IPX print server adapter and Windows XP SP2 problems

Posted on 2006-06-03
Last Modified: 2013-11-29
I tried to research this to on the web and found nothing worthwhile about this.

I have an IPX network print server adapter that plugs into a printers parallel port and you can then share it on the LAN by using an IPX network printer port installed via the included software and having IPX/SPX installed on the system. I bought this back when print server adapters just started to show up for consumers and this one from Hawking Technologies was the only 1 I could get or it was the cheapest among the few.

Anyways, it worked well under Windows 95, 98, 2000, over the years. I have used two systems running Windows XP SP1 system that was setup for the print server and it works (so I figure XP SP1 is ok).

However, when using systems running XP SP2 it doesn't work. Though I had 1 exception case where it did work recently and I don't know why, so I'll have to look into it.

When it doesn't work either of these two will happen:

1. printer port not installed yet - when you try to install print port, the print server that the port will connect to is never detected so you can never install the port.

2. printer port installed back when system was XP SP1 - printing to the print server fails after upgrade to SP2 (I figure the connection is broken now).

No difference appears whether I disable the Windows Firewall or not. This baffles me. I would think IPX works the same on XP SP2 as on XP SP1 or Win 2000. Unless some security feature blocks out the connection for which I don't know how to allow since it's IPX not TCP/IP. I don't suppose the problem is with the print server since XP SP2  is just one flavor of Windows from the print server's perspective.

I could use some expert input into this issue since I can find nothing on the web and the print server is now obsolete. I could buy a new TCP/IP model but it would kind of be a waste since the current one still does the job.
Question by:daluu
    LVL 22

    Accepted Solution

    Unfortunately, as you have mentioned, it used to do the job.  IPX/SPX as a network protocol is being elimintated.  It has more overhead and is chatty (SAP brodacasts and such).  You can get soem pretty cheap TCPIP print servers now and I would recommend purchasing one and eliminating IPX/SPX completely from your network.  Unless you have some legacy requirement for it, you will find your bandwidth drops a lot.  It seems like I have been spending the last four years eliminating IPX/SPX even on Novell networks.

    I hope my opinion helps.

    Have fun.
    LVL 4

    Author Comment

    Thanks for the opinion, I'll just finally have to get a TCP/IP print server adapter then. It's just unfortunate that 1 Service Pack upgrade will suddenly drop support for some IPX/SPX functionality. Wish there was a workaround though (miserly me talking)

    Regarding bandwidth, is there really a performance difference? Or only in a corporate network? I simply use IPX/SPX for printing to the print server, everything else on the LAN is running Windows and using TCP/IP. I haven't noticed any performance issues to date.

    LVL 22

    Expert Comment

    It is really more important the more network hardware you have and even more so if Novell Netware 3.12, 4.11 or even 5 is using IPX/SPX protocols on your network.  Still the less possible problem points, the better.
    LVL 4

    Author Comment

    What TCP/IP parallel port print server adapter do you recommend? I'd hate to do trial & error to find a good print server. Hopefully I can get a good cheap one ( < $100, preferably around $50 and new)

    I have been using the Hawking Technologies 1 (parallel) port IPX print server for a few years and it worked flawlessly except on Windows XP SP2. I was thinking of getting their newer TCP/IP 1 port version but it had lackluster user reviews. If those comments are true, it would be sad that the TCP/IP version would be crappy compared to the IPX version.

    I once also tried a 3-port one made by Air something that supported TCP/IP I think but that didn't work at all so I returned it.
    LVL 22

    Expert Comment

    D-Link DP-301U @ $49
    Netgear PS101 @ $75

    I have used both and they worked great.

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