Are Wireless Printers All That?

Updated: May 13, 2009

Some experts say that if you don't already have a data hub in place with the appropriate wiring, then going wireless is a great option for easy set-up and maintenance for offices that do a moderate amount of printing.

"Yes, wireless is the way to go unless you already have wiring and a data hub in place. The primary benefit is in having a visitor on a laptop who's on the Wi-Fi to be able to use the Wi-Fi printer. Just about any recent brand these days has Wi-Fi connectivity to make the cabling aspect a bit easier. Other benefits are in avoiding the tangle of wiring and having more flexibility in where to locate the printer," says tech expert Jay Hemmady, who is CIO of Market Transport.


At the same time, there are some disadvantages to consider. As I said, when I first received my all-in-one wireless printer, I thought it was the perfect solution to my infrequent printing needs. I could install it, stow it out of sight (but leave it on) and print when the need arose -- from wherever I happened to be working in the house. However, I quickly learned that the wireless technology that governs this printer is far from perfect. Besides being obnoxiously loud (seriously, this thing rivals my dot-matrix printer circa 1991), the wireless connection needed to be reset at least once a day -- if not more. And it wasn't exactly a fast job. Ultimately, a laser printer on my desk has proved to be a more workable solution for this small office.

And I am not alone, others say that wireless just doesn't cut it - yet. "My experience with wireless printers is that they aren't worth it. I've read up on the reviews and even tried one. The connections are too sporadic. I had to reset the printer a number of times before it would print. The best option is still a wired, Ethernet-enabled printer," says Elia Freedman of Infinity Softworks (infinitysw.com).

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