Wireless printers are a recent but highly effective innovation to the business printing market. With office WiFi already a firm fact of life, these printers are able to connect to the network using an installed WiFi transceiver. Once connected, wireless printers are compatible with all devices, and can be sent print jobs from anywhere within the network range.
So, is wireless printing the best way forward for small businesses? Let's have a look at the pros and cons of incorporating a WiFi-enabled printing device in your small business.
The pros of wireless printing for small businesses
Wireless printing offers small businesses multiple benefits which make the work environment more functional and easier to navigate. The key pros of wireless printing are:
1. Increased flexibility
It's no secret that small businesses encompass a level of agility and dynamism which - in everyday life - requires seamless processes and eliminating delays. Nowhere is this principle most relevant than in your office technology - and nothing slows productivity quite like a printer issue.
Having easily integrated WiFi access to a trustworthy communal printer means that employees can print quickly, whenever they need to. This is beneficial to everyone's productivity because it replaces the cumbersome task of navigating wire connections and who has printer access.
2. Reduce spending
In today's digital world it's unlikely that all of your employees are going to require their own dedicated printer, but instead will need occasional printing use. A WiFi-enabled printer allows just this. All employees can have quick, seamless access to printed documents at the click of a button. As a business, this eliminates the need for you to purchase multiple desktop printers which will, in turn, require electricity and maintenance.
Buying, maintaining and powering a single WiFi-enabled printer is a big money saver for your office.
3. Fewer cords
It may sound like a minor concern, but having an office overflowing with wires is beyond annoying, it's a health hazard. Tangled wires are a constant challenge for employees and can limit good workflow practises such as hot-desking or use of spaces. By removing multiple plug-in printers from the office, you also remove a great number of wires.
4. Integrate with modern technology
As the world of work becomes more mobile, so do the devices that employees want to print with. Using a wireless printer, employees can simply connect via the WiFi on their mobile or tablet and print the notes or documents they have just been reading in a meeting or at a client site. No more will these documents have to be awkwardly transferred to the plugged-in computer.
Even more excitingly for small businesses that rely on travelling to meet clients, our Epson WiFi- enabled printers also support Apple AirPrintTM, Google Cloud PrintTM and Epson iPrint. This means that you can print on the go, leaving employees to concentrate on fitting in more clients and business functionality while the printing happens in the background.
The cons of wireless printing for small businesses
As with all things there are also some challenges that come along with the benefits. The most important are:
1. Speed issues
Wireless printers rely on information being sent to them over a wireless network, and understandably they can't begin printing until all of this has been received. The speed at which you can print is therefore affected by the speed of your WiFi connection. Unlike a connected wire which will transmit the information almost instantly, your WiFi network may be influenced by outside interference such as walls or other devices trying to connect.
This issue can usually be improved with a strong wireless internet connection, but this may not be possible all the time.
2. Security issues
Along with bandwidth, and the information being transferred within it, are more vulnerable to attack in a wireless network versus a wired one. Having an open signal that unlimited devices can connect to also makes it difficult to monitor what's on your network, and infected devices can gain access.
How to counter the issues:
These risks are prevalent but can be combated by understanding exactly what your security weaknesses are and taking active measures. These include:
- Training your staff to take proper precautions
- Encrypting your printer job information
- Keeping printer software updated
Also, proximity of printers within various workplace areas can play an important part in security. The benefits of a distributed printer fleet include easy access, confidentiality and control, which all contribute to enhanced workflow.
The Epson printers for business are particularly useful where confidentiality and fast, direct access to prints is crucial. This includes senior management, legal and HR environments, and customer-facing staff like retail staff.