Thursday, January 12, 2017

Why Wireless & Network Printers Should be Installed as Local Printers

Years ago setting up a network printer, a printer that is attached to the local network and can be accessed and printed to from any device also connected to the network without needing an attached cable from each device, was more complicated to set up and also cost much more. Now, most printers come network capable while the ability to print wirelessly is becoming the standard. The benefits of course are being able to easily print from multiple devices in the same location which reduces the number of necessary devices as well as their peripherals including cabling and cartridges.

When adding any type of new printer there are two main options to choose from: a local printer and a network printer. Both wireless and network printers should be installed as local printers for a few reasons. This type of installation allows direct printing to the printer, rather than using another device as a relay, and as a result printing is not reliant upon other devices on the network being on to print.

Why Wireless & Network Printers Should be Installed as Local Printers

Networked printers are printers attached to a network of any size allowing multiple devices connected to the same network to print to this singular print device. 

What's the Difference?
The difference between these can be confusing because the terminology has not changed in years. The original difference was a local printer was one connected directly to a computer using a printer cable, parallel or later USB. A network printer was one that was either shared by the computer it was connected to, in which case that computer always had to be on to be able to print, or that was connected to the network directly and was printed to using a TCP/IP port. 

As a result, what is a local printer for one device can also be a "network printer" to another device if it is shared, rather than being connected directly. Now that most printers come with wireless capability, most people use network printers on a daily basis as they save resources while also reducing the amount of equipment that must be maintained and serviced.

Installing wireless and network printers as local printers is the better option for the following reasons:
  • Installing as a local printer means the computing device sends all print jobs directly to the printer using the network without involving other devices.
  • Installing a network printer requires the printer to be powered on and connected to the network. Otherwise when the network is browsed for devices, the device will not be able to be found or installed.
  • In contrast, a local printer can be installed using the TCP/IP address and selecting the manufacturer and model even if the device is turned off.
  • Locally installed printers are less likely to be affected by password changes, or whether or not users are logged into the domain or a workgroup. 

When installing a network printer on a Windows device, the process can be confusing because a network printer is best installed using the "install as a local printer option". To install a network printer locally, follow the steps below:
  • Open the Control Panel.
  • Select "Devices and Printers".
  • Select "Add a printer".
  • Select "Add a local printer".

  • In the choose a printer port screen, select "Create a new port" and select "Standard TCP/IP Port" from the drop down menu.

    • Enter the TCP/IP address to create the port.
  • Finish the install.
Wireless and network printers have become increasingly common for many reasons. Multiple devices connecting to a single printer is beneficial to both users and those purchasing the equipment. Networked printers reduce costs by removing the need for each computer or person to have their own printer, they reduce the amount of ink cartridges and toners in use and in inventory, and they reduce the cost of hardware servicing and maintenance. Networked printers also save space, reduce power consumption and can greatly reduce inventory tracking in larger companies. 

Whatever the reason for using a networked printer, (perhaps it is simply to connect you and your children's devices), a network printer can meet the needs of everyone and is often a much more efficient and effective solution than a one-to-one environment in which every device has its own printer. When setting up a network printer, be sure to select the local printer install as it is more direct and limits overhead.

As always, when it comes to tech sometimes what may appear straightforward is not exactly what it seems. Understanding the nuances is key!

Enjoy this post? Subscribe to our Blog

No comments:

Post a Comment