Problem of the Week: Wireless Printers

Wireless printers seem like a great option.  They allow users to print from multiple different devices in multiple different locations, giving an ease of use perhaps not felt with wired printers.  However, they might be negatively impacting your network performance.  

How?

Many wireless printers send out beacons just like Access Points.  These beacons are a signal that helps devices locate and connect to the printer.  The downside to these beacons is that:

  • Printers almost always exclusively send beacons on the 2.4GHz band.  This adds more traffic and interference to a band that is already saturated.  This interference gets worse with every added wireless printer.
  • Printers often use non-standard channels when beaconing rather than operating on the three non-overlapping 2.4 GHz channels (1,6, and 11).

Optimizing network performance requires complete visibility into the entire wireless ecosystem; unfortunately, the beaconing functionality is often enabled by default, meaning administrators might not even be aware it’s occurring.  Wyebot’s Wireless Intelligence Platform ™ automatically detects wireless printers and clearly displays network utilization making it easy for admin to see which printers might need the beaconing functionality disabled.  This reduces the printers’ interference and airtime utilization, freeing up airtime for other device usage.

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