Network and USB Printing: What’s the Difference?

Network printer on a table

Although not many people know it, a lot goes into choosing the right printer. You’ll have to consider the printing technology, supplier, printer size and printer functionalities. One major decision you might have to make is choosing between network and USB printing. Understanding what each type offers is critical in making the right choice. So, what’s the difference?

Network Printers

These use a wireless connection or Ethernet cable to connect to a network for printing. These printers are shareable between individual computers within the same network. That means a company with multiple computers will be sharing the same printer even from different geographical locations.

However, if different computers send printing requests to one printer at the same time, the printer will have to queue the printing request and print from the first request to the last. The delay in printing can cause long waiting times and isn’t suitable for urgent tasks. Also, if your printer isn’t in the same room as you, you’ll need to reach for the printer to get your copy.

Universal Serial Bus (USB) Printers

These utilise a universal serial bus to connect to a printer and don’t allow sharing between devices. Thus, this type of printing is suitable for use in workplaces with tight timelines and those that handle confidential reports. Also, unlike network printers, you can’t put such printers far from you to ensure they are available to you whenever you need it; they are only best as an individual computer. They, therefore, would be costly to acquire in a company with many computers.

No general rule dictates which printer is good or bad for you. The appropriate printer for your company will depend on your budget, the intended purpose, and the number of users. Network printing is favourable if multiple people will be sharing an individual printer while printing via a USB is suitable for personal use.