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Wireless vs. Wired Printing: Which is Best?

(4-min read) Whether it's time to select a new printer for the office or you need to make updates to the network system, the question of print connectivity has likely come up. More modern printers will boast of the ease of connectivity over a wireless signal. But is it worth it? In this piece, we'll explore the differences between wireless and wired printing options and which may be best for your home or office.

Wired Printers

Wired printers require a direct physical connection to a network or printer device to print anything.

The Pros of a Wired Printer

The most significant advantage of using a wired printer will be security. Anytime files are transported wirelessly, there will always be the issue of data being intercepted by a nefarious third-party. Another advantage of a wired printer, especially for home use, will be the convenience of connection. There are no concerns about Bluetooth or wifi connections—instead, you simply plug in a USB cord to a device with the printer driver installed, and you're ready to print. Even when printing from a wireless device such as a tablet or phone, printing the document is possible by either emailing it to one's self to be accessed later or sending it to a file storage account such as Dropbox, One Drive, or Google Drive.

The Cons of a Wired Printer

The biggest headache with a solely wired printer will always be the need for a hard-wired intermediary device. Another disadvantage will be the proximity to the printer. Any device printing to a wired printer will likely have to be physically connected to the printer via a physical network. This may also require the installation of specialized printer drivers on whichever device is directly connected to printers.

Wireless Printers

A wireless-enabled printer will allow anyone with the necessary credentials to send documents wirelessly for printing—no physical connections necessary.

The Pros of a Wireless Printer

The biggest advantage of a wireless printer is convenience. Users with access to the same wifi signal can send any documents from any WiFi-enabled device to the printer. This includes mobile devices, tablets, laptops, and beyond. Printing spreadsheets from the toilet has never been easier.

The Cons of a Wireless Printer

Wireless printers' most significant advantage may also be their most considerable disadvantage—the wireless connection. Firstly, if the wireless connection is down for any reason, this puts the kibosh on any printing. Secondly, if the wireless signal is not absolutely secure, this increases the risk of document interception by a nefarious third-party or simply other users using the same network who don't need access to such sensitive documents. Thirdly, wireless connectivity can be a hassle for first-time users. Many such services require the downloading of third-party applications with specialized drivers to do so. So, which is better? Whether or not you choose to go with a wired or wireless printer for your home or office largely depends on your home or office. If the workers in your office need to print documents directly from their mobile devices quickly, and the contents of such materials don't contain sensitive material, a wireless printer may be more convenient. If your office deals in sensitive document details, such as personal documents or billing information, you may be better served by a strictly wired printing system.

The Best of Both Printer Worlds

When you're not sure whether a wireless or wired printer system is best, it's never been easier than to opt for a hybrid system. How is this possible? Well, by allowing wireless users to push print jobs through your wired system network. This is done by establishing a print management system that is accessible both through wired devices as well as wireless connections or even internet access—with the proper credentials, of course.

Get Help With Print Management

Managing your company's printer networks and devices is not a job for your IT department—they have enough on their plates. 

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