Most wired printers use USB for direct connection, allowing the printer and computer to communicate at high speeds for data transfer. These types of printers are usually easy to install, and in many cases your PC’s operating system may be able to automatically detect and install drivers to help you get started. You can share a wired printer over a network, giving other users the ability to send print jobs to the device. If the PC connected to the printer shuts down, however, other users will lose their connection.
To grant multiple users access to a printer quickly, you will need one that connects directly to your network. A wired network printer uses an Ethernet cable instead of a USB connection, and it connects directly to a router instead of an individual computer. These printers take more time to set up, however, since you will have to enter your network details into the device to grant it access to the system. In addition, connecting a network printer will require you to install software on each computer before it can print to the new device.
A wireless printer is similar to a network printer, but instead of using a cable to connect, the printer connects via Wi-Fi. In addition to the normal network setup, you will have to enter your Wi-Fi password to allow the device to see and connect to the network. You also need to make sure that the network type and printer’s capabilities match, because trying to connect an 802.11b device to a faster 802.11g network can slow down data transfer. As with the network printer, a wireless printer will require you to install driver software on any computer you wish to have access to the printer.
Which to Choose
Wired printers are usually the cheapest option and the easiest to set up for people who do not have significant computer experience. Network printers are a much better choice for large organizations, where many users will need to share the same device. Wireless printers give you the benefits of a wired network printer along with the ability to place the device anywhere it can detect a solid Wi-Fi signal, giving you the most flexibility when it comes to setting up your office devices.
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