Wireless Printers: The Basics


While the vast majority of printers need to be connected to a computer in order to function, there are both wired and wireless connection options to consider. If you are heading to college and making a list of things to buy before you start your new student life, then a printer might be on that list. Typically, printers are connected to a computer with a USB cable; however, more and more devices are now offering wireless printing through Wi-Fi, which might be worth considering.

How Wi-Fi Printers Work

If you are looking for student things to buy, then a Wi-Fi printer might be something that you have considered. Wi-Fi printers don’t directly connect to a printer in the same way that a wired printer would. Instead, they are connected to a local wireless network, becoming a network asset that is then available to any computer or other device that is also connected to the network. Wi-Fi printers also tend to have the option to be connected to a single computer via a USB cable.

What are the Benefits?

There are several advantages of being able to connect a printer to a Wi-Fi network. Firstly, you’re not limited by the length of the USB cable, and you can easily print from wherever you are without the need to go and connect your computer to the printer physically. Since the Wi-Fi printer is a network device, it’s possible for multiple computers, smartphones, and other network devices to use the printer without the need to set up printer sharing.

Wi-Fi Printer Installation

The installation process for a Wi-Fi printer is typically quite simple, with two different steps. You will first need to connect the printer to the network, which will usually involve selecting the network name on the LCD screen on the printer and entering the password if needed. Once the printer has been connected to the network, you will then need to install drivers on any computer that is going to use the printer. This may be done via a disc or through the manufacturer’s website.

Wi-Fi Printers vs Bluetooth Printers

While Wi-Fi printers and Bluetooth printers are often grouped together as they are both wireless, it’s important to bear in mind that the two are not the same. While Wi-Fi printers connect to a central wireless network, Bluetooth printers are different in that they use a Bluetooth signal to connect directly to a computer or another Bluetooth enabled device such as a smartphone or tablet. You may also be able to turn a standard printer into a Bluetooth printer with an adaptor that plugs in to allow it to be able to connect to your devices wirelessly. As a Bluetooth printer only connects to an individual device rather than the Wi-Fi network, they don’t become available as a network asset.

If you’re looking for a new printer for college, a wireless printer might be an ideal option. Wi-Fi printers are the most common option, but Bluetooth printers are also worth considering.