Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Wireless Printing

Another common, but slightly misunderstood, request is for "wireless printing".  Typically, the scenerio that people are describing is one where they have users with notebooks who need to be able to print at the office without the hassle of plugging in.  This is easily achievable with a Wireless Access Point and a wireless network card, which can be either a seperate accessory or built in to the notebook.  These form two ends of a walkie-talkie type connection that replaces the wire from the computer to the network hub.  Once this is set up, the notebook connects to the network and the resources on it just as it would with a wire.  The printer, since it typically does not travel around, is wired to the network and is oblivious to whether its print jobs are coming wirelessly or wired.  In other words, the printer has nothing to do with "wireless printing" in the sense that most people mean it.

Truly wireless printing, where the printer is not wired to the network but communicates with the network in the manner described above, is possible.  The drawbacks are that availablity is limited to relatively few models and it is still more expensive and less reliable than wired, unless physical features of the building make wiring difficult.  However, look for these disadvantages to decline relative to wired as technology improves.

Please emial us or post a comment here on The Ideal Office if you have any questions about your office environment.

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