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Wireless Communications - Zebra Technologies

Last Updated: 4/1/2014

Using wireless technology for cable replacement improves ergonomics and productivity. Eliminating cables that connect printers to handheld computers helps reduce the risk of tangles and falls. Wireless also improves system reliability, eliminating the chance for cables and pin connectors to break. This is a tremendous advantage in field service and route accounting applications, where users are often miles away from headquarters and lack immediate access to replacement cables and connectors.Innovative wireless technologies exist for connecting mobile printers to a single device or to multiple devices on a network. Instead of standard serial, parallel or Ethernet communications cables, businesses can use Bluetooth for single device, one-to-one connections and/or 802.11b/g for multiple device connection.

Bluetooth Technology

Bluetooth applications require a Bluetooth radio in the printer as well as the mobile handheld terminal, smart phone or tablet. Bluetooth targets wireless, low-power consumption applications allowing computers, printers and other devices to interface with each other without routing through a centralized hub or server. Maximum range is about 30 feet, enabling mobile printer usage located away from a stationary PC. The main benefit is that once paired, only these two devices can communicate to each other at one point in time, improving security.

Wireless Networking

Mobile printers can use a wireless network connection to receive print jobs, label formats, variable data and other information from host systems or wireless handheld devices. 802.11b/g is the most widely used wireless network standard and offers excellent performance for enterprise applications. It uses the 2.4 GHz frequency band and allows up to 11 Mbps (megabits per second) data rates.

Other standards in the 802.11 wireless networking series include 802.11a and the most recent 802.11n standard, which is available on Zebra's QLn and iMZ series mobile printers. 802.11n delivers faster speeds, greater range and improved reliabilityincreasing the maximum data rate from 54 Mbit/s to 600 Mbit/s.

Most importantly, 802.11n is backward compatible with 802.11b and 802.11g, which helps protect the enterprise's existing investment in mobile devices and networks.

Zebra supports several leading security protocols, including VPN, WPA, WPA 2, LEAP, Kerberos, EAP-TLS, EAP-TTLS, PCI DSS and more, to meet user preferences for securing wireless transmissions. Through Zebra's involvement with international standards committees and strong relationships with leading wireless technology developers, Zebra will continue to offer advanced wireless security features and new 802.11 enhancements as they are introduced into the market.

Mobile Printer and Device Management

Mobile printers provide diverse output (barcode and RFID labels, tags, receipts, tickets, etc.) that require fine-tuning of special features like the printer's darkness setting and print speed that common office printers do not offer. Mainstream printer utilities and IT management systems cannot provide full control over mobile printers, especially thermal models. Thermal printers need their own management resources for optimal performance and reliability.

ZebraLink™ utilities allow IT staff to centrally deploy, manage and monitor Zebra printers from a single PC anywhere on the network. With the consolidation of operations and headcount that is prevalent in most manufacturing and IT organizations, there is a trend toward centralized management and administration of peripheral equipment, including printers. ZebraLink utilities take advantage of SNMP support native to Zebra printers to provide monitoring and management capabilities, which are extremely valuable for improving printer uptime and reliability.

ZebraNet™ Bridge Enterprise closes the gap between label printer-specific support provided by printer utilities and the centralized management, configuration, and control available in general-purpose management applications. Leveraging the power of ZebraLink, ZebraNet Bridge Enterprise allows users to manage all their networked Zebra printers around the world from a single desktop application, and push" settings, firmware and files to printers as updates are needed.

In addition, Zebra's new Link-OS™ suite of software and tools enhances the capabilities of Zebra devices to make them significantly easier to integrate, manage and maintain from any location. Available on the iMZ and QLn mobile printers today, Link-OS is an open platform that pairs smart Zebra devices with powerful software applications. For example, developers can connect Link-OS devices securely and directly to Cloud-based applicationsfor device management, printing or as part of a powerful data collection platform. In addition, users can quickly and easily manage Link-OS devices directly from the AirWatch system environment using the Windows-based Link-OS AirWatch Connector solution. This seamless integration to AirWatch eliminates the need to use multiple tools to manage multiple mobile device types. To learn more about Link-OS, visit www.zebra.com/link-os.


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This page last updated on 7/16/2019 2:46:05 AM