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Local printer vs. network printer. Dedicated vs. shared printers. - Photoopia

Local printer vs. network printer. Dedicated vs. shared printers.

Updated: 2023-08-18

It may seem obsolete to print information on paper, especially when business is increasingly dominated by cloud computing and file sharing. However, many industries still depend on printing to communicate with clients and coworkers.

When it comes to printing, there are several options available to you. Choosing the appropriate type of equipment for your company or office is an important decision you need to make before you purchase it. 

Table of Contents

Dedicated Printers Vs. Shared Printers

You will have to decide whether shared network printers or local USB printers are better suited to your needs. 

Dedicated local printers are fine and very comfortable. However, a shared central printer can be more efficient than purchasing multiple units if your office has many workstations.

How are local printers and network printers different from each other? What information should you know before you make a decision? Here is a list of some of the options you have. 

What Is A Local Printer?

A local printer requires a direct physical connection to a specific computer via ethernet cable or USB cable or private wireless connection. 

The direct connection includes parallel, USB, LPT (36-pin parallel), PS2 (almost non-existent due to its high cost), and any other kind of connection.

By the way, if you have an older computer (pre-2000) that doesn’t have a parallel port, you can still use a local printer by using a USB port instead. Just make sure you have the proper drivers installed on your computer for it to work properly.

What Are The Benefits Of Local Printers?

Local printers ensure employees with extensive printing needs have reliable access to a printer.

Local printers are faster. Using a local printer gives your computer direct access to the physical device and therefore speeds up printing considerably. Also, because there is no network latency (latency is the delay between the time you tell your computer to do something and the time it actually does it) involved, you get instant feedback when something is printed out. You don’t get this instant feedback with remote printers.

Remote printers require an expensive network connection.

There is no space available in the office that can be rented for free. You’re charged for every square foot, and you also have to pay for the physical space needed to keep your remote printer.

Updates and maintenance of remote printers often require you to be connected to the network. As a result, if you are not at your computer, you may miss out on these updates and thus be out of date and unable to take advantage of any newly discovered features.

Local machines are more reliable. Using a local printer eliminates the possibility of a remote network connection going bad. If the network connection does go bad, your default printer will still work fine.

What Are The Downsides?

While extremely convenient, local printers do have downsides, especially when it comes to costs. 

When you have a small office with only a handful of employees, a printer that handles all their needs can be a huge boon to productivity. 

However, most of the time, printers are only used when they are needed. When they are necessary, they print. And when they are not required, they sit with all the other printers in the building and waste valuable space.

Is There a Plan B If The Dedicated Printer Goes Down?

Unfortunately, employees’ productivity will be affected if a local USB printer fails because they will not reroute another printer.

What Is A Network Printer?

A network printer is a device that allows multiple computers to share a single printer. If the computers are connected to a cable or wireless network, network printers enable the users to print from any computer on the net. If the computers are attached to a local network, the network printer is an invaluable tool for small businesses and home users who share a printer on-site.

Some printers on the market today are not very network friendly, or they have limited printing options. In a small company with limited or no IT department or budget for printing, finding a printer that works for all employees can be challenging. This challenge is made even more difficult if a company has multiple operating systems (Windows, Mac, Linux).

With printers on a network, employees can print from any computer, and their copies are not limited to a few types of paper or resolutions. In an office environment, these features can cut down on time spent printing and filing copies and may help to decrease the amount of paper used in the office.

Network printing makes printing from multiple computers cost-efficient, more productive, and more convenient than ever before.

Network printers efficiently reduce the number of obsolete equipment in your office, connecting multiple employees with one shared printer.

To make network printing easier, there is a need to share printers. So, how does one network a printer? Well, there are different methods by which one may do so. For instance, one may use a hub, a device that allows multiple computers to share the same printer. A networked printer may also be added as a new printer to a local computer or by a printer sharing tool such as Epson Connect.

Are Network Printers Too Complicated?

