May 3rd, 2005, 10:09 PM
Wireless Netwokr Printer Issues
Sorry if I posted this in the wrong spot, but I'm not sure if this is Hardware or OS related. Please move this wherever you think it belongs (sorry MODs) but here goes:
I've been doing a side job for a local business and they have a small network of about 10 computers. It's a completely mixed network as it is actually 3 businesses (or more) and everyone owns their own systems. There are 3 Windows 2000 SP4s, and the rest are Windows XP SP2 machines. There are 2 printers, one of which is connected over ethernet that has zero problems...except for mechanical ones. it's aging and its just for backup. There is a 2nd printer which has gremlins. ALOT of gremlins. This is gonna be a fairly long post, because i'm going to tell you how i came into it, and where i took it.
Well the printer was connected thru USB to an Ethernet translater, some HP device i can't remember the device ID for, but anyhoo, it was USB going to the box which shot it over to ethernet. that was hooked up directly to the router and had a static IP address. Everything in the office except for 1 laptop is connected via Wireless. All different types of cards, so i'm not dealing with anything thats similar, except for the fact that they all run a version of windows. They were having alot of problems printing. All of the computers were hooked up the same way, via the Add printer wizard, specifying the IP address of the printer and printer name. like a SMB share. From what i gathered, there was some kind of interruption in the wireless and the computers link to it was being broken. under the printer status, it would just say "Opening" repairing their wireless connection didn't solve the problem. and neither would a reboot. well most of the time anyway. random computers would reconnect every once and awhile after a reboot, but not in any identifiable rhyme or reason. The only thing that would work was deleting the printer, and adding it again, reinstalling drivers and then it would work for about 24 hours. sometimes as little as 5 minutes.
Here's what I did to fix the problem.
I took the ethernet out of the loop all together. I connected the printer to the ethernet connected laptop directly, and shared it directly off of it. That laptop is Running Windows 2000 Professional SP4. I made all of the desktop computers that are there run on a standard generic user account to ease any issues with permissions. The computers were all added to the same workgroup and all have similar Computer Names. The printer was added to these computers thru SMB share thru the workgroup. At first it was using the Computer name\ printer. i.e. \\Server\Printer .
That worked for a little while. So then I put the Laptop on a static IP, and then i tried mapping it statically. i.e. \\192.168.X.X\printer . This had been working fine for a while, probably about a month. and now i'm getting daily phone calls again. I get paid per time i show up, so I'm trying to stop them from calling me. I'm at a loss as to why this is happening. Let me give you a little bit more backup information.
This issue has happened to all of the computers, but at seperate times.
This issue happens regardless of configuration.
Reboots sometimes fix the issue, but sometimes dont. (i think they should as they should re-establish connectivity to the computer) While deleting the printer share and adding it again will fix the problem.
Printer will be in the constant state of "Opening" in red.
So can anyone help me with a possible solution? I have zero IT budget, and i'm hoping for quick in painless. I'm doing this on my own time and i don't care if they pay me. I just want them to stop calling me. But i still want to get paid to show up and set up new computers, or do anything thats easy money. So just ignoring them is not really an option. I've googled for batch scripts that could do it for me to now luck. Any insights that don't require me to lay cable or buy a wireless print share or anything like that? Any windows settings or wireless settings i can tweak? Sorry for the long post, but this one is really driving me nuts. It's been going on for about 4 months now.
May 4th, 2005, 11:52 AM
During my m$ exams, microsoft only ever recommends having a printer connected to a server then shared throught the lan. Since the exams, I have been implementing this as much as I can. There are many printer devices that work plugged straight into the LAN, however, diagnosing these problems can often be difficult.
So, you could try connecting the printer straight to another computer, then share via that. Which is what I think you have also done when trying to fix it. There are a couple things you have to remember though. In a workgroup environment, only 10 connections will be allowed to a workstation machine, so no more than 10 unique printer jobs at a time.
Also, go to the DHCP Server and add in a static IP to their MAC Address... What printer is this anway ? and has other drivers been a consideration ?
May 4th, 2005, 09:29 PM
Well i talked to HP techinical support about it. It's an HP Laserjet 3330. They haven't had any issues similar reported. The router i'm working with doesn't offer static IPs, Its a Linksys Befw11S4. I imagine a firmware update might cure the issue, but this network is barely staying together as it is. So i'm taking the mantra if its not completely broken, don't fix it. I have the directly connected computer asking for the static address and so far it hasn't been kicked by any of the other computers. I'm aware of the 10 connection limit, and i'm at 9 right now, so thats not an issue either. I would attach the printer directly to a server, but there really isn't one to connect it to. I have the Win2k SP4 laptop acting as a server, I could put a cracked win2k server on there, but i'm trying to keep it a legit shop as to not have things bite me in the ass later. Plus IP violations are wrong...lol. Anyway, I'm pretty much stuck in my situation. I imagine the main problem is the wireless connections being broken or suffering from some kind of interference. This is the oddest network, because everything will work fine, but add 1 computer, or turn on MAC filtering, or something like that, and then everyone's down, it doesn't matter if its properly set up. Another odd point, is that there is an HP Laserjet 4 connected over ethernet, thru the same type model of USB to ethernet converter that hasn't had any problems whatsoever. And according to one of the owners, they used to have an IT guy who set everything up perfectly, but of course he didn't document anything, and he became completely unavailable, so they had another temp person come in before me, and according to them, they screwed everything up. they had no knowledge of passwords, so they had to reset everything, and thats where all the problems started. I'm thinking my main hope is a batch script that can delete and add a network printer, because whenever that step is taken, everything works properly. I'm mainly looking to get the to stop calling me to walk them thru doing just that. Anyone know if thats a possiblity?
May 4th, 2005, 09:47 PM
First, setting a static address in the DHCP server is hogwash. You should set the static address on the physical device so that it never asks the DHCP server for an address. This I think it what you have done.
Your suspect is mine as well. I would suggest checking to see if you can ping the machine with the printer from the other machines when the connectivity is broken. I doubt HP will be much help because in their eyes, if you can print to it from the machine its connected to, then its a network problem and nothing they're concerned with. Speaking of that, can you print to it from the laptop when the other machines can't?
May 4th, 2005, 10:09 PM
I can print from the laptop 100% of the time. Well heres what gets me, all the machines will be connected to the internet, and will pull up google or /. no problem, and they aren't cached pages either. Other machines will be able to print just fine, but only certain machines will be effected. I'm trying to remember the results of the pinging i did. This was about 2 or 3 months ago, the last time i tried that. I do believe i could ping the machine just fine. Because i'm able to fix the issue with the printer by just deleting it and adding it again without a reboot, or without repairing or disabling and re enabling the wireless connection, I'm thinking it has to be something with windows internally. and how it handles the SMB share to the printer. Sorry to not give you a 100% accurate response to the ping question, as i do not have a Remote Admin program on there, and I have to physically go to their office, which is 30 minutes round trip away from my office, which is an hour to 2 hours roundtrip away from my house. And you got it on the head zENGER, HP pretty much stated it was not their problem.