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HP Networked Printers not functioning all of a sudden

We have a large network of computers and printers in our facility, which all have static IP's. Everything was working fine until one morning, we had reports of over 15-20 HP Laserjet Printers which were acting up. The printers are non-responsive, and seem to be off-line when we try to configure them over the network. But we found that  when they are powered on / off they comeback online for about 10 minutes, complete the print jobs , and then go offline.  

After verifying the IP Address, Subnet Mask and Gateway, all the settings seemed fine. We were suspecting it might be a hack on all of the printers through the network, but more insight would be greatly appreciated...

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Commented:
Are they shared off of a server or everyone goes in and adds the printers by IP address?
CERTIFIED EXPERT

Commented:
ryansoto - the 'n' after the model number (4250n,4700n etc) means they have a JetDirect print server module built into them.
Top Expert 2007

Commented:
Try doing a cold reset (resets to factory specs), then re-inputting their network settings.  

Link to cold reset steps for HP printers:
https://www.laserquipt.com/support/idx/0/121/article/Cold-Reset-Steps-for-HP-Printers-.html
Top Expert 2007
Commented:
This cold reset steps page from HP includes how to print configuration page (and steps for resetting external jet direct print servers):
http://h20000.www2.hp.com/bizsupport/TechSupport/Document.jsp?objectID=bpj02300&prodTypeId=18972&prodSeriesId=25472&locale=en_US

Commented:
Understood - but what I am after is how are the client machines are connected to the printers.  Are you adding a local tcpip port on the client machine or adding the printer on a server then sharing it that way?

Author

Commented:
Some Additional Information:

The printers are configured using TCP/IP.  All of the client computers and printers are connected to a switch  from where they have access to the external outside network. All of the client computers are networked using Windows 2003, and the printers are just standalone which have IP addresses assigned individually which come off of our IP database.

There was no additional security to the printers, and they were all just freely available on the network. So basically anyone who could get ahold of the IP address, could potentially have taken control...  

Author

Commented:
To answer ryansoto question specifically:

The printers are not on a shared server, but anyone that can read the IP address off of the printer which has a label attached to it, can go though windows and add a network printer and start printing to it.

Author

Commented:
We actually found out that it was a problem with a device connected to a switch which was uploading a mass amount of packets and causing network traffic.

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