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Love These New Wireless Printers!





You may remember that a few months ago I wrote a detailed review of an HP LP7780 Printer and all-in-one machine. We’ve been using it here at the Small Business Trends offices and really have come to rely on it.

It’s intelligent — telling you, for instance, which color ink you’re low on so that you don’t needlessly change an ink cartridge and waste money. And I’ve printed some beautiful marketing materials — with sharp vibrant colors.

But I’ve since been experimenting with another feature that I didn’t initially use — the ability to print wirelessly. And I’m really enjoying the benefits of wireless printing.

For a while we had a wireless network in our offices. But because I spend so much time online doing all sorts of activities, security of the wireless network was a big concern. Plus I need the best performance, and didn’t always get it with the wireless network. So, recently we reverted back to a wired network for improved security and better performance. However, with the wired network, there are only a few places where we can connect a computer.

I like to use my laptop in different rooms to do work such as writing articles. I sometimes like to print a hard copy as it makes it easier to proofread and revise a lengthy document. With wireless printing I am able to print from whatever room I am in — it even works from outside on the deck.

This is a handy feature if someone comes for a meeting. It is possible for them to print directly from their laptop to the printer.

There are other benefits of wireless printing, too. Here are a few other reasons for small businesses to consider using a wireless printer:

  • Efficiency: Small businesses with a wireless printer can print to one source from all the PCs on the same network, and having a wireless printer connection adds flexibility to the network since traditional wired set ups depend on having the host computer for the printer on in order to use the device. With a wireless printer you don’t have to deal with this restriction and can print from any device at any location in the office. (If you have an existing printer you can upgrade to wireless using the HP 2101nw Wireless G USB Print Server which extends a secure 802.11 g wireless connection, virtual USB and USB port — compatible with most HP ink and laser printers )
  • Less Space: Small offices or home offices with a wireless printer can save space and erase the clutter caused by cables and wires from multiple sources.
  • Improved security: It is possible to secure a wireless printer by adding it to a small VPN. The convenience of having a wireless printer comes with increased security, using 802.11i standards for wireless networking. The 802.11i standard (or WPA2), is more secure than the old WEP standard. For more information on the security of wireless networks and to find out what standards HP supports, visit HP’s wireless printing security page and also this page about practical Wi-Fi security which explains more than you probably ever wanted to know about the differences between WEP, WPA and WPA2 security standards.
  • Flexibility: Wireless printers allow easy printing from handheld devices including laptop PCs and PDAs. You may not have time to run back and forth from one room to another to print and then pick up printed materials. Or, if you’re out of the office, you could use something like the HP Officejet H470b mobile printer which allows you to print wirelessly anywhere, in the car, at a client’s office or in hotels.

Wireless printing is neat. There’s also an HP wireless printing guide. So, liberate yourself! Try out one of these wireless printers.

9 Comments ▼

Anita Campbell - CEO


Anita Campbell Anita Campbell is the Founder, CEO and Publisher of Small Business Trends and has been following trends in small businesses since 2003. She is the owner of BizSugar, a social media site for small businesses.

9 Reactions

  1. The Handy Goddess is an interesting character, huh? I like the hammock video. Really gets the point across. I have a wireless printer but Vista is causing some complications.

    I haven’t got it worked out yet, but now I’m inspired to go back and give it another try. I can’t wait to be able to use mine as a wireless!

  2. I would like to be able to have it networked so that more than one computer can print from it. Sometimes, I’m on the Mac, sometimes, PC. It would really be worth it for me if that were the case.

  3. Can’t agree with you more, Anita. I use a wireless Dell inkjet and I love it. Now I can’t wait for the Polariod Pogo to arrive in Australia and all my printing needs will be fulfilled.

  4. Did you actually read the HP page on wireless printing security that you recommended above? They actually recommend WEP security, and say nothing at all about WPA/WPA2. I can’t believe that in 2008 they’re recommending WEP — it has been hopelessly broken for a LONG time. To have a page about wireless security that doesn’t include WPA/WPA2 is also irresponsible at best, if not just plain incompetent.

  5. Anita Campbell

    Hi Angus, actually I did read it. If you knew me at all, you’d know I am pretty careful about what I link to, and take great care in writing articles to the best of my ability.

    That said, I do see your point. 🙂 Thanks for bringing it up.

    The first wireless printer article that I cited was too brief, by itself. I did not interpret it as recommending only WEP. And in fact, I thought my references to setting up a small virtual private network made it clear that you could beef up wireless security for your printer connection if security is an issue to you.

    Nonetheless, that first article did not mention the other security standards. And I don’t want to give anyone the wrong impression.

    So to add additional information, I went out and found another HP article about wireless security, which in fact discusses WEP, WPA and WPA2 standards, and added a link to that article.

    To anyone considering a wireless printer: please read BOTH articles that I cited under the 3rd bullet point, together, if security is a big concern to you. I would suggest that if you don’t know enough about wireless security to know the difference between those standards, and don’t want to learn, that you hire a networking expert to assist you. That way you can be certain your wireless is secured. It’s beyond the scope of this article to address the details of wireless security in great depth.

    Best,
    Anita

  6. I agree with the benefits of what wireless printing can bring to our business as it also means mobility. Regarding the network, we can always enable wireless capabilities in an originally wired network. What we all just need is a wireless router and wireless adapters in our PCs or notebooks.

  7. Love the mobility of wireless printers; haven’t found that I love the image reproductions as much (yet). Technology, however, moves ‘faster than the speed of light’, so I’ll go back and check it out. Thanks for the heads up.

  8. Oh how I envy you. I’d love to have a wireless printer myself. With two computers and a laptop, it would be so convenient to be able to print from any device anywhere in my home. I may have to consider a purchase soon. 🙂

  9. With a wireless printer, does it have to be connected to your wireless router, or do you just plug it into an electrical outlet? (I.e., My printer is in my home office. My wireless router is in my bedroom. I would like to print from my patio. Will this configuration work?

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