As we see an increase in the number of computers in the household, the need for a printer for every computer has diminished and we find ourselves sharing printers. Initially, this required copying a data file to a disk and saving it on the computer linked directly to the printer. With the advent of home networks, it soon became easy to share printers in the home and thus you could literally print from any computer in the house.
As technology progressed, and the wireless network became easier to use in the home, it was inevitable that manufacturers would start building wireless-capable printers that could link into the home network without the need for a USB cable.
Advantages of a wireless printer:
- No computer has to be linked directly to the printer.
- The printer doesn’t have to be located next to a computer, thus making it more accessible
- There is one less cable to worry about!
- The use of wireless computers also becomes more sensitive as the home computer is transformed, with more and more people buying laptops, netbooks and devices like iPads – portability is becoming a huge factor at home.
Some considerations before buying a wireless printer:
- Make sure that every computer in the wireless network has the capability of using the printer – as the device is wireless, each computer will need some available hard drive space to house programs etc so that they can use the printer – some older computers may not be compatible.
- Make sure your router is up to date – the better the router, the better reception for all computers and the printer.
- Make sure your network is secure – never set up a home network without a password, even if you’re only using it for a printer.
- Research the printer choices you have; it has to be network capable, but you also want to see if it has the functionality you want – sacrificing printing functionality just to get portability doesn’t make sense do you want to print in colour? Double-side? Large pages? Do you want an efficient printer? Laser printer etc? Do you want to be able to plug in devices directly (such as cameras) and print without the use of a computer? All these are just some of the things you should think of.
One thing you should consider when using a wireless printer is do you actually need the printer to be wireless? You probably already have a dedicated computer linked up to your router and modem so if you have the room, you can still have a ‘wired’ printer that can be shared by the network. Generally, you’ll find that a wired printer will probably be slightly quicker, but you may also find that printers without wireless capabilities are slightly cheaper.
Personally I still use a wired printer, and until my printer dies and I am no longer able to buy a wired printer, I will continue to use one.