How to install an HP LaserJet P1102w printer wirelessly

HP's Laserjet P1102w is a terrific little monochrome laser printer for home or small-office usage. Unfortunately the instructions HP provides for setting it up to print from a Mac are unnecessarily bewildering. If only HP knew about Bonjour. What follows are the steps to take to install it quickly and easily on any Mac running Mac OS X 10.4 onwards, presuming you connect to the Internet via an AirPort base station.

1. Turn the printer on. You'll want to do that eventually anyway. When you do this, the printer straight out of the box starts up its own web server.

2. Point your computer at it. Go to the AirPort symbol in your Mac's menu bar and click on it. As well as your usual wireless network you'll see your neighbours' ones and one that is obviously named as the web server on your new HP printer. Select that network instead of your usual one.

3. Start Safari. You'll have a moment's panic because it will tell you yo're not connected to the Internet. That's because you're not. You're connected to your printer.

4. Point Safari at your printer. Click on the icon at the far left of Safari's bookmarks bar — the one that looks like an open book. You could also select "Show All Bookmarks" from the Bookmarks menu. Same thing.

5. Click on the Bonjour icon. In the left column you'll see all your bookmarks, including a section at the top called "Collections". Among these is one called "Bonjour". Select it.

6. Select your printer. Your printer's configuration settings are accessed through a web page that, at this point, is the only page your browser will actually be able to connect to. Its name will appear among your Bonjour bookmarks (if you're like most people it may well be your only Bonjour bookmark).

7. Point your printer at your own network. Click on the tab marked "Networking" then select "Wireless" from the column on the left. Select "Infrastructure" so the printer knows it's looking for a network on a wireless base station. You'll see a list of available wireless networks, hopefully including the one you usually connect through. Click on its name, then on the << button to move the name into the SSID field. Next, under Security, you may have to enter a password to join your network. if you don't, fire your network administrator and get a new one.

8. Click "Apply". At this point the web page you're looking at will disappear. This is because you're still connected to the printer's ad hoc wireless network but the printer isn't. It's time to go home.

9. Reconnect to your own network. Go back to the AirPort icon and select your usual network. If you look at your Bonjour bookmarks again you'll find the printer is still there — you use that web page to change settings on the printer or check its status.

You may notice that at no stage have I suggested you install the printer's software. You will need to do that but, in truth and contrary to what HP will tell you, it makes no difference whether you do this before or after the steps above and you absolutely do not have to have your computer connected to the printer with a USB cable as HP claims in its convoluted directions.

Anyway, once you've installed the HP drivers from the CD or download, go into the Print & Fax pane of System Preferences and Add the printer as you would add any other (hint: it's under "Bonjour").

Now start printing.