Why All the Wireless Printers?

Tipping point for my aggravation about the rush to wireless print: a new Epson press release about special printers for “the smallest of small businesses.” You guessed it, the leading printer in the offering is wireless.

Here’s what I know: wireless connections will always be slower and less secure than wired connections. Period.

The benefits of wireless make sense for devices that move around, like cell phones, PDAs, Blackberries, and laptops. Mobile things with cables are not mobile things.

Yet printers are not mobile things. They stay put. You can’t have a mobile thing that needs a plug to the AC wall outlet. Your call phone has a battery and your laptop has a battery, as do other mobile things. Printers don’t have batteries, so they aren’t mobile. Hence they have no need for wireless connections.

Wireless routers, popular in many offices, all have wired connections. Plug your printer into a wired port and you’ll get two immediate benefits: no printing hassles when wireless screws up, and faster throughput. One might think the faster throughput by itself would be enough, since any printer that takes longer to print than it takes the user to walk to it and wait for the output is by definition too slow.

Before some smartass brings up mobile printers powered by batteries or car adapters, yes, I know all about those. Interestingly, many of those need a cable to print. So even mobile printers don’t go wireless. So why do non-mobile printers go wireless? Just another good product pushed bad by the marketing department.

One Response to Why All the Wireless Printers?

  1. Josh says:

    The one benefit to purchasing a wireless printer is that you don’t have to run a network cable to the new device. Power outlets are ubiquitous, but network drops not necessarily so.

    Purchasing a wireless printer for your business might not be the best long-term solution, especially as the business grows and the workload increases. But it is useful to be able to get up and running without having to run cable and/or install conduit.

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