Setting up an HP Printer in HP Smart on WiFi with Dual Band Networks

HP Hewlett-Packard logo

Recently I had to buy a new printer, and I didn’t have time to do any real research on what I wanted, so I bought one of HP’s low-budget all-in-ones, the HP DeskJet 3755. Currently this printer is selling for less than $100.

Setting this printer up on WiFi has been more complicated than I expected. I have never had any real difficulties in setting up a printer on the HP Smart app before. My Asus router has both the 2.4 GHz band as well as the 5 GHz band. I’ve always operated both bands using the same SSID and password, and it’s never been a problem before. However, since the 3755 model does not support the 5 GHz band, it always picks the 2.4 GHz network.

It appears that devices on the 5 GHz network cannot consistently see those on the 2.4 GHz network even though AP isolation mode is disabled. This problem may not exist for routers made by other manufacturers, or maybe even other Asus models.

By turning off the 5 GHz band, my Mac, iPhone, and the printer can now see each other, and I was able to set up the printer in HP Smart.

I have no requirement to turn the 5 GHz network back on at this time, but I will continue to see if there is a way to allow the two networks to see each other.

Routers with DD-WRT and VPN – Where to Begin?

DD-WRT logo

I decided to set up a VPN for use at home. After doing a little research, I found that a common setup is to get a router that is compatible with DD-WRT, a Linux-based firmware for wireless access points and routers, and then to connect to one of many VPN services.

DD-WRT VPN diagram

After signing up for a year with VPN Unlimited, I plugged in an old Linksys WRT54G (v5) router I hadn’t used in a while, and prepared to upgrade the firmware to the newest version of DD-WRT that would work with it. To find out what firmware I needed, I went to the DD-WRT Router Database and typed in “wrt54g” into the search box. For my version 5 router, the newest version of the firmware was “v24 preSP2 [Beta] Build 14896”, which was dated 9-7-2017; fairly new! I could choose from either the “Micro Generic” or the “Micro OLSRD Generic” firmware. Since I’m not setting up a mesh network, I opted for the plain vanilla Micro firmware. The upgrade went off without a hitch! I then found the pages which described how to connect to the VPN using either PPTP or OpenVPN.

DD-WRT control panel, Services --> VPN

And yet, here is where the trouble started.

I could not find the “Services / VPN” tab in the control panel of DD-WRT. It soon became apparent that I had not done enough research on the VPN functionality of DD-WRT. Some routers in this series (namely versions 1.0 through 4.0) had 16 MB RAM and 4 MB flash memory. These versions supported many different versions (standard, micro, micro_olsrd, voip, openvpn, etc.) of the DD-WRT firmware. My version 5 router, having only 8 MB RAM and 2 MB flash memory, can only hold the micro versions – which lack VPN functionality!

Since I won’t be able to use this router for VPN, I will have to buy a new one. Fortunately, I found a list containing some of the better current routers for this purpose at FlashRouters. Though you can buy the router pre-configured with DD-WRT there, I will likely buy it at Amazon for less and load the firmware myself. If you are concerned about bricking your router when changing the firmware, buying it pre-configured may be your best option.