Going Wireless in the Office
With each passing year, the clutter of wires and complex networking continue to downsize. Wireless technology is quickly becoming the norm in the business world, as more and more companies cut the cord when it comes to their daily tech solutions.
Of course, the most common usage of wireless technology is simply accessing the Internet. Sure, there will always be a need for cable-based Ethernet services to connect computers in large corporate offices. But for many small to mid-size businesses, a simple wireless access point can serve as the foundation for the company’s digital solutions. Nowadays, it’s difficult to find any business that doesn’t utilize a wireless network for online access in some shape or form.
As wireless connectivity continues to grow, so does its usage beyond computer-to-computer or computer-to-Internet access. The types of products equipped with wireless adapters are broadening, from telephones, to tables and even televisions. But one of the most effective wireless advancements – at least for businesses – is the ability to print wirelessly.
In recent years, major printer manufacturers such as Canon and Savin have developed printing technology that allows users to wirelessly connect to a device and print products with the same speed and quality as they would through a direct, wired connection. This has made printing from laptops and even tablets or smartphones an easy and effective solution.
Finding a printer to add to your business’ wireless network is a simple task, and installing your new device can be very easy as well. As long as you have an active Wi-Fi and a security clearance to add a new device to it, adding a printer is undoubtedly an option.
Here’s a relatively standard checklist for successfully adding a wireless printer to your business:
- Find the right printer. Most printer manufacturers offer several wireless-ready products with different options of DPI (dots per inch) and PPM (pages per minute), as well as all-in-one capabilities that include scanning and copying. Consider how your business uses its printer. Do you need a copier as well? What kind of documents are you printing, and do they involve large resolutions or lots of color usage?
- Connect the printer to your wireless network. When you turn on your printer for the very first time, you have the option to scan for wireless networks. Your router – the device that forwards information across your network – assigns your printer an IP address. If your Wi-Fi access point is password protected, you will be asked to provide the password. Once it’s entered, the router will recognize the printer as a connected device on the network.
- Install drivers. More often than not, you will be required to install specific software that allows your computer to communicate with the printer. This software is called a driver, and it’s usually included with the printer upon purchase. Drivers are commonly provided on a disc, but they can also be downloaded online through the manufacturer’s support website.
- Test your connection. Once your driver is installed and your computer recognizes the new printer, print a test page that ensures a proper connection is being made and the quality of the printer is optimized. Many printers have the option to print a default test page that evaluates the device’s color quality and sharpness. Use printer’s instruction manual to print this test page.
- You’re all set! If the connection works and the printing is desirable, your business is prepared for wireless access to the printer, as long as the user’s device is connected to the same network as the printer and has the proper drivers installed to confirm the connection.
Printing over a Wi-Fi network is just one of the common methods for wireless printing. Recent advancements in cloud technology have made it possible to print over the Web through a cloud service, such as Google Cloud Print. This is a great solution for users without access to the driver software, such as visitors to your office who have brought their own laptop or other devices with them.
Additionally, you can still make a printer without wireless capabilities work over a Wi-Fi network, but it takes a few extra steps. If it has an Ethernet port, you can connect a network cable to your wireless router. If the printer has a USB connection, you can purchase additional hardware that can bridge the gap between your printer and the wireless network, such as a network-attached-storage box.
With wireless networking becoming a staple in how businesses reach their goals, including your document management solutions in this paradigm shift is becoming a very practical method that offers easy installation and very little maintenance. To learn more about Duplicating Products’ wireless office solutions, contact us today.