Network Printers: A Guide to Finding the Best Solution
Choosing a Network Printer for Your Business
When businesses review commercial printers or photocopiers for their offices they typically assess several crucial factors; the total acquisition cost (the purchasing and installation cost), the operating costs, and the servicing costs. However, if they want to get the most out of their investment then it is vital that they assess the technical aspects of the printer and how it can support their business.
Network printers can aid large and small organisations as they enable employees to connect to a shared printer from anywhere in an office building. This ultimately means being able to position a printer in a part of the office where it won't disturb the personnel (this is particularly important for larger machines, such as A3 printers) and be close to the storage of paper and ink reserves.
There are essentially three situations where a business will need a network printer:
- Large entities that need to print large volumes of simple documents, such as contracts, deeds, or reports will benefit from a network laser printer or a full colour laser printer. Laser printers typically have a high initial price but a low operational cost as the toner that is used in laser printers have a much higher yield than their alternatives.
- Organisations that have various simple document processing needs should invest in a multifunctional colour laser printer that can handle large data loads. These units will additionally have the capacity to scan, copy and fax documents while simultaneously printing.
- Large entities that need to print a combination of document types should invest in both multifunction laser printers and specialised inkjet printers. This will provide them with the opportunity to print both high volumes of basic documents while being able to print high quality promotional materials. Web designers and photographers should invest in a colour inkjet printer to print photos and other high quality images.
What Is a Network Printer?
A network printer is a printing device that connects to a computing device via a local area network. Network printers are essentially the original internet of things (IoT) devices. Some network printers have wireless functionality where devices can connect either directly or indirectly via a wireless hub.
Some corporate networks use a server on a network to handle and queue printing jobs. These servers act as a print spooler (simultaneous peripheral output on-line) and they make printing from multiple devices more efficient.
Network printers connect directly to these servers by a USB connection, while others connect through an ethernet cable. Once connected to the print server, a printer can then be discovered and reached through the use of an internet protocol (IP) address, through native operating system (OS) software, or by using branded software.
Some network printers have a printer and scanner in one unit and this enables users across the network to print and scan remotely. These multifunctional printers tend to also be able to connect wirelessly with all modern devices in a variety of ways.
Setting up a Printer on a Network
Adding a printer to a network can be a challenging task and it is best to have a network administrator install your computer network and any printer devices. It could be worthwhile investing in a network ready printer as this will include an installed network adapter, something that may otherwise be an optional add-on. Network administrators should share a printer on a network so that they are easy to find for all employees and can be connected to wirelessly as well as locally.
The Best Network Printing Solution for Your Business
Choosing a network printer for your company can be unnecessarily difficult. Finding the right printer can take precious time from your daily tasks and choosing the wrong printer could mean paying a high opportunity cost. With that said, almost all business printers have network functionality, either in the form of basic networking or in the form of a wireless adapter that can connect with a local wireless hub.
Determining which network printer is most suitable for your business requires looking at how your personnel need to connect to your printers and how your business needs to print. The choice often comes down to multifunctional versus specialised printers and inkjet versus laser printers.
Network printing may be ideal for most companies but there are alternative printing methods that are just as valuable for some users. Being able to print using a Bluetooth connection, a memory card, or a USB storage device can be important for users that work with devices such as cameras and old mobile devices.
Securing your data is important, particularly if your intangible assets are highly sensitive. The best network printing solution for businesses that value confidentiality and digital security will be one that offers data encryption and two-factor verification.
Networks, especially wireless ones can be penetrated at a variety of points; securing data that is sent through a network begins with end-to-end encryption. This is something that the majority of modern network printers easily manage. However, protecting documents does not end with digital communication; protecting against unauthorised physical access to a printer is also crucial. This can be achieved by using two-factor authentication where a print job only commences when the author of a print job connects an authorisation device to the printer.
In addition to considering the technical aspects of your choice in network printer, it is also worth contemplating which installation and servicing solution you will require. Printer suppliers will often be able to offer supplementary service agreements where they will support businesses with the setup process and maintenance of their printers. Additionally, most suppliers will also be able to include a supply agreement where they will be able to routinely provide replacement paper and ink for their printers.
Submit a quote request form today and we will support you in your decision making process. You can request up to four quotes, for free and you will be connected with professional suppliers of network printers.