Wireless Printer or not?

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Wireless Printer or not?

Postby scruffy » Thu Sep 03, 2009 10:39 pm

I'm going to purchase a replacement printer, and I'd like to print wirelessly from my laptop to the printer. The printer I like comes in both a "wired/wireless" or "wired only" version. The difference in cost is around $120 (finding best deals on each).

I currently have a desktop computer that is attached to a printer, as well as a wireless router. So my laptop can already access the internet and I want it to access the (new) printer.

Questions:

1) Is there an advantage to having a wireless printer over printing through the wireless network?
2) I can't currently print wirelessly. What do I need to do to accomplish that? Do I need to purchase a print server?
3) Does my setup already comprise a "network," or do I have to do something in Windows to make it a network (i.e., so I could transfer files between computers or print wirelessly).

I realize these are newbie questions. Feel free to refer me to a website.

Thanks.
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Postby fussnfeathers » Fri Sep 04, 2009 5:09 am

Stick with a wired printer, since you have a desktop to hook it up to. Wireless is getting better, but it's still fiddly with printing, especially on less expensive units. Split the difference and get a higher quality wired printer.

To use it over the network, all you need to do is run the Network Setup Wizard in Windows (make sure all computers/printers are powered on) on all computers connected to the network. When you do this, make sure that all computers are on the same workgroup (pick a name like "home" or some such, no more than 12 characters) and enable file and printer sharing on each computer. Ideally, that should detect all printers connected to the network. If not, you'll need to add that printer to your laptop's device manager. Do a manual hardware add ("let me choose from a list of devices") and it should show up in the list. Then, on both the desktop and laptop, you'll need to share the folders you want to transfer files to and from. Right click on the folder and click "Sharing and Security". Click through the warnings and confirmations, and you're done. The folders should show up in your Network panel.

This is all assuming you have at least XP SP3, I haven't actually used Vista much so the procedure might be slightly different. In Windows 7, you choose to share a folder either with the entire homegroup or with just specific people, Vista may be the same as that. The procedure is very close to XP though, just different wording.
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Postby scruffy » Fri Sep 04, 2009 7:53 am

Thanks for answering the key question.

And thanks for giving me the answer that saves me $120!
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Postby pbailey » Fri Sep 04, 2009 3:39 pm

You can also use the best solution and not have to worry about the main desktop PC to be on while printing.

That is get a network wired printer and print to it via the wireless network you already have in place.

This will work via your little 4 port switch that you have in place for your wireless access and from the desktop through that also.

It will come with a CD and ask you if it is directly connected or networked.
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Postby scruffy » Fri Sep 04, 2009 4:11 pm

Thanks for the tip, Paul.

The printer I am planning to purchase does indeed have networking!
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Postby Mr T » Fri Sep 04, 2009 10:49 pm

I bought a router with a built in print server.... Works flawlessly... You can buy print servers really cheaply now, but a lot of printers are now coming with a LAN port built in....
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Postby scruffy » Sun Sep 20, 2009 3:17 pm

Thanks for all the help.

Just to close the loop, I purchased a Brother MFC-8480DN. It's a 32-ppm rated networked duplexing printer, scanner, copier, and fax. I got it for around $320.

It set up pretty easily, hooking right into my wireless router. Works like a charm and seems to have very good build quality/features. I'm *quite* happy with it.

Thanks again to everyone who provided info and suggestions!
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Postby pbailey » Sun Sep 20, 2009 3:32 pm

thanks for the feedback Scruffy!


Glad that it worked out for you.
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Postby lannaheim » Fri Nov 27, 2009 6:25 pm

Just read this, and I agree and would have implemented fussnfeathers' suggestions. Wireless is a PIA and very finicky, no matter what your level of expertise. Glad you plugged the printer into the wireless router and made it a part of your network.
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Postby evasive » Sat Nov 28, 2009 12:56 am

Wireless is not a real problem per se. It is more challenging when you add more windows versions into the mix. Vista has a few tricks up its sleeve. To put it mildly...
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