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Best Wireless Printers
UPDATE: We have updated this content as of 2/28/14. Previous printers included in the original article have been eliminated as newer models have replaced them.
When we originally wrote this article, wireless printing was beginning to take hold and there were a reasonable number of reasonable choices on the market. Now in 2014 as we revisit this topic, it's safe to say when some mentions wireless printing, chances are they are really interested in not just being wireless, but being mobile as well. By mobile we mean printing not just from laptops, but from smartphones and tablets too.
Advantages of Wireless Printers Today
Most printers these days are built to print over a 802.11n connection, which offers the fastest data transfer speeds and largest effective signal range. Every vendor now has models that fit this bill, so it's not a matter of finding a good vendor anymore, it's all about finding what printer you like the most since wireless has become king.
Security has been enhanced as wireless printing has advanced. A lot of this can be credited to the adoption of wireless printing in business environments which takes place behind the safety of company firewalls. If you look at any of the major printer vendors, they have worked hard especially in document management and security. They have solutions which can encrypt documents over a network, have users print with a pin, restrict color print and copy usage, and much more. A lot of emphasis has been placed on the creation of electronic versions of documents directly from the interfaces of the machines.
Ease of use
Interfaces have also been more intuitive and usable as well as become larger in size. While there are still models with two- or four-line monochrome LCDs, many more have become larger. It is common to find screens of 3.5" or larger, and many models also allow users to access apps either for fun or business directly from the touchscreen. Aside from the screens, there is a wide-range of wireless printers for every type of users from beginners to advanced.
Connecting to WiFi Networks
Manufacturers have worked hard to make getting a printer setup wirelessly. Vendors like Samsung, Dell, and Brother have designed printers so that the wireless setup can be achieved easily, and in as little as one touch. Across home networks, users should be able to easily share and network printers for multiple users, too.
Top Bets in Wi-Fi Printers
When we originally wrote this article, Lexmark and Kodak were still making consumer printers, but for various reasons, those two vendors have left the consumer market behind (though they still support older products). Never fear, however, all the rest of the vendors make printers with wireless capability at many different price points. Here are some of the best we've seen as of late:
As you can see, much has changed, and for the better with wireless printing. There are many more choices for consumers and businesses alike. It is always important that you consider your needs when looking for a printer and do your research. Keep checking back for more informative articles and printer reviews.
The Case for Wireless Printing
While many printers in office environments these days are already wireless, not 100% are so. Xerox, in a recent blog post by Cheryl Otsott makes the case as to why if you’re not doing it already, why you should.
For businesses looking to go the wireless route, Xerox manufactures the WNA-100 wireless network adapter which is designed to work as flawlessly as possible with many Ethernet-enabled Xerox Phaser printers or multifunctions. The wireless adapter also includes Xerox’s CentreWare® Internet Services which provide remote device management for IT admins via a browser interface. It also supports wireless security standards such as WEP, WPA, and WPA2. For places where space is at a premium, the device will fit right in with its compact design.
Some of Xerox’s most recent machines, like the Phaser 4600/4620 can come equipped with an internal wireless card, so there?s not a need to buy any additional equipment. Other devices come Wi-Fi ready instead.
In conclusion, Otsott suggests that by transitioning to a wireless printer environment, businesses are able to place their printers where they are really needed instead of by the nearest network drop.
Step back from your inner cynic for a moment as the devices talked about in the article are Xerox products, but the general points are valid. Wireless printers, aimed at business environments come in many shapes, sizes, and price ranges. Based on what we?ve seen even in the last several months, many brands have at least a few solid options from which a company can choose.
Take, for instance, one of the from Dell which were announced back in November. The Dell C1765dnf, a color multifunction unit that offers wireless printing (plus Ethernet) and supports WPA2.0 and WPS protocols to boot. Mobile users can print their jobs using the Dell Mobile Print app (Android) or Print Mobile App (iOS devices). In addition to the wireless connectivity, it also comes with Nuance PaperPortPro 14 Software built into the machine for document management. The unit normally runs $399, but is on special now for $349.
Moving up to a midrange unit, this time from HP, you get a color multifunction unit with an LCD screen (3.5?) that has native Wi-Fi printing and supports HP?s ePrint technology for easy mobile printing. The LaserJet Pro 400 color MFP M475dw is also compatible with Apple?s AirPrint and HP Wireless Direct Print. It features WEP, and WPA/WPA2.0 wireless protocols. It has a built-in automatic duplexer and 50-sheet capacity automatic document feeder. It is available from HP for $750.00
Lastly, let?s also note one of the latest units from Lexmark, the CX510de. At $1,399, it is a higher-end (but not the highest) unit available from the Kentucky-based OEM. It has a 7? touch screen LCD screen and like some of the aforementioned Xerox units, can be made wireless by purchasing an additional wireless adapter for either $49, or a wireless print server for $349. It can handle between 1,500 and 7,000 pages within its recommended monthly page volume, but is rated to handle up to 85K pages per month. It supports both TCP/IP IPv4 and IPv6 network protocols and enterprise level security. The CX510de comes with several pre-loaded workflow solutions.
While we realize this is a small sample, it does show that there are a variety of options available. You can always find us on Twitter @castle_ink if you have any further questions about wireless printing and protocols.