This had been bugging me for a long time. I have an HP M377DW laserjet printer and after setting it up on my wifi network there was a spare ‘HP-Setup’ network hanging around in my local area. When I recently added an HP Envy 500 photo printer which did the same thing I resolved to hide them.
I assumed it was something to do with Wifi Direct – a wifi-like protocol that allows you to printer directly to the printer without going through the main LAN. The idea is simple – you connect to the printer’s wifi network and away you go.
But in my opinion Wifi Direct is not a good thing. I can think of a few reasons it may conceptually be useful – maybe you don’t have a wifi network, or maybe you don’t want your printer on the network. But nowadays I can’t think of many cases in a normal residential (or even SOHO) setup where either of those things are true. The downside to this though, other than having to flip networks whenever you want to print something being irritating, is having unnecessary wifi networks hanging around can cause congestion but, more importantly, I suspect most people will leave it at the same default configuration out of the box (with a default password) which means you can fall victim to driveby printing. Maybe a small issue.
Either way, having two spurious wifi networks showing up was annoying me. The HP Envy was easy to clear – just disable wifi direct and it, rightly, went away.
But in the case of the M377DW this didn’t do it. I’m guessing that the existence of the HP-Setup network meant that the actual initial configuration hadn’t completed properly and so hadn’t been disabled. So despite Wifi being enabled on the printer, but wifi direct being disabled, the HP-Setup network was still visible. There seems to be a firmware bug that causes this behaviour if you complete setup through the touchscreen.
The ‘fix’ for this – if you can call it that – is relatively simple albeit somewhat counter-intuitive, using the printer’s admin page:
- If you don’t know your printer’s IP address, use the network summary report on the touchscreen to get it
- Login in to the printer (e.g., 192.168.1.x – based on what it said in the summary report)
- Head to ‘wifi direct setup’ – or https://192.168.1.x/hp/device/set_config_directPrint.html?tab=Networking&menu=DirectWifi
- Enable wifi direct and put it in automatic mode
- Wait. (Amount of time varies, but I found it was about 3 minutes)
- Hopefully the HP-Setup network will disappear, but you’ll have a new ‘HP-Direct’ network
- Now the squiffy bit. Disable wifi direct. Enable it, but it put it in ‘manual’ mode. Wait again.
- Finally, disable it.
I found with these steps, that the HP-Setup and the HP-Direct wifi networks disappeared.