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DIGITAL PROJECTOR NETWORKS

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A useful tool for large businesses and schools is digital projector networking.  Because the digital projector is connected to a network, it gains the ability to utilise videos, files, presentation, and other files that are present on other computers attached in the network.

This ProjectorSourceCanada.ca article should help you understand network projectors, how they work and their capabilities. We will explain the difference between a regular projector and a networked projector, and the various benefits (both to managers and to users) that networked projectors allow. 

We will also discuss various types of network connectivity available for networked projectors so you can make the decision on what type of networked projector connection is right for you.

Projector networking


Prior to the advent of computer networks it was necessary to physically connect peripherals to a computer in order to use them. In order to view your presentation you needed to access your file(s) stored on a computer.  To do this you needed to connect that computer to the projector you wanted to use with a cable.

In some instances the computer was located far away from the projection device.  Today a device like a printer can be added to a network, thus allowing all computers or peripherals connected to the network to use and control the printer remotely. This ability to share resources across multiple computers can save users time and money.

A networked enabled projector works in a similar manner in that it enables the networked projector to share files and allows it to be used in conjunction with other computers in the network.

The difference between network projectors and regular projectors


Initially, a projector with networking capabilities may seem to appear, function, and project like other projector. The considerable difference offered by network projector is the ability to allow multiple computers to access it, due to the projector''s capability to form part of a local area network or LAN.

By using an inbuilt network interface card, a network projector can assign its own unique Internet Protocol or IP address allowing for any user to communicate with the device and remotely control the projector functions.

Benefits of network projectors for users


There are several benefits a network projector can offer users to enhance convenience and productivity for presentations.  These include:

  • Back-up options
    If the projector''s remote control is misplaced or lost completely, in some cases the projector would be rendered helpless. With a network projector, a computer on the network can remotely control the projector and run the presentation in exactly the same manner as with a remote.
  • Faster tech support
    As a network projector can be accessed remotely, technicians can troubleshoot the projector from their desks  or other location. This enables IT staff to address issues with the projector without having to physically be at the network projector.  This decreases the time taken to fix problems. This is especially helpful if the IT department is located in another building, or worse still, in another campus!
  • Network capabilities
    When connected to a network, the projector can make use of network functions including browse the Internet.
  • On-board storage
    Networked projectors have the ability to upload files, such as PowerPoint presentations or spreadsheets from a computer on the network then download them directly to an internal storage device in the projector and vice versa. This is extremely convenient as the presenter needs not worry about carrying around data contained in soft media such as CDs or discs, or connecting a computer directly to the projector to access files since everything can be accessed directly via the network.
  • Password locks
    By being able to securely store files, users do not need to worry about presentations being accidently deleted or tampered with.


Benefits for managers


Network-enabled projector allow IT departments to  perform maintenance tasks on the projector without having to leave their office. Money can be saved and the productivity can be greatly enhanced thanks to the following:

  • Maintenance warnings
    Should a network projector require its filters to be cleaned or its lamp to be replaced, the projector can be set to automatically send these requests via e-mail to the IT department.
  • Maintenance monitoring
    Projector lamp life can be remotely monitored by technicians on the network to make sure that when a lamp is nearing the end of its life, before the lamp warning light has even turned on, the technician knows to have a spare projector lamp ready.
  • Automatic shutdowns
    To save money, network enabled projectors can automatically turn off at a set time. This means that electricity is not wasted by keeping all the projectors on the network powered up over weekends or holidays.
  • Connection alerts
    If a projector disconnects from the network then an alert can be forwarded to the IT department who can then proceed to reconnect the projector.
  • Projector control
    IT technicians have the ability to access either a group of projectors or just one remotely.
  • Remote troubleshooting
    If a user is experiencing difficulty, the majority of simple technical issues, such as picture size or input selection, can be fixed remotely.


Where to use network projectors

Network projectors are most suitable for use in large companies or school boards that use multiple projectors and have a dedicated IT department available. The potential for an increase in productivity makes such technology extremely appealing and suitable for large businesses and schools.

For smaller organisations, it is not worth the cost as the primary benefit to be gained is that a large number of projectors can be easily maintained remotely. If an establishment is using just a few projectors, it is recommended to simply manually maintain them.

Network connectivity


The most common way connect a network projectors is via a wired Ethernet network cable. While this does ensure an optimal connection speed, it can sometimes be difficult to find a connection port, or when found, it can create an unsightly cable across the room can be a nuisance.

With the rapid increase in the implementation of Wi-Fi enabled networks many manufactures have introduced projectors with inbuilt wireless capabilities. This allows users far more flexibility as they do not have to worry about connecting cables or aligning the projector next to an Ethernet port in the wall. Instead all a user needs is a laptop with wireless functionality to send their presentations to the network projector.

We hope you enjoyed this article by Projector Source Canada.  For more information or to purchase a display and projector for your business or home, visit us online at http://www.projectorsourcecanada.ca

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