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Sunday, September 23, 2007

Wireless Printing Solution

Most of you who have read my previous posts know that I have been sharing and All-In-One (AIO) Canon MP780 printer that is installed on my office PC. Although this solution works fine, it does require my office PC to be on all the time for printing to be available to other systems. This has also not been very useful for anything other than printing, as scanning and faxing is a limited experience when sharing the MP780.

I solved this problem yesterday with the addition of an HP Photosmart C6180 AIO printer. With 802.11 wireless, as well as Ethernet port, this is the solution for printing without the need for other systems to be on.

I chose to use the wireless G setup, and it could not have been an easier process. The setup menu in the printer showed my available wireless network, and even gave me the ability to input the WEP key needed for security.

Print quality is excellent, print speed is just OK, and the unit is not the quietest in the world while printing or scanning. The fact that it is wireless means that it does not have to be anywhere near my desk, so the noise issue is mute.

The cost of this printer must be considered like all other ink jet printers. The real cost has less to do with the printer price, and everything to do with the ink price. The ink is moderately priced compared to most ink jets out there. It is hard to gauge, initially, until I have the chance to assess capacity. The good news is that this is a six (6) color printer with six (6) individual ink tanks. For those of you that have used HP products in the past, they have a legacy of using combined ink tanks, which leads to early replacement of all colors, even if you only ran out of one (1) color. Bundles of ink tanks and paper seemed very aggressively priced. I have not found a secondary source of ink for this printer, as I did with the Canon.

No major bugs observed so far. I have software loaded on PCs and Macs. I did notice that when inserting a memory card, or document, pop ups appear on all systems running the HP software suite, asking what to do with the source material. I am sure there are ways to control this behavior, and will do some testing over the coming days.

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