What Is a Network Printer?

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Updated November 19, 2022

If you are new to the world of reproducing documents, you may wonder what a network printer is. Now, it does have something to do with a printer driver, IP address, and ethernet cables. However, nearly all devices that have ethernet or wireless capabilities, can be considered network devices. 

Many of the best printers feature drastically different designs, and this includes the ever-popular network printer. So what exactly is a network printer, do you need one, and what benefits do they bring to modern workers? Keep reading to find out.


  • Networking printers are printers that do not require an analog connection like a USB cable to complete print jobs and engage in printer sharing.
  • Some networking printers and Wi-Fi printers create their own network, while others rely on a standalone wireless router.
  • This printer type is available in many sub-categories, such as photo and color printers, for various print options via the control panel.

What is Network Printing?

After learning how a wireless printer works, you may want to move on to network printers. This is especially true when learning how to connect a wireless printer to a network. Simply put, a network printer is a printer connected to a large network that handles printing tasks for a wide array of users. In other words, if you are wondering why your wireless printer is not printing, it might not be adequately connected to the network.

Insider Tip

Make sure to keep the printer properly cleaned and maintained to ensure a long and fruitful lifespan.

However, a network printer is also defined as any printer that prints via a wireless connection instead of an old-school analog printer cable.

What Are Network Printers Used For?

Networking printers are just printers connected to a network or those that connect wirelessly, so they are available with many designs that each specialize in different types of printing. They can handle standard office printing, photo reproductions, label printing, and just about anything else you throw at it. However, be aware that each network printer is different, so read the advertising materials before making a purchase, as the only thing they have in common is the connection method.

Benefits of a Network Printer

Network printing machines are almost a requirement nowadays, as nobody likes connecting cumbersome cables everywhere. Remember, a networking printer is simply a printer that boasts the capacity to connect to a network. Some advanced models may have the ability to create and maintain their own network, but these printers are primarily for heavy office use. With that said, here are some benefits of network printers.

  • No cables – You don’t need connection cables for this type of printer, as everything is handled wirelessly. You will, of course, need a power cable.
  • Different types – Any sub-category of printer can be a networking printer, so look for models that handle color printing, photo reproductions, label-making, and more.
  • Budget-friendly – Networking features have become standard with modern printers, so you can often find this type of printer on the cheaper side.

STAT: A network printer is any printer connected to a network, whether through Ethernet or Wi-Fi – the latter being the more contemporary option. (source)

Network Printing FAQs

What is a local printer?

A local printer is one that requires a physical connection to the computer. These types of printers do not often engage in printer sharing, as they have no networking components or wireless control panel.

Which printer suits your needs?

To find the best printer for you when looking through printer lists and printer models, prioritize the type of print jobs you will be completing and go on from there.

Why can't I connect my wireless printer or print over the network?

Try troubleshooting by plugging in via a USB cable, accessing the control panel, and looking at printer-sharing settings. There are many network printing solutions out there to provide reliable access to print jobs. When all else fails, use an Ethernet cable.
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