Considering the mobile environment in which we live and work, there are many wireless printers on the market today. Consumers can find printers in all price ranges with an abundance of features to match. From the simple, inexpensive models to the higher-end printers that can handle heavy printing load jobs, you have many options for choosing a wireless printer that best meets your needs.
Wireless Printers: How Do They Work?
Wireless printers use Wi-Fi technology to communicate with the devices that are transmitting the request to print documents. For those consumers that have multiple users at home, purchasing a wireless printer will allow several computers and devices to all access the same printer. Current wireless networking options, which will be discussed more in-depth later in this article, include Wi-Fi wireless networks, Wi-Fi Direct, Bluetooth, and Apple’s AirPrint.
When you sign up with one of the many service providers that offer Internet, Home Phone and Digital TV services, wireless Wi-Fi is usually one of the options available that is included within their package plans or special promotions. Depending on which plan you go with, most service providers will include a traditional wireless router as the device that you will use for all wireless services including printing jobs.
With Wi-Fi technology, you will easily be able to connect to your wireless printer from just about any location that has wireless networking access capabilities. You may be sitting at your favorite cafe, enjoying a latte and croissant, while typing away on your laptop. If the cafe has Wi-Fi access, you can use it to your benefit and connect to your computer at home and send documents and print them out.
Pros and Cons of Wireless Printers
The benefits of using a wireless printer include the flexibility of mobile printing on the go. Depending on the type of device you are using to print with, your options go beyond just using a desktop or laptop computer. There are wireless printers on the market with the capability to print out documents using your smartphone or tablet.
Wireless printers are also advantageous to businesses as well as those that work at home. If your office has a quality printer that can handle a high number of print jobs, you could see a substantial savings in overall costs by having everyone wirelessly connected to your heavy-duty, workhorse printer.
The drawbacks to using wireless printers are minimal and can be easily compensated for. Security is the primary issue when using Wi-Fi technology and wireless networking. Care must be taken when transmitting information that may contain sensitive data on a public Wi-Fi network . As a user, you must ensure that any devices you are using on a Wi-Fi network have appropriate firewalls and virus protection.
The other disadvantage to using wireless technology printers is that printing speed can suffer depending on several factors. If, for example, you are in a public Wi-Fi spot with many users accessing the wireless network, communication and transmission time may be slower. The rate of the transmission may also depend on the top speed of the ISP you are accessing if you are trying to transmit a request to print from one location, such as your business, to your home where your printer is located.
Options for Getting Connected
Wireless printing technology offers consumers multiple options for getting connected. Many consumers have used Bluetooth technology at some point for wireless connections, particularly with their mobile devices. Bluetooth technology is good option for those times when you may want to send a print job request from a location that it is not in the same spot as your wireless printer.
Other options to explore include Wi-Fi Direct. This technology utilizes Wi-Fi Direct certified devices instead of the traditional wireless router to transmit the request to print a document. The process works by having signals transmitted by the Wi-Fi Direct device while attempting to seek out other devices in order to form a connection.
For those that regularly use Apple’s products, check out Apple’s AirPrint technology. Mobile users can easily print documents and photos on their iPad or iPhone with the wireless AirPrint using the OS X or iOS apps. Apple also maintains a listing of all devices by other manufacturers on their website that support the AirPrint technology.
Photo Credit: Terry Wirth