Nearly all technology these days revolves around wireless connectivity and this includes devices that connect to your computer such as external storage or printers. Many new printers such as the HP OfficeJet 4500 come with wireless printing as standard. Most wireless printers have two ‘modes’ of wireless communication. Some will become a network attached device through a wireless router and some can connect ‘ad hoc’ to individual wireless enabled devices such as a laptop or iPad. However, should you have to upgrade your current printer just for the sake of going wireless?
HP Office Jet 4500
Fortunately, there are various solutions for those who wish to keep their current hardware.
Airport Extreme and Airport Express are two devices manufactured by Apple which allow you to not only connect to your printer wirelessly through USB, has the capability to stream your music wirelessly from iTunes to a auxiliary out port on the airport device as well as acting as a wireless access point for an internet connection. If you go for the fully fledged Airport Extreme, you can also plug in additional hardware, allowing access to external storage as well as printers depending on your hardware configuration. The device below is the Express version which retails for around 70 pounds.
The device below is Apple’s Airport Extreme which can handle a multitude of different devices which the express version cannot do simultaneously and retails typically around 120 pounds.
Another option is to opt for a wireless network USB hub. Belkin offer a very competitive product called ‘Network USB Hub F5L009uk’ which handles USB printers effectively. This can connect pretty much any type of USB device and give it a wireless interface and supports up to 15 devices (5x 3 slot USB hubs). However, this device lacks pure audio streaming that the Apple products offer – this is reflected in the price. The typically RRP for this device is around 25 pounds.
Another solution is cloud printing. Google’s Cloud Print securely links up your printers to the web. This means that you can make any of your printers available to you and anyone else you choose. What gives Google’s system the edge is that it is compatible across a wide range of devices (some of which include; iOS based devices, android devices, tablet PC’s, desktops, netbooks plus many more web enabled devices).