Printers are the natural companions of computers. Whether the user is a student printing out homework assignments or an employee printing reports, anyone with a computer sooner or later needs to print a hard copy. And sooner or later, most people who have their own printer need to replace it, and that means making some decisions. For example, is it time to upgrade to a wireless printing system? There are at least five good reasons to do exactly that, for wireless printers offer a convenience and ease of use that standard, cable-dependent systems do not. As more and more devices are designed to operate wirelessly, there is no good reason for printers not to follow suit. After reviewing the reasons to get a wireless printer, the next step is to look into how to select a wireless printer that meets the buyer's needs. After that, the only remaining step is to buy a wireless printer, either from a local electronics store or online.
There are at least five good reasons to go with a wireless printer . These are: convenience of use, convenience of location, easy administration, and neatness. Actually, as more computers become wireless, wireless printers are becoming more important as well because permanent workstations, where a computer and its printer could be conveniently located together, are becoming a thing of the past.
With a wireless printer, it is easy to set up systems where multiple computers print from the same machine. Increasingly, those computers are likely to be themselves wireless, meaning that they could be anywhere within wireless range at the time the user decides to print something. If the printer is not wireless, the user has to then either carry the computer to the printer and hook it up, or save the file to a USB flash drive and carry that to the printer. It is much easier to simply send the file wirelessly and keep working. Even better, wireless printers can receive files from handheld devices directly, instead of requiring that photos and other files be first downloaded to a computer. Wireless printing cuts out steps.
The best place for a printer is not always the best place for a computer. Storing a laptop in the living room makes a lot of sense because it is easily available any time someone wants to use it and laptops do not take up a lot of space. Printers, on the other hand, are often larger and bulkier, yet are only used intermittently. It makes more sense for them to be tucked out of the way. With a wireless printer, there is no need to compromise between the best place to put the printer and the best place to put a computer. The printer does not need to be associated with a workspace at all.
Wireless printers do not need a computer to manage their print jobs directly, so the printing process is faster. The computer does not even have to be on during printing. The system administrator can also change computer names and other settings without having to change network print settings.
Setting up a network of computers sharing a printer is possible to do using cables, even if the computers are not all in the same room, but the result resembles spaghetti. Aside from being ugly, a tangle of wires causes unnecessary confusion if one of the cables needs to be replaced or moved. A wireless printer solves this problem.
A wireless printer is not the only thing necessary for wireless printing, nor does wireless printing necessarily require a wireless printer. Setting up a wireless printer network can be a little complex, especially if some of the machines on the network were not designed to work wirelessly, or if not all the machines share the same network protocols or software compatibility. The good news is it is usually possible to find a way to connect any group of machines for wireless printing.
It is possible to get some of the benefits of wireless printing without buying a new printer. One way is to buy a wireless printer server; the server connects to the printer by cable, but then communicates with the other computers in the network wirelessly. There are both standalone wireless printer servers and routers that include a print server. It is also often possible to plug a wireless card into a printer, if it has a USB port, although USB connections on home machines may have trouble carrying network information. The difficulty is not insurmountable, but the buyer should be prepared for the complication.
Setting up a wireless printer network is simpler than weaving a tangle of connecting cables, but is not as simple as just switching on the machines and telling them to talk to each other. There are several different methods, including both wholly wireless networks and those that include a non-wireless printer with some sort of wireless extension. The first detail to look for in a wireless printer is whether it uses Bluetooth or Wi-Fi technology, because obviously the printer must be compatible with the type of wireless service the local network uses. Bluetooth is somewhat more common, but Wi-Fi has a larger range.
A major complicating factor occurs if the network includes both Mac and PC elements. These two different technologies use different printer software and different network standards, so they often have compatibility issues. While either type of computer should be able to communicate with any printer, it may be difficult to set up the same printer to communicate with both types within the same network. Fortunately, there are several ways around the problem, although the low-cost solutions tend not to be simple and the simple solutions tend to cost more money because they involve buying more equipment. Not all such mixed networks work equally well with all printer models, but there is usually some way to get any combination of machines hooked up to any printer wirelessly.
Wireless printing without a wireless printer is possible, but buying a wireless printer makes the whole process simpler. When shopping for a wireless printer, it is a good idea to know what features to look for, and to have a budget in mind, since printer prices, like prices for any other machine, vary. It is also important to make sure that the new printer is compatible with the rest of the network, for although compatibility problems can often be worked around, there is no good reason to make things more difficult than they need to be. Buying a new printer is an opportunity to set up a simple and straightforward printer network.
Which printer is the right one depends on the needs of the user. Someone who often prints large documents needs a printer with a very large paper tray, while another user may prefer a smaller printer that fits better into a small space. Similarly, a photographer may need a printer that can handle glossy paper and has a very high DPI, or dots per inch, while these things are less important to a writer. Some printers have SD or memory card slots, while others do not. Some printers include scanners and copiers while others do not. Absolute printing speed is rarely a concern, since most printers are similar in this way; usually if printing speed varies it is because the computer or the network is taking more or less time to send the print job to the printer.
Buyers should make sure their computers can run the software needed to communicate with the wireless printer. Checking for compatibility is a simple matter of comparing the computer's specifications and the network specifications to what is written on the printer's box.
Before buying a wireless printer, make sure that the user has a wireless network fast enough for the printer to function well. While wireless printers are built to use the network speeds that are standard at the time the printer is designed, some older networks may not be fast enough and must be upgraded before adding the printer.
Remember that part of the cost of getting a printer is the cost of the ink. Since each printer model uses a different kind of ink cartridges, a low-cost printer that uses high-cost ink may not work out to a good deal. Before buying, find out what type of cartridge the printer takes and how often the cartridge must be replaced and add this cost to the total budget. Make sure, also, that this type of cartridge is readily available.
Printers and related devices and supplies are fairly simple to buy online, and eBay offers good deals and a great selection. Navigating the site and communicating with sellers is straightforward. If you already know exactly what type of wireless printer you would like to buy, it may be helpful to set a budget because you can find many types of printers with different features and prices on eBay. Then you can start on the home page of the website using the <Advanced Search option to find exactly what you need. If you prefer to browse around a bit, however, type a term such as ' wireless printer ' into the search box and then use the menu options to narrow down the results. It is possible to find something you had not yet begun to search for.
There are several things you can do to buy wireless printers and related supplies on eBay with confidence. If in any doubt about the condition of a printer, simply contact the seller using the link on his or her profile page and ask. No seller should mind being questioned tactfully and politely. The profile page also includes the details of the seller's return policy and feedback score.
Printing is a major part of many modern businesses, not to mention its importance for students, photographers, and anyone who wishes to print out a reservation confirmation or a recipe. Naturally, it is important that the printing process be as simple and convenient as possible, and that usually means wireless printing. It is not always necessary to buy a new wireless printer to get wireless printing, however.
There are several ways to set up a wireless printing network using an existing printer and one or more extension devices. Some of these networks are easier than others to build, depending on what types of machines are involved, but it is usually possible to connect up any group of machines to any printer, somehow. If money is an issue, or for people who print too rarely to justify the cost of replacing a functional machine, these hybrid networks may be the way to go. In other cases, the simplicity of buying a new wireless printer is definitely attractive.