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Mobile print vs cloud print - what is the difference?

Mobile print and cloud print are simply two ways to print documents remotely via a network. But they both work in slightly different ways. If you’re setting up your office print environment, it’s worth pausing for a second to think about the pros and cons of each approach, and which one fits your team best. Got a lot of BYOD tablets and cell phones? Mobile print could be handy. Half your team working remotely? You’re probably going to need a cloud-based printing solution.

Okay, let’s dive into the cable-less world of cloud print and mobile print.

What is Mobile Print?

Mobile print is a way of printing documents directly from mobile devices like laptops, smartphones, and tablets, without the need for a wired connection to the printer. It’s handy for busy offices with lots of different devices, where people need to print quickly on the same machines. Mobile print usually works through WIFI, Bluetooth or NFC (Near Field Communication), along with mobile printing apps like PaperCut’s Mobility Print .

What is Cloud Print?

Cloud print works in a similar way to mobile print, but with an added layer of flexibility. Cloud print lets users send print jobs to the server via the internet, even when they’re not connected to the local area network. If the printer and the user are connected to the internet, you can print from anywhere in the world. Handy, right? Cloud print is device independent, so you can print from anything, and doesn’t require any physical connection to the printer.

Mobile Print vs Cloud Print: The Pros and Cons

As with any tech, there are pros and cons to each approach. Cloud print often gives organisations a bit more flexibility, but some companies prefer the locally hosted, BYOD-friendly mobile print solution. This pros and cons list isn’t exhaustive, it’s more of a general guide to get you started. As always, if you want to learn more about cloud print and mobile print options, it’s best to give our friendly team a call .

Cloud print pros and cons

PRO: Remote Access  – With cloud print, users can print documents from anywhere, as long as they have an internet connection.

PRO: Device Agnostic  – Print via your tablet, computer or cell phone, it doesn’t matter. Cloud print is compatible with almost everything.  

PRO: Private or Public  – Host your own private server or streamline things on a public cloud. Cloud print gives you that added layer of flexibility.

CON: Internet required  – Mobile print just needs proximity, but cloud print requires a stable internet connection. Not usually a problem, but it’s worth bearing in mind.

CON: Privacy and Security – Cloud print is very safe, but some industries may require additional security measures, especially if using a public cloud.  

CON: Speed – Some cloud print services may take longer than local printing. That print job has to bounce around a lot of servers!

Mobile print pros and cons

PRO: Convenience – Print from your phone, iPhone, Android, tablet, what-have-you. Mobile print is great for multi-device workplaces.

PRO: App integration – Most mobile print services, like PaperCut’s Mobility Print , seamlessly integrate with many of your favourite apps.

PRO: Security – With Mobility Print, all print jobs are sent via a secure peer-to-peer connection between the client and the server.

CON: Compatibility – Most modern MFDs will support mobile print, but some legacy models may not. Worth keeping in mind, before you pull the trigger.

CON: File format limits – Some mobile print solutions won’t let you print certain file types, like CAD files, archive files, or file with macros or scripts. 

CON: App dependent – Not really a con, if you get the right app, but mobile print services often require users to download and configure a mobile printing app.

How to Choose the Best Remote Printing Solution

There are a few factors you need to weigh up. We’ve already written a handy guide to the differences between Mobility Print and cloud printing, so it might be worth starting there, but here’s a quick way to decide which approach is right for you.

Remote workers? – If you have a lot of staff off-site, needing to print documents to a central office printer, a cloud-based printing solution is probably your best bet. PaperCut Hive or Pocket are probably what you’re looking for.

BYOD devices? – Need seamless office printing from dozens of different devices? Mobile print is a great printing solution. It’ll give you the flexibility to print from any device, as long as that device can connect to the local area network. If you can’t connect to the LAN, cloud printing would be a great alternative for those BYO devices. They’re both great solutions in this situation!

Security issues? – Mobile print security usually comes down to the security of your local area network and your WIFI router. In some ways it’s easier to control. Cloud print usually features SSL or TLS data encryption, and there are tons of authentication mechanisms you can set up. To be honest, if you’re using a reputable mobile print OR cloud solution, you’re going to be secure.  

Got servers? – Mobility print does require a dedicated server, installed, connected, and always running, to print on your network. Cloud printing can often be done directly, to cloud-print-enabled machines, without the need for a server.

Still stuck? Don’t worry. It’s complicated, we know. The best way to decide which is right for you – cloud print or mobility print – is to give our sales team a call . They can analyse your existing print environment, then recommend a printing solution that fits your team. Ultimately, there’s no ‘best’ way to print remotely, because that depends on zillions of factors. There’s only what’s best for you.


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