Advantages and Disadvantages of Wireless printing

Printer Services Newsletter 5.1

Australian Printer Services would like to welcome you to 2015 and our latest series of informative newsletters about printers and multifunctions.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Wireless printing

We are asked about wireless, also known as Wi-Fi printers, all the time.   Here are our thoughts on the advantages and disadvantages of a wireless network printer. To begin with we'll give you an outline of them.

Advantages of Wi-Fi printer:

1. No wires except power.

2. You can place the printer where you want it.

3. Gives you the ability to print directly from handheld devices such as tablets and phones.

Disadvantages of Wi-Fi printer:

1. They can reduce the speed of your wireless network.

2. A Wi-Fi printer also opens a new door to anyone accessing your network if your security is lacking.

3. It is not uncommon for Wi-Fi printers to have problems with connection loss and drop outs.

4. Wi-Fi printers can have slow print times and print errors if the network is busy, if there is interference in the network or if there is low signal strength.

5. Setup can be very complicated.

6. Fault finding becomes more difficult.

Firstly 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 metres 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's easily shared by many workers.

It is a very neat look as you don't have the extra cable to run from your router or computer.  As you have the ability to place the printer almost anywhere you do not need to be restricted by putting the printer next to a computer or a network port, also saving on the cost of cabling. Finally we find wireless printers are more likely to support the ability to print from mobile devices such as smart phones and tables.

Of course on the other side of the coin are the disadvantages that come with wireless technology and wireless printing. The speed of wireless printing can be much slower than a wired option. This is due to the router acting as a repeater which will always reduce the speed at which a print job is sent.  Add this to the possibility of multiple people printing to the one machine, the traffic jam of print job will slow productivity as well as add stress to your wireless network. This can lead to drop outs and connection problems for the printer and PCs.

If the printer loses its ability to connect to the wireless network it can be difficult to fix as turning it off/on may not rectify the problem.

Finally a Wi-Fi printer also opens a new door to anyone accessing your network if your security is lacking as it can use unprotected ports to send and receive print jobs. This can leave your network open to viruses, data theft and destruction.

To sum up at this point in time it is our recommendation that if you want to connect FROM a wireless device TO a printer then hard wire your printer to the wireless router. By having that directly connected into the router you end up with a quicker, more stable and more secure solution.