With sleek and attractive designs, modern operating systems, and a host of advanced features, network printers can be confusing to understand and use. But is it too hard to work with those printers? No, you do not have to be afraid. 

While USB printing is absolutely fine, network printing is easier than you think and has several added benefits.

How to connect a network printer in Windows 10

What Are The Benefits Of Using A Network Printer?

It is common for offices to install a network printer to save money on printing costs. Other expenses that may include telephone, internet, and office supplies may also be reduced.

There is, however, a downside to this type of printing system, and that is that all of the savings you want can only be obtained when you know how to handle it. What then is the most effective way for you to implement a network printer in your office?

In addition to using the correct printer cartridges to print on your office network printer, there are also other things that you need to bear in mind before you decide to set up the shared printer for all of your employees.

Several ideas are included below to help you become more economical without having to sacrifice the printing needs of employees connected to your printer. These tips may be of assistance to you in becoming more frugal.

If you want to develop a successful printing environment, you have to think about the printer’s location first. It should be convenient for all printer users to avoid any delays in printing important documents that may be required for business matters. In addition to this, if you wish to maintain your prompt printing routine, you can also accomplish this.

It would be best if you also considered the printer’s ability to connect to the internet. Decide as to whether you will connect to the printer wirelessly or through a local area network.

When working in a smaller office, it makes sense to choose the wireless option because it represents a reduced interruption since the organization may not be so large.

However, if you have a large workplace, you may want to use a local area network to avoid any signal problems.

You should also make sure that you use compatible printer supplies such as laser toner cartridges or ink cartridges for the printer. These consumables are made to function the same way as the original types but come at a lower cost. That’s the true definition of efficient printing.

Converta any USB printer to WiFi printer

These Are The biggest benefits of Network Printer

Space-saving: You can use a small number of network printers to service many computers instead of having a printer by each desk.

Easy access: Shared printers can be easily accessed by everyone on the network, which increases productivity.

Cost reduction: instead of buying a printer for every employee, a network office printer is shared among many employees.

What If The Network Goes Down?

Unfortunately, if the network goes down, then printers become inaccessible.

Wireless Printers Can Be Network Printers Too

Wireless printers are connected to your Local Area Network (LAN) wirelessly.

Most people think of a network as something that connects computers. That’s sort of true, however, a network is much more than that. A network is a group of devices that are all “talking” to each other. In other words, a network is a group of devices that are all connected together.

For example, many people connect their fax machines, computer, answering machine and cell phone to the same network. This means they can all communicate with each other even if they are not physically connected to each other. If someone leaves a message on your cell phone’s answering machine, you can access that information from anywhere you have cell phone service.

A network is only as good as its weakest link. In other words, if your cell phone is part of a local area network, it does you no good whatsoever if your local area network has a poor radio connection or is otherwise uncooperative.

On the other hand, if your printer is connected to a network, it doesn’t matter at all if your network is wired or wireless. What matters is the quality of the network connection between your computer and the network printer.

The difference between being “wired” and “wireless” is a distinction without a difference when it comes to a network printer. What this means is, your network printer is still “wired” somehow to your local area network, but now, the path from the server (the hub) of your local area network to your network print technology is wireless (wifi, bluetooth).

Can a printer be both local and networked?

Yes, it can. However, for networked printing to work, all the computers on your network must have appropriate printer drivers installed. If they don’t, nothing will get printed. And, even if they do, there is still a possibility that the driver on one or more of your computers may not be compatible with the other computers on your network. 

That’s why it is so important to test all your computer/printer combinations before your network goes live.

There are many different kinds of networks

Some are “closed” which means only certain computers can “talk” to each other. Others are “open” so anyone with the proper hardware and software can connect to them.

And some networks are “local area networks” (LAN) and some are “wide area networks” (WAN). Make sure you understand the difference.

You should test all your computer/printer combinations on a LAN and then, only test those same computer/printer model combinations on a WAN if all the tests are successful. It is much better to be too safe than to leave your network open to the hackers attack.

Networked printers vs network ready printers

What is a network ready printer?

