Wireless printers are now the preferred choice for home and office printing. The ability to communicate with the network without the need to use wires and cables makes them totally convenient. If you add to this the features of mobile and cloud printing, wireless printers can provide users with print from virtually anywhere.
If you are working in a space which is quite small, then a wireless printer is perfect. Without cumbersome wires and extensions leads, it can be housed in those tight spaces with ease. Its flexibility can help maximise output, especially in working environments with multiple users.
There are hundreds of wireless printers on the market and they all have their pros and cons. We’ve put together a comprehensive list of why you need a wireless printer. But firstly, what exactly is a wireless printer?
What is a Wireless Printer?
A wireless printer is a printer which can communicate with wireless clients. This can be done either through radio frequency technologies such as Wi-Fi, or by Personal Area Network (PAN) technologies such as Bluetooth. Using a wireless printer allows you to share a printer between multiple devices without having to run a series of cables to it. Additionally, it also allows the printer to be used by devices which do not have built in cable or interface ports, such as smartphones and tablets.
Two types of Wireless Printers
There are two types of wireless printers available today. A Bluetooth printer can be connected to any Bluetooth-capable computer. Its main benefit is that it can be placed several yards from your computer and still work without having a cable draped across your desk. A Wi-Fi printer connects wirelessly to a Wi-Fi router, so it can be accessed by any computer on that network. Its main advantage is that it can easily be shared by many workers at the same time, providing maximum convenience. Disadvantages of Wi-Fi printers include slow print times and print errors if the network is busy or if there is interference in the network. A Wi-Fi printer also opens a new door to anyone accessing your network if your security is lacking. Of course, a wireless printer isn’t completely wireless. Unless it’s battery-operated, it still needs a power cord.
Setup and Connection
In the past, your printer had to be positioned next to your computer and there was no way around the multitude of wires you needed to connect the two. Wireless printers, of course, have solved all those issues and can be positioned anywhere you like. No cables or extra wires are needed to connect you printer and computer. A router is the most important component you need for setup, and even though you’ll still need a power cord to connect the device to a power source, the actual connection between your computer and printer can be established over a wireless network. This of course means that a USB port is freed up on your computer.
When it comes to initially setting up a wireless printer, most are very easy. The only thing which might make the process slightly more difficult is the user’s lack of familiarity with the process. However, there’s always a user guide or manual to give you the help you need.
Basically, configuring a printer to connect with the Wi-Fi router requires enabling the DHCP (Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol) option on the printer. Obtaining the IP address of the present wireless network will then be taken care of automatically. Setting up a new printer is much easier than it used to be. Plus there are always lots of online videos which can help you to get started with ease.
Usefulness and Remote Accessibility
Once you’ve set up your printer, do a test print to make sure everything is running smoothly. Besides the computer, all laptops, tablets and any other supported devices should be able to send a print task to your printer. Another noteworthy advantage of using wireless printers is that you can typically connect a wireless-enabled computer or laptop to the device without installing drivers.
Rapid advancements in the world of technology have led to the development of various devices that support wireless printing. Each printer manufacturer provides their own specific apps or software that are compatible with devices such as smartphones, tablets, Android phones, and even digital cameras. Hewlett-Packard offers their HP ePrint app, Epson has the Epson Connect, while PrintShare, which works for Android phones, is available on GooglePlay. When you print images and files through these supported devices directly to your wireless printer, you’ll discover exactly how easy and convenient the process is.
Most USB printers can be converted to a wireless printer with an adapter. Both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth adapters are available from printer manufacturers as well as third-party manufacturers. Before purchasing one, you should first make sure that the adapter will work with your printer. The manufacturer’s product description will tell you if it works with all printers or only specific models. You will also need to install the printer software on each computer you want to connect to the printer.
Energy and Cost Efficiency
The cost of running several printers will soon mount up, so imagine the financial implications of having one for each home or office computer. Would you still rather keep a standard printer, or switch to a wireless one? In a business setting, you may still require a few printers but not to the extent of there being one per each PC. Wireless printers can accommodate a number of computers, although there is a limit to their capacity. It may depend on the design of the workspace and the wireless system too.
Unlike using multiple printers, having a single device reduces the expense of purchasing replacement ink and toner cartridges, and that’s a huge benefit. Additionally, most high-end printer models on the market today feature economy (Econo-Mode) printing and Power-Saving modes, both of which tend to cut down the overall printing cost.
In the long run, you can see how advantageous it could be to have a wireless printer. Furthermore, there are software, applications and cloud printing services for wireless devices that can help a business grow better by maximizing your printing options. With all this said and done, what would stop you from getting a wireless printer?
Importance of a Printer: They do More Than Just Print
Today’s printers can do much more than just print. Most of the printers on the market are able to copy, scan, and fax, meaning that you actually have a multi-function machine.
Scanning and copying
Copying still has some uses. Anything that can be scanned can also be copied. Scanning itself is not totally out-of-date either. Scanning is used quite regularly in the medical field, because it is more secure than emailing. And scanning of documents, contracts, visas, passports etc is also often required.
What else can you do with a copier and scanner? Well, you can produce digital images from magazine and book pages, photographs, and just about any other printed material. These images can later be edited to your heart’s content, sent as an e-mail attachment, or burned to CD or DVD.
You can also read text from a printed document into your word processor. This trick, optical character recognition (OCR), can save you hours of typing.
If you have the right attachment, you can also produce images from transparencies or slides.
Specialised scanners are designed especially for things such as bar codes and business cards. A unique example is a digital, hand-held pen scanner, with which you can re-create a drawing or writing on special sheets of paper in its notebook and a special type of self-adhesive notes.
Secure Document Sending
When you scan a document you can either put it on a disc to give to your colleague, or you can upload it to a private server for them to retrieve from wherever they are. When sending a file through email, there’s always the possibility of it being intercepted by someone who was not intended to receive it.
Depending on the type of printer or multifunctional unit you buy, the machine may even be able to prepare the document for you so it’s presentation-ready. Certain machines offer stapling and saddle stitching to create that professional look you need right within your own office. This saves you time and money – plus enables you to present your work professionally and quickly – without having to go to the local printers!
Streamline Your Workflow
The importance of a printer or multifunctional machine becomes apparent when you consider all of the equipment it is able to replace. In your office right now you may have a stand-alone printer, scanner, copier, and fax machine.
Other than having to go from machine to machine to complete a job that could be done on one, having stand-alone machines for everything comes with several other possible downsides.
First, you’ll have to buy separate toner for your printer, copier and fax machine. With a multifunctional machine you can simply rely on one toner cartridge for everything. Not only will this end the inconvenience of regularly having to refill multiple machines, it will save you significant money in the long run.
Toner last quite a while in a multifunctional device, and machines get smaller in size each year, so they don’t take up too much space in the office. Printers and multifunctional machines can do a lot more with one unit while leaving a small footprint.
Why you need a wireless printer
OK, so we’ve given you quite a lot of information to digest, but don’t get bogged down by it all. It’s very simply boiled down to this: Getting yourself a wireless printer saves you time AND money. Not only that, but it frees up space, and it has the important added bonus of delivering a smaller carbon footprint. So, say goodbye to a myriad of machines in your office or home, and get everything in one, with just a single power cable.
Wireless printers are definitely the future, so don’t take a step backwards. They’re easy to set up and easy to use. Once you have one, you’ll be wondering what took you so long to get started!