The differences between enterprise and consumer printers are stark. For the vast majority of small businesses – and even a good number of medium sized businesses – today’s personal multifunction printers can act as affordable, efficient devices. But when you step into the realm of enterprise printing, you’re in a whole different ball game. High-end business printers are significantly more expensive, but they offer the kind of speed and dependability that enterprises need. Here are some features to look for, and some considerations to bear in mind, when shopping for an enterprise printer.
An enterprise printer’s pages-per-minute rating tells you how many printed pages you can expect your printer to be able to produce in a single minute. It’s important to note that PPM ratings typically apply only to the speed at which a printer can print using black ink. If you’re seeking a printer for frequent reproduction of complex graphics and high color images, its page-per-minute output will be significantly lower the advertised specs.
Making the Right Connection
Buying a printer with an Ethernet port is an absolute necessity when shopping for a printer that will meet your enterprise demands. An Ethernet port is used to connect a printer to an enterprise printing server, which is the platform through which multiple print jobs from numerous computers and mobile devices are delivered. In an office environment where you can expect only a handful of employees to use a printer, this may not be a requirement. However, an Ethernet port is critical if you’re talking about dozens of workstations delivering print jobs throughout the work day.
Paper Trays Galore
The average consumer printer paper tray can hold roughly 100 sheets of paper. This may be sufficient for personal or small business needs, but in an enterprise environment it’s important to have a printer with trays capable of handling more than your average daily output. Standard enterprise printers can hold upwards of 1,000 sheets of paper at a time, or more. If your business needs require different sized sheets of paper for various documents, purchasing a printer that’s equipped with numerous paper trays is necessary.
Duplexing is the term that refers to a printer’s ability to print on both sides of a sheet of paper. This can be used to great effect to cut paper usage in half and save money on supplies. Not all printers perform duplexing in the same manner, and many require the user to manually turn a sheet over and re-feed it into the tray in order to resume printing on the other side. An enterprise printer with automatic duplexing solves the need for hands-on intervention in the goal of saving paper. Some enterprise printers accomplish this by automatically re-feeding printed sheets. Others have dual print cartridges that can print on both sides of a sheet of paper simultaneously.
Monthly Duty Cycle
A printer’s monthly duty cycle is a number that tells you how many printed sheets a printer is capable of putting out per month without overheating or experiencing mechanical failure. Yet this doesn’t mean that you should purchase a printer with a duty cycle that matches your expected output. In order to keep an enterprise printer from overworking, buyers should seek a printer with a duty cycle capacity roughly double what is needed in a given month. This keeps you from constantly running the printer’s engine in the red.
Security and Memory
Printer security is a big deal. The information that you send across wireless channels to be printed can be intercepted by hackers, which is why all wireless networks within an enterprise should be encrypted. Although you may find the vast majority of enterprise printers include security features, not all are as well-equipped to keep your business data secure. Look for printers that automatically encrypt print jobs prior to being delivered over wireless connections. Additionally, seek a printer with enough internal memory to store multiple print jobs – but with security features that enable you to easily clear out cached data that could be access by hackers.