How Do Wireless Printers Work?

By Carlye Jones

Printing Options Selected and Encoded

Before printing can begin, the computer user must tell the computer exactly what to print and how to print it. The computer takes this information and converts it into a format that the printer can understand. For example, if the user wants a color document printed in black and white in "draft" mode, and has selected those options, in addition to converting the information about the document, the computer will also convert the instructions to print in black and white and "draft" mode.

Printing Information Sent Wirelessly

Once the information is encoded for the printer, the computer transmits it to the printer using the same wireless signals used for wireless Internet service. The printer must be able to accept wireless signals and the computer must be configured to send wireless information to the printer. When the printer recognizes a signal from the computer, it begins receiving the printing information.

Printing Information Decoded

Once the printer has received the information, it "reads" the instructions and begins printing the document according to those instructions. There is often a slight delay between receipt of instructions, paper preparation and the start of printing. This is because the printer is decoding the instructions given by the printer, or still receiving the remainder of the instructions.