When shopping for a printer for your home or office, there are a number of choices to think about, from speed and capacity to features and functions. One of the most important aspects of a printer is how you will connect to your computer and other devices to make printing and other functions as easy as possible. A networked office might be best served by a wired ethernet connection, while home users might prefer the ease of printing without wires, for example. Here are the most common connection options for a printer, and some of the pros and cons of each.
Parallel and Serial
Parallel and serial connections were some of the earliest technologies for connecting printers. They offer a reliable connection, but they are limited on speed, and most modern computers no longer offer these ports, making them essentially obsolete.
USB, or Universal Serial Bus, was designed as a replacement for older technologies such as parallel and serial, offering faster transfer speeds and easier setup. USB has the advantage of Plug-and-Play technology, which allows a computer to recognize the device and even search for drivers in some cases, and just about every modern computer on the market supports the protocol. USB 2.0 and the newer USB 3.0 standard offer even faster speeds, as well as backwards compatibility. The downside of a USB connection for printing is that it is limited to only one computer or device at a time. Continue reading “Printer Connection Options” »