Efficient printing is a vital component of many Australian businesses, who can only move as quickly as their printer allows. When it comes time to invest in a new, more efficient device, the obvious features to look at are print speed, ink cost and reliability. But do you need a network printer, a local printer or a print server?
If you're not familiar with the term 'network printer', this article is for you. We'll discuss what a network printer is, and explore seven core benefits of switching to this type of device.
A network printer is any printer connected to a network, whether through Ethernet or Wi-Fi - the latter being the more contemporary option. Whereas a local printer would be cabled straight to the device that requires it, a network printer can be accessed by multiple devices simultaneously on the same network.
This is different again to a print server, where the printing device connects to a server, which staff then access to use the device.
1. Less money wasted on redundant IT equipment
When using a network printer, users can connect directly to the device via direct IP, eliminating the need for excess IT equipment. In this way, you don't need to purchase a print server device or dedicate a computer to the printer to act as a server. Both of these reduce your budget spend on new equipment, so you can invest more on the printer itself.
The added bonus to reducing IT equipment is that you also eliminate the need for extra cables - the more cables you can remove from the office, the tidier it will look and the less chance of tripping your staff have.
Cut down on the amount of computers and cables you need to operate your printer.
2. Highly scalable
So long as your users are accessing the network, they can print on a network printer. In this way, you can easily scale the amount of staff needing print access without the IT setup costs. It's as easy as discovering the device and then printing to it.
Additionally, you can add more printers. For example, for those who require different printer types in one office - say, a document printer, label printer and photo printer - staff could print to any of these devices without needing to plug in different cables (or even leave their desk!).
3. Print from anywhere
By installing a network printer with direct Wi-Fi, your staff can print from anywhere in the office. In fact, with an email-enabled device, you could be anywhere in the world! You just send the document to the printer's address and it takes care of the rest.
This video from our friends at Epson America has more:
4. Flexible device installation
Following on from point three above, a network printer with direct Wi-Fi does not need to be tethered to an Ethernet port or router. This enables IT managers to place the device at the most logical position in the office to maximise efficiency, even if that placement is nowhere near a router. It also means you can have multiple devices in close proximity without hogging Ethernet cables, should you desire to create a dedicated printing room.
5. Print from any device
Another limitation of a local printer is that if your device doesn't have a USB port, it won't connect to the printer. And if your device can't connect to the server, again - it won't connect to the printer. Therefore, a network printer frees your staff to use whatever device they need to print from, whether that's a PC, tablet or smartphone.
When paired with an app like iPrint, your team could literally travel across the globe with just a tablet, take a photo or draft a document, and print at the office back home in Australia, all without carrying their computer with them.
6. Scan and file share remotely
Let's say you need a multi-function printer that has scanning in-built. Normally you would need to travel to the device, scan your file and then upload it to your computer with a USB cable. But when you're connected to the network, you can scan the file and transfer it to your device of choice via Wi-Fi.
Remote file sharing works the same. Let's say you took an important photo on your digital camera or you have it on a USB drive. With the right network printer, you can plug either of these into the printer and send files to your phone or tablet using iPrint (or vice versa, if you want). No computer involved.
7. Connect to a range of apps
Contemporary network printers such as those from Epson are designed to work in tandem with iPrint and a variety of other common apps. These include Dropbox, Google Drive, Evernote, Microsoft SkyDrive and Box.
Network printers are advanced, intelligent and flexible machines, and could be a shrewd investment for your business.
To learn more about Epson's range of high-speed, network-enabled inkjet devices, contact us for a free demo or speak to our sales representative - Contact Us.
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