What is the Difference Between Wireless and Wi-Fi Printers?

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What is the Difference Between Wireless and Wi-Fi Printers?

A woman using a wireless printer

In a sea of technology marketing tactics, some words stand out more than others. Two of the terms we see so often associated with printers are ‘wireless’ and ‘Wi-Fi.’ Contrary to popular belief, these two ways for your printer to receive information are not the same! Both may be able to receive data and spit out a printed copy, but both may not necessarily work for your needs. Read on to learn more about the difference between wireless and Wifi printers!

A Brief Explanation: How Did We Get Wireless Printers?

Early printers were all wired, or ‘network’ printers. This term means that every computer that transmitted data to a printer had to be physically wired to it (and many other things, but we won’t get into those for this blog). As technology overall advanced, fancy methods of communicating between devices like Bluetooth or Wi-Fi became more affordable. The more affordable wireless tech became, the more popular it was. Over time, home and office printers transitioned away from a messy network of wires and into wireless technology.

Wi-Fi vs. Wireless Printers

So, what’s the difference between a Wi-Fi printer and a wireless printer? The answer is both complicated and straightforward. ‘Wireless’ is a broad term for any information transmitted through the air instead of through a cable. Bluetooth is wireless technology, as is Wi-Fi. Yes, Wi-Fi is a type of wireless connection! However, just because they’re related doesn’t mean they’re the same. Wireless connections don’t have to be Wi-Fi (they can be Bluetooth, radio, or personal area networks). Your wireless printer may be able to connect to devices like a cell phone without being connected to a Wi-Fi network, depending on its settings. Wi-Fi printers need to be linked to whatever computer is sending the print job on the same Wi-Fi network. They’re a bit more limited than general wireless but still valuable! 

Should You Get a Wi-Fi or Wireless Printer

Take some time to talk over options with your local print supply shop Vegas Ink and Toner, before diving into a new printer purchase. Wireless printers are an excellent option for someone looking to print on-the-go, such as a college student who wants to send jobs straight from their phone. The downside is they’re a bit pricey and don’t always have the most outstanding quality output. The connection between your device and your printer may be a bit rocky with a wireless printer. On the other hand, Wi-Fi printers work close to the device sending the print job. As long as you’re on the same Wi-Fi network, you can print. The downside is Wi-Fi printers aren’t always as secure as other printer types, so if you work with sensitive information, they may not be the right fit for you.

 

For more printing-related tips, please contact Vegas Ink and Toner.

 

 

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