Making a printer connection wireless

I have a PC connected to the Internet via a "wired" cable modem.  Printer (Brother HL-1440) is connected to the PC via parallel printer cable.  I would like to get rid of the printer cable and be able to connect wirelessly.  The printer does have a USB port.  What's my best and fastest option - bluetooth or 802.11g and what  exactly to I need to get to make the conversion?  How much faster is a wired printer connection compared to wireless options?
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In general you can't just plug in a wireless device into a printer unless the printer's firmware specifically supports it. I would first check with Brother's web site to see what is supported by way of wireless.

If nothing is, then you will have to add a 3rd party print server (something like the HP JetDirect but wireless). These are typically an external box with a USB and/or parallel port to which you connect the printer, and then you talk to it wirelessly at the other end from your computer. e.g. I just did a search on Google for "wireless print server" and found:

I am sure there are many others.

If your PC already has 802.11b or 11g then that is the best option. It also has a wider range than bluetooth. Printers are generally slow devices, so network speed is unlikely to be the bottleneck.
A wireless printserver like the Linksys will do the job. Other brand names are D-Lonk and Axis. Wireless typically runs 54 Mbps, compared to 100 Mbps for wired. Encryption may also slow it down further. However, unless you have a very fast printer (and the HL-1440 is not) you will not notice any difference in speed.

I do not recommend bluetooth as it is much slower (below 1 Mbps) and intended for very short range only.

BTW, you will still not get rid of your printer cable, as you need to wire the printer to the wireless printserver. If your PCs are already networked you may want to save the cost of the printserver by keeping the printer connected via a PC.
etakumiAuthor Commented:
Buying new equipment (such as a printer or PC), is not out of the question - is there any reason to upgrade (as relevant to making as many things wireless as possible)?  I guess the most important point is to eliminate as many cables as possible - I was already coming to the conclusion that wireless was the better option over bluetooth.  I have not been able to find any laser printers that have a built-in wireless capability - just inkjets.
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wyliecoyoteukIT directorCommented:
Only things to add to the above comments:
There are various wireless solutions available.

If you wish more than 1 PC to connect, there are a range of routers available, which are also print servers.
If you are using a cable modem, the best bet is a wireless router with a builtin printserver.
Dlink do one which I can recommend, it functions as a wireless access point, parallel,serial and usb ports for printers, 4port ethernet switch, and wan port (for your cable modem).
With this connected to your cable modem, you can connect your printer to it, and PCs via either wireless or wired  ethernet.

"the most important point is to eliminate as many cables as possible"

One thought would be to replace your parallel cable with a USB cable (since the printer accepts either one). This won't reduce the number of cables, but the USB is cable is a lot smaller than the parallel cable.

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USB is also much less demanding of CPU resources than parallel. With a parallel port the CPU has to handshake each individual character to the peripheral. With modern interfaces (USB, ethernet, firewire, etc) the CPU gives the port manager a block of data to transfer. After that it can continue doing the job it's there for: numbercrunching. That's one of the reasons why PCs can't send more than about 100kB/sec over the parallel port
The following device will give you fast printing from one or several printers with similar performance to a directly attached USB Cable, but without the cables you are keen to get rid of:
Simply plug this wireless print server into the USB interface and you can access it via you wireless ethernet connection. This will be you fastest and most flexible option
wyliecoyoteukIT directorCommented:
Just a point about the parallel>usb decision.
This all depends on the devices.
Many usb devices (notably printers and modems) are windows devices. this means that the processor has to do most of the work.
wyliecoyoteukIT directorCommented:

OOPS hit enter accidentally.

This is a rehash of the GDI printer/Winmodem issue from the old days of parallel and serial ports.

Always specify a hardware modem, or a pcl/postscript/PJL printer, or expect poor performance and poor compatability.
Amen, wylie. You will always get better performance if you let the peripheral do the work, rather than letting Windows do it and save a couple of dollars.
No comment has been added to this question in more than 21 days, so it is now classified as abandoned..
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Split r-k & hdhondt & wyliecoyoteuk
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