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What's the difference between a local and network printers?

When it comes to setting up your printer to your computer, you have a variety of options. You have the choice to set it up as a local printer or network printer depending on the needs of your company. So what is the difference between local and network printers?

Local Printers

A local printer is one which is directly connected to a specific computer via USB cable. This printer is only accessible from that particular workstation and therefore, can only service one computer at a time.

Most printers these days will automatically install the printer’s software onto your computer the first time it is connected via USB. This makes it very easy to set up and start using right away out of the box.

Local printers ensure employees with immediate printing needs have reliable access to a printer. However, local printers do come with downsides, and a great deal of it has to do with costs and also usability. When you have multiple users that need their own dedicated printer, costs can skyrocket quickly.

Not only is there the cost involved with buying and maintaining multiple printers, but there is the cost of toner and paper for each printer. It can also decrease productivity in the event a user’s printer goes down, they cannot simply print to another printer on the network.

Network Printers

On the other hand, a network printer is part of a workgroup or network of computers that can all access the same printers at the same time. These printers or copiers are connected to the network’s server via ethernet cable.

Wireless printers and copiers do not have to have a physical connection with an ethernet cable to the network. They can also be connected to the network wirelessly and accessed by the workstations. Network printers offer flexibility and efficiency to all employees in the office.

Network printers can operate with multiple platforms (Windows, Mac, Linux, Phones etc.) and a variety of different printer types (desktop, multifunction, copier, etc.). This means that users throughout the office can access printers on the network regardless of the platform in use on their device. In other instances, network printers serve a better purpose because the printing needs of multiple employees can be more efficiently met with one printer.

Need Help Choosing The Right Print Solution?

If you’re looking for help designing a print solution to suit your business. A business technology assessment can be a great place to start. Your business technology assessment includes an evaluation of your current print environment that can help you identify areas for improvement and cost savings. It can also help you identify potential security risks and ways to improve your document workflows. The assessment typically includes a review of your current print infrastructure, an analysis of your print usage, and recommendations for optimising your print environment.

To take the first step in getting started, complete the form on our contact page and one of our team will be in touch.