In a hurry? See the short version at the bottom.
I recently switched to fibre internet and got a free eero router. Computers, phones and tablets in the house all connected easily, but my Brother HL-1212W was a problem. Previously I had installed the printer using WPS (Wi-Fi Protected Setup), which allows devices to connect without a password, but the Eero does not support it.
eero does not support WiFi Protected Setup (WPS), as it has well-documented security issues.
My printer is a budget model with no LCD screen and no keypad, and the only way to get it to connect to the network is to set it up with WPS. I could connect the printer with a USB cable and set it up easily using printer-driver-brlaser from the Debian repository, but this driver does not enable communication with printer settings. I believe the Windows driver does, but for Linux users with older printers, this could be a big problem.
Fortunately, I still had my old router which I bought myself, so I could access printer settings by turning that back on and connecting to the old network (once I had remembered the password I had given the printer!).
My problems didn't end there, however. I had given the printer a static IP address, and assumed that I would have to again. In changing settings in the printer configuration page, I only managed to break the connection to the old router.
I tried the WPS setup again, but it didn't seem to work. After much turning off and on again, the printer managed to connect to the old network. I later discovered that the eero uses a single SSID for 2.4 and 5 GHz frequency network connections, and that 2.4GHz devices (ie my printer) may be "unstable" and "experience an issue" (eero Help Centre). Apparently it's possible to disable 5GHz for ten minutes, which would probably have helped here, although eero don't mention this on the How do I connect my printer to my eero network? page.
After that, I discovered that the eero router doesn't do static IP addresses. Instead, devices can be given a reserved IP address by MAC ID after connecting by DHCP. This apparently is a good thing, see Port Forward and The Tech Journal.
So, finally having got back a connection to the printer using the old router, I could run the printer connection wizard to give the printer the password to connect to the eero. I gave the printer a reserved IP address using the Android app (which is the only way to administer the eero).
At which point, the printer should have been discovered automatically, but, following the pattern of this story, of course it wasn't. To cut a long story short, I had to enter the IP address of the printer in the New Printer dialogue. Entering the router IP address brought up some sort of Windows Samba printer connection dialogue.
You must log in to access Domain WORKGROUP
The router IP address is blocked by eero (which insists on administration by smart phone app, as mentioned above). A wild guess would be that the eero expects connections to the printer to be made via Samba, which might be normal for Windows computers (and Apple? No experience here) and as a result cups-browsed can't detect the printer automatically. Funnily enough, it could in Bullseye, but not in Trixie. Details here: Debian Forum.
The short version:
- Older printers without a screen that require WPS to connect to a network may be a problem, as the eero doesn't have WPS. Access the printer homepage using the old router and run the connection wizard.
- If you have an older router with WPS, disable 5GHz in the eero before trying to connect.
- Do not try to give the printer a static IP address in printer settings - from the eero app, assign the printer a reserved IP address.
- If the printer is not discovered automatically in the New Printer dialogue, try entering the printer's IP address in the Host field in Find Network Printer.