A network ready printer is one that has a network interface built into it. This means you plug it into your network and it “listens” for an instruction to tell it what to do. Usually, this instruction will be to tell the printer to print something. If everything is set up properly, the first thing that will happen is the network ready printer will say it received the printing instruction and proceed to tell each of its internal components to do their job.

What is the difference between network-ready and networked printer, if any?

A networked printer is one that has been set up for shared use on a local area network (LAN). All you have to do is plug it into your network with all the necessary cables and then you can use any PC on your network to print something out to the printer. You don’t have to set anything up or even know how to set anything up. The printer will “talk” to the network and tell it what to do. And, after the printer does its part, the rest of the process is the same as a network ready printer.

From an office perspective, network-ready and networked printers are two different ways of saying the same thing using different words. They both describe a situation where you can connect a PC to a network and then use that computer to print something out to a shared printer without having to set anything up first.

Bluetooth Printers

What is a bluetooth printer? Do BT printers exist?

Bluetooth is a short range radio frequency technology that allows you to connect and communicate with various devices such as cell phones, computers, PDAs, pagers, etc.

And printers too.

Using Bluetooth, you can transfer files, send e-mail messages, and even use a wireless keyboard and mouse to operate your computer without being physically connected to it. However, Bluetooth does have its limitations.

For example, it has a maximum transmission distance of about 10 meters (33 feet) and it can only handle a maximum data rate of 721 Kbps (BT 1.2) and up to 2.1 Mbps (BT 2.0).

And, unfortunately, only several printer models support Bluetooth. Most printers are not compatible.

What is the print server and what is the difference between a print server and a printer?

What is a Print Server?

A print server is a device that has two or more network ports (usually Ethernet) and it provides file sharing and printing services for several computers on a network.

The print server is usually located in a fixed location. The print server may be a stand alone piece of equipment or it may be incorporated into another device such as a hub, router or switch. The print server may also be software that runs on one of your personal computers. If you have a small network of only a few computers, you may not need a dedicated print server. However, if you have a larger network, a print server will probably make your life much easier.

What is the difference between a print server and a standalone printer?

A printer is simply a device that prints out documents. A network printer is a printer that is connected to a network and it is shared by all the users on that network. All you have to do is make sure you have an appropriate driver installed on each of your computers (assuming you’re using Windows) and then you can use any one of your computers to print something out to the network printer. A local printer, on the other hand, has a direct access to your computer. 

A print server works like a “middle man” for your network. When one of your computers needs to print something, it sends the print job to the print server which then distributes the print job to all the networked printers. This way, there is no need for any individual computer to talk directly to the printer. It also makes it possible for more than one user to use the same printer at the same time.

To connect your PC to a print server or printer, you will need to know the IP address of the print server or printer. You can find this out by looking at the documentation that came with your print server or printer. If you don’t know what the IP address of your print server or printer is, ask your network administrator. He’ll be able to tell you.

What is a “default” printer?

A default printer is the printer that is pre-selected when you go to print something on the computer. It’s usually the first one listed in the Print Window. If there are several identical printers connected to your network, the one with the lowest serial number will be chosen as the default printer. Printers with the same serial numbers will be chosen based on other factors such as installed memory, type of memory (EPROM, ROM, RAM), interface, make and model, etc.

Setting a default printer is a good idea. It will make it much easier the entire office to use your network printers. They won’t have to worry about setting the correct driver or even knowing if there is a driver available for their printer.

The Reality of office printing

It is possible to combine digital as well as the printed documents.

And it is also quite common for small- and medium-sized offices to combine paper-based processes with digital tools such as cloud storage systems and web apps. Many large companies manage their documents by using managed printing services provided by major brands.

I am not sure if it is sad or funny, but the most common way how offices still do it is: you print a document, sign on it and then scan it using the printer’s scan function. Then you email it to someone.

If you are working in an office space, having an office network printing device can be very useful sometimes. Yet, it would help if you also tried other ways to get great quality prints while you still save money, like using third-party printer supplies or even specialized printing services.