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How to Choose Between SteadyLAN & TetherLAN for Your POS Printer

How to Choose Between SteadyLAN & TetherLAN for Your POS Printer

How to Choose Between SteadyLAN & TetherLAN for Your POS Printer

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Staying connected and maintaining efficiency is essential for doing business, regardless of industry. Whether you run a retail store, restaurant, or mobile food truck, you need reliable and seamless printing technology for smooth operations. However, choosing the most suitable solution for your needs can be challenging.

Star Micronics, a leader in point-of-sale (POS) printers and hardware, provides TetherLAN and SteadyLAN® technology in select POS receipt and label printer models, like the mC-Label3 multimedia printer, ensuring reliable tethered tablet network connections. But how do you know which technology you need?

In this guide, we’ll take a deep dive into these products. We’re here to help you understand the defining features, advantages, and essential considerations when choosing between these options.

SteadyLAN vs. TetherLAN: What’s the Difference?

What POS printer technology is right for your business? Here are the details so that you can make an informed decision:

Understanding SteadyLAN

Are you ready to leave unstable Wi-Fi behind and embrace consistent, high-speed connectivity? SteadyLAN, designed primarily for iOS devices, revolutionizes POS printing with its direct power and internet connection from a supported Star printer to your tablet or device. Through a Lightning or USB-C® cable, the mobile device secures a network connection from the Star POS printer, even if Wi-Fi signals are too unstable.

This innovation translates to reliable and uninterrupted network connectivity with the added convenience of charging your connected tablet or device directly from the printer. SteadyLAN technology keeps your device powered up, even during the busiest hours.

SteadyLAN’s direct connection from your POS printer provides a seamless link to your tablet and peripherals, significantly minimizing downtime and enhancing overall system performance.

SteadyLAN by Star Micronics allows a networked printer to share internet service with your tablet or device.

Key Benefits of SteadyLAN

  • Reliable Connectivity: A steady network link for iPad & Android POS systems ensures continuous operations without Wi-Fi dependency.
  • Constant Device Charging: The tablet is kept fully charged, eliminating the worry of battery drain during peak business hours.
  • Streamlined POS System: SteadyLAN creates a cohesive POS environment where all activities are centrally managed and cabled to the printer for increased efficiency and control.

Understanding TetherLAN

TetherLAN is designed for mobile devices with cellular connections, such as 4G or 5G tablets, smartphones, and hotspots. The technology allows these devices to share their Wi-Fi service with select Star Micronics printers via USB. This ensures a seamless and high-quality printing experience without needing LAN cables. Compatible with Android and Windows devices, TetherLAN is currently featured in the mC-Label3 multimedia printer by Star Micronics.

By establishing a cloud-based printing environment, this technology shines in scenarios where conventional internet setups are challenging. In addition to sharing a tablet’s cellular connection, TetherLAN also provides USB-powered connectivity, keeping devices charged for continuous operation. Moreover, it provides access to the Star Micronics Cloud Services platform, allowing users to monitor their devices in real-time and create customized receipts and labels.

TetherLAN mC Label3 Technology GIF

Key Benefits of TetherLAN

  • Cloud-Based Printing Environment: Facilitates cloud-based printing using active cellular connections, ideal for places lacking standard internet services.
  • No LAN Cables Needed: Get efficient and reliable printing without requiring any LAN cables.
  • Continuous Device Charging: With the mC-Label3, Android and Windows devices stay charged for extended use, enhancing usability in various settings.
  • Ideal for Outdoor and Mobile Settings: Excellently suited for outdoor events or mobile operations where cabled internet access is scarce, offering versatility and ease of use.

Choosing Between SteadyLAN and TetherLAN

As the global printer market continues to evolve, with projections to surpass $43 billion by 2028 (Mordor Intelligence), staying informed about the latest features is crucial for making an educated decision. When it comes to selecting between SteadyLAN and TetherLAN for your POS printer, consider these key factors:

1. Business Needs and Objectives

Evaluate your business’s specific needs and objectives. If your environment lacks stable Wi-Fi and requires consistent internet connectivity, SteadyLAN is ideal. It ensures a reliable Ethernet connection directly from the tethered printer to your device.

Conversely, if your business operates in dynamic settings with limited access to traditional internet setups, TetherLAN is more suitable. It leverages the cellular network on your device to maintain connectivity, making it perfect for mobile or outdoor operations.

