How Do Wireless Printers Work?

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Wireless printers use built-in Wi-Fi transceivers to connect to a Wi-Fi network and print documents from connected devices. Wireless printers are a convenient choice for offices and individuals who want to reduce the clutter associated with using standard printers.

In order to use a Wi-Fi printer, an administrator must configure the printer to connect the local Wi-Fi network. Most modern printers support Wi-Fi connections, however, some older wireless printers may not be able to connect to the networks. In addition to being able to connect to Wi-Fi networks, a wireless printer can also use WPA encryption as a security measure against hackers. WPA encryption is a safer alternative to the standard WEP encryption found in older wireless printers.

Upon configuration, the printer shows up on any device connected to the network, whether it is a personal computer or mobile device, according to Chron. When a device initiates a print job, the wireless printer receives a command to print a document just like any standard printer. If a wireless printer has a scanning function, a user can scan documents with the printer and save the scanned image directly to the receiving device. A network repeater or additional wireless router is used to extend the range of a wireless printer.