Q: We replaced our old router with a Linksys model to improve TV streaming, but now our HP printer won’t stay connected to our iPads and MacBooks via the Wi-Fi network. We have to restart the printer before every use. What’s wrong?
—Ron Chandra, Templeton, Iowa
A: Because you print via the Wi-Fi network, the problem may be caused by incompatible settings on the new Linksys router and the HP printer.
— Set a dual-band router to use both the 2.4 gigahertz and 5 gigahertz communications bands, and make sure it uses the same “network name” for both bands. Otherwise, some devices may not connect to Wi-Fi. (The network name is often referred to as its SSID, or “service set identifier.”)
— Set the router to use all versions of the Wi-Fi communications standard. This helps eliminate electronic interference on the network and make sure older devices can connect.
— Turn off MAC (media access control) address filtering, which is a way of limiting who can connect to the Wi-Fi network. Instead, regulate who’s allowed on the network by using security settings. The strongest security setting is “WPA3 Personal.”
— To maintain network compatibility, make sure the router is set to automatically download software and firmware updates. (Firmware contains operating instructions that are kept inside a particular device.)
HP said you may need to update your printer settings to match those of the new router (see tinyurl.com/yxcg67wv). For example, if you’ve previously set up the printer with a static (unchanging) IP (internet protocol) address, you may need to change it to match the “IP address format” of the new router.
In addition to changing router and printer settings, download Apple’s latest software updates for your iPads and MacBooks, and download the latest software and firmware for your HP printer.
If none of these fixes work, you may have another option. If you have a newer HP printer, your Apple devices may be able to bypass the Wi-Fi network and connect directly to the printer via a feature called “HP Wi-Fi Direct” (see tinyurl.com/ycyx6cqf).
Q: I use a traditional, one-time-purchase version Microsoft Office 2010, but I see that technical and security updates for it end in October.
I’m thinking about what to buy next, and I’m not very interested in Microsoft 365, the online subscription version of Office. Will Microsoft offer an updated, one-time-purchase version of Office in the future?
—Walter Stewart, Newburgh, N.Y.
A: Microsoft Office 2019 is the most recent traditional PC-based version of the program, for which you pay a one-time purchase fee. It is comparable to the version of Office currently offered through Microsoft 365, the online, subscription-based service. Future versions of Office have not been announced, which isn’t unusual.
While Microsoft is clearly pushing the subscription service, I expect the company to continue offering traditional and subscription versions of Office in the near term — there’s currently customer demand for both. But Microsoft may eventually switch Office entirely to subscription fees, which provide a steadier stream of revenue than outright purchases do.