Should you buy a Wireless Printer?

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A Printer is a computer peripheral which reproduces text and images of documents stored in electronic form, usually on physical print media such as transparencies or paper. Wireless printer allow the user to print documents, graphical representations, photographs and marketing material from any computer on the wireless network. Most of the printers use fixed wireless transmission which is used for communicating in a particular building or just a portion of building.

The wireless printer can be connected through Wi-Fi, Bluetooth or Ethernet. Wi-Fi is the most popular wireless transmission method and can provide the range over few hundred feet. Wireless modem has a built-in antenna which broadcast the Wi-Fi signal to the wireless printers. Bluetooth is the short range wireless technology which can connect printer upto the effective range of 30 feet. The main component in the wireless printer includes WLAN connectivity, wireless printer software and wireless printing portal service that keep tracks of the available printers in the building. They must be assigned static IP address by router DHCP (Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol) to ensure that the printer always gets the same IP address.

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Benefits of Wireless Printers

  • Operating cost advantage: It reduces the expense of Ethernet cable and connectors for connecting printer to the LAN. Moreover, multiple employees can print with the same printer from anywhere in the office instead of having separate printer for every desk.
  • Convenient: It provides the ease and convenience of printing the documents anywhere in the office. It eliminates the clutter caused by cords and cables.
  • Flexibility: It provides flexibility and can be easily relocated if the work area is being reconfigured or redesigned. As cables are not required, new printers are easy to add to the workplace through the existing wireless router.
  • Wireless Printers also provides the multipurpose functions like any other MFPs. They can also copy, fax, and scan in addition to printing. They can also print from e-mail, memory card reader or USB drive directly.
  • The line of sight is not required between access point and the printer as wireless printers use radio signal which can travel through walls and other objects. 

Demerits of Wireless Printers

  • Network Congestion: Wireless Printers connects with the industrial wireless network either through Wi-Fi or by adding some type of radio peripheral. It utilizes the company’s bandwidth which is also required for other applications. It may result in network congestion or slow response rate if the transmission speed of the wireless network is slow.
  • Security: The security of the network can be compromised using wireless printer as most of the wireless local-area-network doesn’t use the strong encryption to secure their network.
  • Interference Issues: Wireless printers are also affected by the interference issues from the other electronic devices such as cordless devices, Bluetooth devices, microwave oven etc which operates at a similar frequency.
  • Expensive: They are a bit expensive and a decent wireless printer cost at least $150. A good analog multifunction printer only costs $100. 

Popular Brands / models of Wireless Printers

HP Officejet Pro 8600: It is an inkjet multifunction wireless printer and also offers high-quality photo printing. The multipurpose functions include printing, faxing, scanning, copying, and saves paper by printing on the both-side automatically. It can be connected by Wi-Fi, Ethernet as well as USB. It can also show images before printing on 4.3-inch LCD display and has the ability to print from the memory card. It has a 250-sheet input tray and 50-page automatic document feeder. It can print upto 5.9 effective pages per minute. It cost around $200 and has relatively low cost per printed page. It weighs 27.8 pounds (12.6 kgs) and has the dimensions of 12.4 by 19.4 by 18.9 inches. It speed matches with those of low cost lasers and its text and graphic quality is suitable for most business needs.

Canon PIXMA MG 5320: It provides decent feature set for the multifunction printer at a modest price of $100. It can copy, scan and print from the variety of media sources such as camera, memory card reader, USB drive etc. It has 3.0-inch screen to preview images. It weighs 18.3 pounds (8.3 kgs) and has the dimensions of 8.9 by 21.4 by 18.9 inches. It has the capacity of 150-main sheet tray and 150-multipurpose tray. It supports USB and Wi-Fi connectivity but doesn’t support Ethernet connection. It is a bit slow and can print upto 3 effective pages per minute. But it lacks fax capability, average text quality for inkjet printer and has relatively high cost per printed page.

Epson Workforce 845: It can not only print, scan, copy and fax but also has great features like touch screen, duplexing ADF, auto duplexer etc. It can print from the memory cards, USB drive or e-mail documents directly. It has the paper capacity of 500 split between two 250-sheet trays and 30-page automatic document feeder. It can print on both sides of the paper using automatic duplexer.  It weighs 22 pounds (10 kgs) and has the dimensions of 11.8 by 17.6 by 14.5 inches. It has a decent speed of 4.2 effective pages per minute. It has some issues related graphics banding and dithering. But overall, it’s a great value for price at $150.

Brother-HL2270 DW: It is the small size laser printer at 7.2 by 14.5 by 14.2 inches with 250-sheet input tray. It has an automatic duplexer for printing on both sides of the sheet and supports Wi-Fi and Ethernet connectivity. It is very fast and can print upto 11.7 effective pages per minute. It has high-quality output and is also economical at a price of $100.

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