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Old 12th July 2007   #1
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What does "network ready" (printer) mean?


I'm in the market for a new printer and I'm thinking of getting a color laser printer. Some (but not all) of these printers are advertised as "network ready." What precisely does that mean?

I have a small network of three PC's running XP Pro and XP Home. Does "network ready" mean that I can plug a new printer into the router and expect to access it from all the PC's?

A local printer would need a software driver installed on the PC. Do "network ready" printers need software drivers on all the PC's that expect to use them?

Thanks for any response.

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Old 12th July 2007   #2
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It's means it's "ready" for you to purchase the optional network card.

See this thread:
http://windowsbbs.com/showthread.php?t=65979

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Old 12th July 2007   #3
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Thanks Scott for the reference to the other thread.

I guess a printer can be attached to a network either as a "network printer" or else as a local printer that can be accessed remotely through printer sharing by other PC's in the network.

Is the only advantage of a "network printer" over a local printer that with a network printer, the local PC is not burdened by passing print jobs to the printer. Is that correct?

Does it make much difference in a small network which method is used?

Thanks again for your response.

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Old 12th July 2007   #4
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Scott is correct because some mfgs say network ready meaning they have a slot in the printer for a network adapter. Which you have to buy optionally.

To me it means "Network ready" means it already has the adapter. Just be sure what they mean.

Advantages of a network connection over a station printer. Well a station printer (attached to a computer and shared) means that that computer has to be on in order to print from another station.

The network printer is available all the time (does not need a PC to be on).

As for drivers they drive the printer and will need be installed on any computer that connects to a remote printer, connected to at station or network.

With Scotts instructions in the link he provided it should be easy for you to add the printer.

JJ

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Old 12th July 2007   #5
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Thanks Scott and jjjones for your comments. You have filled in some gaps for me in understanding what I need.

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Old 12th July 2007   #6
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Roger what printer are you looking at?

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Old 13th July 2007   #7
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Hi, Scott, I really haven't decided what I'm getting yet. Options include:

Dell 3110cn color laser $549. The ad says "built-in ethernet" so I'm guessing that this one already has the networking card included. But it also has a "multi-protocol card adaptor" for $149 extra, so I don't know what that is.

Xerox Phaser 6180N $499.99 The ad at CDW says "network ready" and "parallel, USB 2.0 and Ethernet ports" so I am guessing that this one also includes the network card.

HP Color LaserJet 3600N $599.99 at CDW. The ad also says "network ready" and "USB 2.0 and Ethernet ports".

So now that I think about it, I am guessing that all three of these include a network card without any extra expense.

I also don't know exactly what "duty cycle" really means but that's another discussion.

Thanks again for your comments.

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Old 13th July 2007   #8
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Quote:
"multi-protocol card adaptor"
That's to stick your camera card in to print directly to the printer I would assume. Why I don't know because I haven't seen any stellar prints from a laser printer.

I'm sure Duty Cycle is related to the volume of printing.

Don't think it would be very useful in a 50 person workgroup.

The Dell reviews didn't sound to good.
http://accessories.us.dell.com/sna/p...118&redirect=1

Don't know about this one but in the past Dell Printers were HP's with Dell's name on them.

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Old 13th July 2007   #9
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HI, Scott,

Thanks for the comment about "multi-protocol card." That makes sense.

I get mixed signals as I try to evaluate color laser printers. My initial motivation for considering one is to get better color printing that doesn't smear like ink jets do as well as cheaper per page cost. But I find it difficult to evaluate how much better, if any, the color printing actually is, and the per page cost isn't very obvious either once you include occasional laser drum replacement.

Do you have an opinion about where I could find the most accurate evaluation of color laser printers that would include per page cost as well as print quality?

Thanks again.

Roger

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Old 13th July 2007   #10
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Roger my only experience with Laser color has been in the 15k and up printers so I'm no help.

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Old 16th July 2007   #11
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Originally Posted by Roger at CCCC
Do you have an opinion about where I could find the most accurate evaluation of color laser printers that would include per page cost as well as print quality?
PC Magazine has reviews online; they also publish a printer-reviews issue once a year.

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Old 17th July 2007   #12
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Originally Posted by Roger at CCCC
Dell 3110cn color laser $549. The ad says "built-in ethernet" so I'm guessing that this one already has the networking card included. But it also has a "multi-protocol card adaptor" for $149 extra, so I don't know what that is.

Xerox Phaser 6180N $499.99 The ad at CDW says "network ready" and "parallel, USB 2.0 and Ethernet ports" so I am guessing that this one also includes the network card.

HP Color LaserJet 3600N $599.99 at CDW. The ad also says "network ready" and "USB 2.0 and Ethernet ports".

So now that I think about it, I am guessing that all three of these include a network card without any extra expense.
I'm not sure if you've already worked this out, but an N suffix on a printer model is fairly common practice for meaning it is network enabled. It is always the case with HP printers. Other suffix have their own means too, like D means it supports full duplex printing (it will print on both sides of the paper).

For the printers you have highlighted, Network enable is not just having a network card. It also means having a built in print server. That means computers can print to it without going via one of your servers. Not only is a server or the printer connected PC not slowed down during the printing, neither is your PC slowed so much by printing as all it has to do is pass over the document to print, rather than also having to manage the print job.

In my experience, laser printers produce better quality prints on plain paper than inkjets. On gloss paper the inkjets can be better. However, the quality of the paper does still effect laser printers so investing in good quality paper still makes a difference.

Another thing to watch out for is the print medium. Some of the colour Xerox "laser" printers actually use a wax system. This provides excellent print quality, but does have one draw back - it makes it difficult to draw on the resulting prints if you need to annotate them.

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Old 18th July 2007   #13
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Thanks to JRobert and Reggie for additional comments. I continue to investigate and ponder the possibilities.

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