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.