Printers are essential business tools. Many businesses use traditional printers that are connected to computers and electric outlets via cables. However, this setup is not ideal for multiple users. It also results in a messy tangle of cables that could lead to accidents. As such, more and more businesses are turning to wireless printers.
In this article, we’ll discuss how wireless printers work and their advantages and disadvantages for your business.
What is a wireless printer, and how does it work?
A wireless printer communicates to desktops, laptops, and mobile devices using radio frequencies instead of cables to print a file.
Two common types of wireless printers include Wi-Fi printers and Bluetooth printers. The former connects to a wireless network, allowing devices connected to the same network to print documents. Meanwhile, Bluetooth printers transmit data using low-powered signals.
What are the advantages of wireless printers?
Wireless printers offers plenty of benefits to your business, such as:
1. Cable elimination
Wireless printers don’t need cables (except for the power cable) to be connected to a device, so they can be placed in any location where the Wi-Fi signal is strong. This reduces the risk of employees tripping over cables and electrical wires.
2. Device flexibility
Wireless printers allow you to print from any device, rather than being limited to desktops and laptops. For instance, if you need to print a document from your smartphone, you can just install a mobile printer app and hit Print.
Some printer manufacturers like HP even allow users to print remotely by emailing the file to the printer’s email address, eliminating the need to install drivers or connect to the same Wi-Fi network.
3. Cost savings
Wi-Fi printers are connected to a network, so multiple devices can use the same printer. Even if a printer can no longer accommodate new devices, purchasing a new one is still cost-effective.
Having fewer printers means fewer replacement ink and toner cartridges to purchase. Plus, many wireless printers have power-saving modes and print quality adjustment features to reduce printing costs further.
Finally, many wireless printers can scan, copy, and fax documents, saving companies from having to buy separate scanners, copiers, and fax machines.
Related article: Save on printing costs with these 5 tips
What are the disadvantages of wireless printers?
Despite its benefits, wireless printers have a few drawbacks, which include:
Slow printing times and printing errors may occur if a network is busy or experiencing wireless interference or low signal strength. This problem can worsen if the printer is located far away from the router.
Bluetooth printers, on the other hand, have a limited range of 30 feet. This means that any devices beyond that range will likely experience connectivity issues when trying to print.
Wireless printers may also be susceptible to cyberthreats if not properly protected. Back in 2018, a hacker under the name HackerGiraffe forced 50,000 internet-connected printers to print a propaganda document. To do this, they first obtained a list of vulnerable printers from an online search engine. The hacker then wrote a script that caused each affected printer to print out the document. The hacker claimed to exploit open 9100 network ports, which enable remote printing.
Fortunately, the hacker didn’t have any malicious intentions, and only reminded printer owners not to leave their devices exposed to the open internet. This can be done by using strong passwords, updating your printer’s firmware regularly, and enabling your network’s firewall.
3. Document organization and privacy issues
Since your employees use a common printer, they may print their files at the same time. When this happens, different documents will stack on top of each other, making it difficult for employees to locate the document they printed.
This also increases the likelihood of employees seeing documents that they should not have access to. For example, if a finance staff prints out contracts at the same time as a marketing staff, the latter may view information that only the former should be able to read.
Still deciding if a wireless printer is right for your business? Complete Document Solutions can help. Through our managed printing services, you'll be able to find the right printing solution for your company and save on printing costs as well. Get in touch with us today to learn more.