All For One, One For All

Netting A Printer

Just about all the network lasers now on the market are compatible with the Ethernet networking protocol. Some printers are sold as "networkable," meaning they come with a network card slot and can be attached to a network. But keep in mind you'll also have to buy a $500 networking card if you choose one of these models. "Network" printers, however, come with built-in chips and don't require cards. The lesson? Make sure when you hit the stores that you pick a "network" laser printer rather than one referred to as "networkable."

For a good example, check out the QMS Magicolor II Desklaser (see chart for complete details). It prints up to 16 ppm (4 ppm color) and outputs at a resolution of 600 x 600 dpi. The price tag ($2,080) may seem a bit steep, but if you make lots of brochures or catalogs, gaining the high-quality output of a laser printer will not only improve your business's image, but it will save you money in the long run.

How difficult is it to hook up your entire network to a printer, you might ask? Well, each individual PC doesn't connect to the actual network laser printer itself, but via a specialized cable instead. This conduit, sometimes called a "backbone," shuffles the data back and forth between workstation computers, your server and the printer. As long as your network is up and running, it's not much of a stretch from there. It's more a matter of attaching the right cables to the right connectors. Most network laser printers come with installation guides on CD-ROM disks that give you step-by-step instructions for installing the printer management software and drivers. If not, your vendor can help.

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This article was originally published in the March 2000 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: All For One, One For All.

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