2. Existing Infrastructure

Consider the existing technological infrastructure of your business. SteadyLAN is an excellent fit for setups already equipped with Ethernet infrastructure and is particularly beneficial in environments with weak Wi-Fi signals. TetherLAN, on the other hand, is ideal for businesses with no access to Ethernet ports that can rely on cellular networks to connect to their POS systems instead.

TetherLAN technology in the mC-Label3 allows the tablet or device to share internet service with the printer.

3. Budget Constraints

When considering budget, it’s essential to recognize that different Star Micronics printer models have varying technologies, impacting their costs. Some models are equipped with both TetherLAN and SteadyLAN, which can influence their price. It’s important to note that not all Star printers currently have TetherLAN capability, though more models are expected to include this technology in the future.

This variation in features means a range in pricing, allowing you to choose a printer that fits both your technological needs and budget. Evaluating the cost-effectiveness of each printer model, its capabilities, and your business requirements is crucial. For instance, investing in a printer with TetherLAN might be more cost-effective for a mobile or outdoor business environment where having the technology could enable more sales.

Also, consider other long-term operational costs, including potential data usage fees with TetherLAN and the costs of infrastructure upkeep with SteadyLAN.

4. Future Growth

When planning for future growth and scalability, the choice between SteadyLAN and TetherLAN hinges on your business’s anticipated trajectory. SteadyLAN is an ideal solution for companies aiming for growth within a stable, fixed location, particularly those not planning to engage in outdoor or mobile events. Its reliable wired connection suits environments where the business infrastructure is stationary and consistent.

On the other hand, TetherLAN offers flexibility and mobility, making it a strategic choice for businesses that foresee expansion into new areas, including outdoor events or pop-up shops. Its reliance on mobile networks makes it adaptable for scenarios where traditional, wired internet connectivity is not feasible.

Moreover, for businesses that transition from mobile or temporary setups to permanent locations, TetherLAN presents a versatile option. It supports operations in both contexts, provided the devices used with the POS systems are compatible with cellular networks. This adaptability makes TetherLAN a future-proof investment for businesses evolving from outdoor events to fixed retail or hospitality settings.

Real-World Use Cases

We’ve discussed the key features, benefits, and considerations related to SteadyLAN and TetherLAN. Here are some ways that businesses use them in the real world:


SteadyLAN technology has become a game-changer for businesses grappling with connectivity issues. In scenarios like a café with weak Wi-Fi or a small business owner without a data plan, SteadyLAN offers a reliable solution.

SteadyLAN by Star Micronics allows a networked printer to share internet service with your tablet or device.

For instance, connecting an iPad POS system to a tethered Star printer with SteadyLAN allows the business owner to access a steady internet connection through the printer’s Ethernet port, circumventing the need for additional data services.

Similarly, in environments like cafes or restaurants where Wi-Fi strength is inconsistent or physical limitations prevent network expansion, SteadyLAN-equipped printers serve as stable network hubs, ensuring uninterrupted operations and enhancing customer service without needing complex infrastructure changes.


TetherLAN technology is revolutionizing operations in dynamic and mobile environments like outdoor events. At a music festival, where traditional internet setups are impractical, TetherLAN enables vendors to share a tablet’s cellular connection with a Star printer, thus facilitating efficient and automated order processing.

This innovation allows for streamlined ‘order ahead’ options, reducing wait times and enhancing customer experiences. The technology’s operational flexibility and integration with CloudPRNT make it an ideal solution for vendors in mobile settings, ensuring they can manage online orders and payments seamlessly without the constraints of traditional connectivity methods.

These real-world applications demonstrate the transformative impact of SteadyLAN and TetherLAN technologies in various business contexts, offering practical and innovative solutions to connectivity challenges.

An Independent Software Vendor's (ISV's) Guide to Star Printer SDKs

For ISVs navigating the complexities of printer integration, the path forward is often strewn with challenges. Get to know Star Micronics’ range of software development kits (SDKs), each uniquely crafted to address these challenges and enhance your integration prowess.

All The POS Printer Options You Need for Success

Choosing a POS printer with the right technology can significantly impact your business. SteadyLAN and TetherLAN provide innovative connectivity options for businesses of all shapes and sizes. By evaluating your business requirements, existing infrastructure, budget constraints, and future growth plans, you can make an informed decision that enhances your operations and ensures efficient printing in a sometimes inefficient world.

Are you ready to harness flexible, durable printing solutions? Touch base with one of our experts to see how modern POS printer technology can move your business forward.

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