Tech tips: Printers

Last updated 08:39 08/11/2012

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Printers used to be expensive. Today, in many retail stores, you can find an inkjet printer for as little as $39. However, you can be certain that the ink cartridges won't be as inexpensive.

Many entry level printers now come with built-in wireless functionality, enabling you to connect the printer to a wireless network, as opposed to just a single PC via USB.

Nicolette Hale, of Maraetai on the Pohutukawa Coast, recently purchased an HP Photosmart Premium e-All-in-One printer. However, this printer is not to be confused with the HP Photosmart Premium All-in-One, which is a completely different model. Yes, the "e" is vital. Like many devices, this printer sports connectivity options of USB, wired Ethernet and wireless. The wireless supports WPS quick setup, so if you have that feature on your router, a couple of button presses is all that's needed to connect. Nicolette is curious whether it is better to connect the printer via USB to just one computer, or use the wireless network function so additional computers can print directly to the printer.

Traditional computer networks can be a literal tangle of connections. Hence the mobility afforded to users by the advent of wireless networks and notebooks has ushered in an era of wirelessly connected printers.

When a computer is directly connected to a printer via USB, it must be running when any other device on the network wishes to print. This is because the machine connected to the printer acts as a print server to the other devices. Thus no power equals no server.

Wireless printers have a built-in printer server meaning that no other computer is required. If any device wishes to print, assuming that the printer is on, then your print transmits directly to the printer. David Hallett is the Chief Nerd of Need A Nerd in the Waikato. Need A Nerd can be reached on 0800 633 326 (NEED A NERD).

To ask a question email techtips@needanerd.co.nz and be in with a chance to win Norton 360 Version 6 by Symantec ($129 for three PCs).

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