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network printer & cisco problems

Experts -

I have a problem and I need some help - I think I'm looking in the right direction however could use some additional opinions.  

I have an HP Laserjet 4250 that began acting up today.  Network printer, etc.  The problem: jobs stuck in queue, not responding to pings, etc.  I tested/changed patch cables, cold reset of printer, reconfigured internal jet direct card, etc.  The problem is odd for the following reasons:

If I reset the printer, it's pingable for a few minutes, even capable of printing docs.  That is until about 5 minutes of being idle and inactivity.  If it's inactive for x amount of time, all jobs become stuck in queue.  I can ping the printer and it responds once, then all others timeout.  If I wait a few more minutes and ping again, it responds once, then times out.  And so on.  

Quick note - I had an old HP Laserjet 2200 with the same problems on the same switch last week.  I ordered a new Jet Direct Card b/c old printer, old card, etc.  Maybe the JD card isn't the problem?

The 4250 is brand new - only 1 month old (and under warranty).  

Anyway, I moved the LJ to a separate, independent hub to test.  I had only the LJ and a pc on this hub - not connected to the network.  Configured both to be on the same subnet.  The LJ never lost it's connection and was pingable and printable the entire time.  The hub I used was a little NetGear switch.  I tested at various time intervals for about an hour.  No problems and printer worked normally.  

Therefore, I believe the switch to be the culprit.  Switch - CISCO CATALYST 3550

I need some help at this point - suggestions, ideas, etc.  I'm functional within cisco envirnoment, however not sure where to look (or what/how to change).

What do you guys (and gals) think?
4 Solutions

It sounds to me like you have a speed or duplex problem. I ran an ISP for five years and we had similiar problems with some of our wireless gear. When plugged into our catalyst switch we would lose connectivity after a short time or at random intervals. I suggest that you force set your speed and duplex on both the switch and printer. At the very least force set it on one end or the other, this should eliminate the problem. Please note that if it is a duplex problem it will sometimes still work partially. This is why I suggest you force set both for your cleanest connection.

Good Luck,
Duplicate IP address?

Turn the LJ off and ping it's address. If you get a response, type in "arp -a" at a windows command prompt to note the mac address of the duplicate IP. You can also take another step using the 3550 to find which port it's connected to if this works.

Does the catalyst 3550 have any config on it? default from factory?
dtoccoAuthor Commented:
Ok - I'll hard code the port and printer to the same speed and duplex in the morning.  Both are set to auto right now - which is 100 Full.  

There's not a duplicate IP on the network.  The 3550 is configured unique for our network.

Thanks for the ideas........I'll post the results
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dtoccoAuthor Commented:
Ok, so I configured the speed and duplex both on the printer and switch port and I still have the exact problem.  I tried 3 different speed and duplex combinations, but the problem didn't change the slightest.  

As a "temporary fix" I evn tried using the Netgear hub and placing the printer on the hub, which is then connected to the switch.  Same exact problem - pingable one time, then timeouts all other attempts.  

Any ideas?  I'm going to call HP, but I'm afraid they'll blame my network since the problem was resolved once removed from the network.    
Switches work at a layer 2 level - they keep mac addresses in their table and only send to the ports where the mac addresses are identified. If the printer doesn't fail on a hub (layer 1 - just a multiport repeater) then maybe we have a problem with the mac address of the printer. Duplicate macs are possible, although extermely rare.  Could be a problem with the switch. Could you post the switch config?

Or it still could be the duplicate IP - could you run that test I mentioned earlier just to rule that possibility out?

dtoccoAuthor Commented:
When the printer is turned on, I am able to successfully ping the printer IP from the switch console - 5/5 every time.   However, when pinging from the network, the printer behaves as I've described (timeouts, etc)..  If I turn the printer off, I am unable to ping the IP from both the network and switch console.

Regarding my network - I have two VLANS: one for my network pcs/printer/servers - one for my network equipment.  

Here is the basic config for my network switches:

no service pad
service timestamps debug datetime localtime
service timestamps log datetime localtime
service passwordXXX
hostname XXX
logging buffered informational
no logging console
enable secretXXX
clock timezone XXX
clock summer-time CDT recurring
ip subnet-zero
spanning-tree mode pvst
no spanning-tree optimize bpdu transmission
spanning-tree extend system-id
interface FastEthernet0/1
switchport access vlan XXX
switchport mode access
no mdix auto
spanning-tree portfast    


Thanks for helpig me thus far..............
switch config looks good,  

printer is in same vlan as pc's attempting to access it.

you're not routing on the switch? no ip routing command?

Interesting you can ping from the switch every time. This ping crosses VLANs via a router. what do you have doing routing?

When you ping, does it make a difference whether the PC you ping from is on the switch the printer is on or another one?

Sorry for all the questions, just trying to get that one little piece of info that shines the light on the problem.
Can you paste the output of the
show interface FastEthernet 0/x
for the interface that the printer is connected to? Wait until it is showing the error.
Also, when you do a ping from the switch, do an extended ping with a range of different sizes (ie type 'ping', hit return, then under 'Extended Commands' choose 'Sweep range of sizes'). Check that you still get no loss. Try the same from the router.
HI there,

One other thing to check when the problem exists is that the mac-address is still seen by the switch. Whilst you may get a link light, if the switch stops seeing the MAC-Address you will not be able to ping.......

do a "show mac-address interface fas0/x"

This does not explain why you can still ping from the switch though..... That is strange


dtoccoAuthor Commented:
I want to thank everyone for their comments.  They have been very helpful and I appreciate the support.  

I moved the printer to another switch, cleard arp tables, and even monitored the logs looking for anything out of the ordinary (collisions, etc).  However, I've come to the conclusion that the problem lies within the JD Card.  I know, not very interesting or exciting, but after isolating the problem, all signs point to the JD Card.  

I came to this decision by using an external JD card that I dug up.  I used a parallel external JD card and bypassed the internal card on the printer.  The printer is now working successfully - and I've talked HP into sending a replacement printer since it's under warranty.  

Also, the other LJ is also now working successfully after I installed a brand new JD card.  Now is my switch burning out my JD cards?  That's another topic and you can be sure I'll be monitoring this situation closely.  

Again, thanks for everyone's comments.      

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