Tips on buying a bluetooth printer

Article last updated March 8, 2023

Bluetooth mobile wireless technology has emerged as one of the world's leading wireless communication technologies. Bluetooth is a short-range wireless technology that facilitates communication between internet-connected devices such as mobile phones, tablets, computers, and printers.

Bluetooth technology enables phones, computers, PDAs, and other electronic devices to communicate with other Bluetooth-enabled devices in close proximity. Bluetooth wireless technology networking has a limited range of approximately 30 feet.

Bluetooth uses radio waves in the unlicensed frequency range of 2.4 Gigahertz. The Bluetooth wireless system was created with the goal of providing a secure and low-cost way to connect to and exchange information with other Bluetooth devices without the use of wires.

One of the most appealing aspects of Bluetooth wireless technology is that all Bluetooth-enabled devices follow the same protocol. This means that all data and voice signal transmission between two Bluetooth devices, even if manufactured by different manufacturers, is straightforward and simple to implement.

Other benefits of Bluetooth include fast data transfers, communication with other Bluetooth devices that are not in direct line of sight (as required by the infrared protocol), low-cost circuitry and components, and the ability to transmit both data and voice simultaneously.

Bluetooth printers

printer with wireless connectivity

While some newer printer models include Bluetooth capabilities, almost any printer (including older nine-pin printers) can be converted to a wireless printer by using a Bluetooth Printer Adapter. This makes printer sharing extremely convenient by eliminating the need for any special network configuration or wires.

Desktop or laptop computers that lack an adapter can be made wireless by installing a USB Bluetooth Adapter. This device is typically plugged into a computer's USB port and allows full synchronization between the computer and the printer, tablet, or mobile phone.

How to use bluetooth printers

There are some things to think about if you want to use a Bluetooth-enabled printer:

Limited range

Bluetooth enabled printers have a printing range of approximately 30 feet (depending on the hardware configuration). More power is required for a longer distance, which could quickly deplete the battery in a mobile device.

Using a mobile device to print

If you need to print a photo or document from your cell phone or PDA to a Bluetooth enabled printer, you must first search for it on your mobile phone. It should be in the BT (Bluetooth) Discovery option, which displays all available Bluetooth devices. Then select the printer and press the "Print" button.

However, keep in mind that during the Discovery stage, your phone or handheld device becomes accessible to anyone and everyone in your vicinity, which can lead to security issues (see Tip #4 below).

Pictbridge USB-enabled printers

Some printers include a Pictbridge USB port that works with any Bluetooth adapter. Pictbridge is a hardware interface technology that allows your printer to access and print images and files from your mobile phone or personal digital assistant (PDA).

Pictbridge printing requires the following steps:

1. Join the USB device

2. Wait until both devices recognize one another.

3. Choose the images or files you want to print from the drop-down menu that appears.

4. The menu also includes options for changing the image's size, layout, and resolution.

5. Choose 'Print.'

Bluetooth safety

Avoid putting your Bluetooth-enabled device in 'discoverable mode,' which exposes your IP address to any other Bluetooth device in range. Hackers frequently target mobile phones, PDAs, and computers; if you connect to their device even once, chances are the hacker will keep connecting to your device and use it for malicious purposes such as sending a virus, crashing your operating system, gathering personal information, or deleting important files.

Bluetooth security is fundamentally based on devices establishing a secure connection via a pairing process. The three basic elements listed below are best practices for protecting your Bluetooth wireless technology from attack:

1. When pairing devices for the first time, do so in private, such as at home or the office, and avoid doing so in public places.

2. As a minimum, use an eight-character alphanumeric PIN (personal identification number). The greater the number of characters in the code, the more difficult it is to crack;

3. If you unpair your devices in public, wait until you are in a private, secure location before re-pairing them.

Turn on encryption

Enabling encryption for any Bluetooth transfer is another security precaution that you should always take. To enable encryption in any Bluetooth-enabled device, use the Bluetooth Connection Wizard (usually present on Windows XP operating systems).

Maintain firmware updates

Make sure your phone's firmware is always up to date. This is necessary to ensure optimal speed and agility in your mobile phone while printing via wireless printers.

Summing it up

A Bluetooth printer is an excellent choice for mobile users who prefer to use wireless technology rather than computer wires and cables. Wireless Bluetooth provides a number of convenient benefits in addition to improving safety by eliminating the clutter of wires and associated connections.

Bluetooth is ideal for simple, wireless file sharing, image transfer, printing, data exchange, and synchronization as long as you are within 30 feet.