all to no avail.

width=402
You cannot convince me that this is a helpful error message

The good news is that I finally figured out how to get it working. The even better news for you at home is that I’ve gone through the process three times so that I could document all of the steps to get this working properly!

First things first

Although I had issues with the official documentation, you might find that the app works perfectly first time, or the included software gets you up and running. If so great, you’re sorted already! This guide is more for those who ran straight into unhelpful errors and found no real way forward with the official documentation.

As well as that, if you’ve got a “printer cable” (USB A to USB B) I assume the setup is even easier! I don’t have that cable however, so I had to do it all wirelessly.

Anyway, onwards!

Key

Here’s a quick key for the printer buttons/lights and how I’ll be referring to them:

A

Steps

  1. Follow the steps on the documentation for getting the printer out of the box, filling it with ink and “charging the ink” (I’m no specialist in printer hardware, Epson probably know what they’re doing with these bits).
  2. Put the printer into “Wi-Fi Direct” mode by holding down the Wi-Fi button until the lights stop flashing between the router and smartphone lights and has the smartphone light constantly lit (this bit seemed strangely inconsistent, so just keep trying things until you can get just the smartphone light lit).
  3. Hold down the network button (just to the right of the Wi-Fi button) until it prints out a Network Status Sheet (it will take quite a while).
  4. Look for the section with a header of “<Wi-Fi Direct>”, then look for the SSID below that. It should be something similar to “DIRECT-9E-EPSON-ABAA05” (which is what I have listed), although with a different ending.
A
  1. Connect to this wireless network using whatever device you have available (for me, that was a Windows PC). Importantly, if it asks for a PIN opt to enter a password instead otherwise it will register it as incorrect (on Windows click “Connect using a security key instead”). Use the password listed on the Network Status Sheet and you should connect to the printer network, although with no internet access at this point. Hopefully you don’t try to reload these instructions!
A
A
  1. Look on the Network Status Sheet for the “TCP/IP IPv4” section and find the “IP Address(Wi-Fi Direct)” value. Type this IP address into a browser address bar and you should get the printer portal.
A
  1. In the top right, open the dropdown and select “Advanced settings”, which will load an entirely different page with far more settings.
A
  1. On the left, expand “Network Settings” and click “Wi-Fi”.
A
  1. You’ll see a lot of details about how it is currently disconnected, but if you scroll down to the very bottom of the page, you’ll see a button that says “Setup”. Click it!
  2. The printer will search for available Wi-Fi networks.
    NOTE: If you get an error at this point check that your printer lights aren’t flashing on and off at the same time, which indicates a network error. If they are, simply press the Wi-Fi button once so that the smartphone light is solidly lit again and then press the “Refresh” button in the browser.
A
  1. Choose the wireless network you want the printer to connect to from the list (or enter the SSID manually if it’s hidden), then enter and confirm your password.
A
  1. Click “Next”.
  2. On the next screen, check the details of the router you’re about to connect the printer to and if you’re happy, click “OK”!
A
  1. Wait a few minutes for the printer to figure out what it’s doing.
  2. If you’re still connected to the printer using “Wi-Fi Direct”, you can check that it connected to the Wi-Fi by going back to “Network Settings” -> “Wi-Fi” and checking the “Connection Status” and “Signal Strength”. If not, you can hold down the “Network” button (again, it takes ages) and it’ll print out a new Network Status Sheet with details of the network it is connected to under “Wireless”.
A
  1. At this point, make sure the device you want to print from is also connected to the same wireless network you just connected the printer to.
  2. Go through the normal process for adding a network printer to your device (for example, on Windows it’s “Printers & scanners” then “Add a printer or scanner”).

Congratulations, if you’ve made it this far you should hopefully have a fully connected printer! If you ran into any issues that weren’t covered above, please feel free to leave a comment and I’ll see if I can assist or update the instructions with more detail.