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  • Howard,

    I am unsure if anyone replied to you.  Let me know if you still want to discuss.

    Fundamentally, I was aware of only 2 wireless printers a couple of years ago that had onboard encryption/decryption.

    So if you had a capture tool like a NetScout/VeEX/Ekahau or a jerried-up laptop, you could view the cleartext transfers between the wireless printer and the other wireless communicating device.

    Using the VeEX product, I was able to show that the wireless printer was receiving a Photoshop image from a laptop in the nurse's work area; even had the name of the file.

    ---- John

  • I don't know of any un-resolved questions I had about this thread.

    But, do you have any ?

    Just about every barcode, receipt, or Wi-Fi card printer I know of has had some kind of encryption  for the last 10- 14 years.   There is just too much competition at the Enterprise level for there not to be.   Most of them, like everything else, supported WEP encryption early on, but eventually they went to WPA-2 - which requires more CPU horsepower for the encryption, if nothing else. 

    It's amazing how very little CPU horsepower is required if all you are doing is printing.  Although many now support 802.11ac with  40 MHz wide single-stream radios, barcode and receipt printers print just as fast at the 802.11b  2 Mbps rate.   It isn't until you get into color id printers that less than 54 Mbps makes a difference.   

    Any modern printer is going to be WFA certified, or at least built with a WFA equivalent radio so they will have WPA2 - a stupid idea IMHO, but some very small manufacturers don't want to pay the for WFA membership, and each one of their current certifications requires WPA2, and MFP.  = > $

    I know most SOHO desktop printers use /b/g/ rates as the speeds possible from /n/ac are wasted on the majority of print jobs.  Because, like I said previously, a printers speed limitations are due to PHYSICAL print speed limitations, not low communications rates.

    Some of Zebras printers support over 30 combinations of wireless authentication, encryption, RADIUS, and DHCP option processing processing.    I have also worked on several other manufacturer printers, and some of these have horrible configuration controls - but in a SOHO environment the scalability is not usually required.

  • By Howard - edited: May 23, 2019

    Speaking of Horsepower....

    ALL of the current printers from Zebra technologies, for the last few years, have had 802.11ac radios in them.   However, if you check the WFA database, none of them have an /ac certification.   

    The greatest, or latest, certification is /n.    This is despite the fact that they will transmit and receive all but the two highest MCS single-stream rates.    The newest printers can even handle 80 MHz wide signals, but they are not marketed that way.

    Why is this ?   It's because passing the WFA certification tests requires faster processing speeds than it takes to print a receipt, a label, or a double sided color ID badge.

    Zebra is known for having the fastest, the best print quality, and the most reliable receipt and bar code printers.

    Obviously, which 802.11 standard they are certified for is not as important, in the marketplace, as these three factors.

  • If we were around 3-4 years back, I would write there big list of issues that you can face while using the wireless printer, but nowdays these are good enough and can represent the highest performance. The only issues that wireless printers can cause nowadays, are mostly created by the users. For example they didn't noticed that the printer was connected to one wifi signal and the PC to another one and they are always trying to restart it or to unplug or to connect again in order to make it work.

  • By Howard - edited: October 7

    Anytime a printer manufacturer switches radios, especially say between options like 802.11 /n and /ac you can expect some issues to pop up.   Marketing departments of different companies are very competitive, and usually start shipping products before the latest chip sets have all the bugs worked out.   Often salesmen convince customers to switch radios and technologies, when from a print-speed performance perspective, there is no need to change them out.   As I said previously, just about any single color printer will run just as fast at 2 Mbps as it will at ANY /ac rate.   They have mechanical speed limitations, not electronic ones.

    In my personal opinion, the only real reason to switch to an /ac radio is for rate compatibility - and all that implies.

    Some institutions will have problems with low demand (bit rate) devices like printers because they have tuned their networks for devices with higher speed requirements.   Another problem area is with networks running RRM that still have problems due to in-expertly configured systems.   For all the ballyhoo centered around RRM, they are still not set-and-forget-it networks.

    Handheld printers have their own raft of problems, usually having to do with internal antenna placement.   Internal cable routing differences, even among the same make and model , can cause tremendous variations in their usable range.   Cable routing inside small device needs to be PRECISELY controlled, otherwise units assembled by right handed workers can perform very differently from those made by left handed workers - believe it or not.

    Many 5 GHz devices only get 30% of the range that the same device can achieve in the 2.4 GHz band.   This often is dependent on the specific channels being compared.

    Often, larger manufacturers produce radios that have large numbers of  radio parameters, and unless you are a large customer buying hundreds of units, you may not get the best service from the distributor.

    Printers, usually home models, that are shipped with Wi-Fi Direct enabled as default, also cause problems in large installations.  This "feature" almost always causes capacity/throughput problems for large installations, and needs to be disabled.

    One final problem I have seen with printers, are terrible configuration GUI's that come with them.   Performing competitive product comparisons was often a real hassle, and had nothing to do with the technology involved.

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