Using Bluetooth to share Internet & Printer to Wifibooth
When the wifi of your iPad is connected directly to your camera, then by default your iPad cannot connect to a printer or use the internet. This is a common issue because only Canon and Panasonic cameras support connecting their wifi to a router (infrastructure mode). BluePrint is a FREE app specifically developed to solve this problem, and Wifibooth integrates with it directly. If you want to share access to a printer or the internet over Bluetooth, then you must use BluePrint to do this.
Prefer to watch a video instead of reading? Use the Related Video link above.
When Wifibooth is connected to BluePrint, BluePrint can share its internet connectivity to Wifibooth. This means your emails, Dropbox uploads etc can happen even while your iPad is connected directly to your camera’s wifi.
- A second iOS device with Bluetooth and wi-fi, running iOS 9.0 or newer. That’s basically any iPhone or iPod Touch that you have lying around
- If you want to connect a printer, it must support AirPrint (ie. Canon Selphy CP910 or newer) or be a DNP printer shared via a DNP WPS product; it must also be connected to the same wifi network as your second iOS device. You can also just share internet access (without a printer).
- During your event, the iPad and the second iOS device can be reasonably close together (the range of Bluetooth varies, but I wouldn’t expect much beyond about 5 meters or so)
- Make sure Bluetooth is turned on, on both your iPad and your second iOS device. You don’t need to connect to anything, or do anything other than make sure Bluetooth is on.
- Install BluePrint on your second iOS device. Do not install BluePrint on the same device where Wifibooth is installed. That is not supported. Here’s the app-store link for BluePrint: http://itunes.apple.com/app/id1127641254
- If you are connecting a printer with BluePrint, then connect the wifi of your second iOS device to the same wifi your printer is on. If your second iOS device is an iPhone, then it is best to use your iPhone’s Personal Hotspot feature and get the printer connected to that. You can tell if the printer is connected to your iPhone’s Personal Hotspot by opening the Personal Hotspot from the Settings App.
- Start BluePrint on your second iOS device, and touch the “Share my Printer / Internet” button. If applicable, share your printer. If you can’t see your printer, make sure the printer is on the same wifi network as your second iOS device.
- Open Wifibooth on your iPad, open the status area (the wifi icon) near the top-right, and touch “To start connecting to BluePrint, touch here”. When prompted with the question “What are you sharing from BluePrint?”, touch the button “Anything Else” to answer. The status area will close itself.
- Within a few moments the status area should pop open again because it has found your second iOS device running BluePrint, and prompt you to connect (just like the video above shows). If this doesn’t happen, make sure Bluetooth is turned on for both devices, and make sure the devices are reasonably close to each other.
- That’s it! If you shared a printer, Wifibooth will automatically add it as the connected printer.
A note about Speed
Note that when BluePrint is connected to Wifibooth, Wifibooth will always use the internet connection it has through BluePrint first. If you’re uploading a lot (ie. Dropbox uploads turned on, Twitter uploads on, Email on, etc) and printing a lot at the same time, you might find that the prints take a while to get sent. Wifibooth does prioritize the prints ahead of any other uploads, but does not interrupt the transmission of an upload if one is in progress when a print occurs. BluePrint carefully caches photos that it receives, so if someone prints a photo a second time, it is not retransmitted across the Bluetooth link.
If you find it slow, try these tips:
- Make sure your photos are being downsized to print resolution (Event Settings – taking photos)
- Make sure the paper size and DPI settings (Event Settings – Layout & Collages) exactly match what your printer needs
- Try reducing Dropbox or Facebook uploads to only uploading collages, instead of all photos
- If you have the budget, upgrade the oldest of the two iOS devices you’re using to newer hardware: the newer Bluetooth version, the faster the speed. For example, the iPhone 8 supports Bluetooth 5.
How Wifibooth and BluePrint handle queueing
What happens if there’s a bunch of stuff being sent by Wifibooth to BluePrint, and at the same time someone prints another photo? Wifibooth and BluePrint handle this by queueing items. In order to make Wifibooth reliable, this queue is tough: it can handle the Bluetooth connection being lost and then reconnected, or one side disappearing – for example your iPhone runs out of battery, you plug it in, and start up BluePrint again. This queue will automatically resume once a connection is (re)established. Please note that the contents of this queue cannot be viewed — it is not the same as what you see on the Event Picker screen.
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