Tcp-ip printers dropping off network, losing connectivity.

I am a computer tech at a small school. We have always set up our printers with a static ip address in a range outside of DHCP.  Then would set up the computers to print local – standard tcp/ip to the printers.  Recently we are having problems with the printers dropping network connectivity.  It is not just one model, although Dell 1700n is a major player.  We have updated the firmware on the Dell 1700n but that doesn't help.  We have been messing with settings like hard setting the speed and changing timing but haven't had any luck yet.  We have disabled SNMP on a couple of printers but it didn’t matter.  A couple of interesting symptoms; it seems the HP printers will print garbage and then go offline, the Dell printers will just lose connectivity, the network lights on the NIC will even turn off.  The larger MFP like Kyocera seem to be immune to the problem.  It seems to have started when we changed out some 100 mb Cisco switches to 1 gb Nortel switches.  We tried changing from Auto to 100 full or 100 half on the printers and that did not help. The only thing that works is power cycling the printer. We are running Active Directory, but there is no print server, just local tcp/ip.  Any help would be greatly appreciated..
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try this if you can, get a little ethernet switch (like a litte 5 port negear) and plug it in line at one of the printers, that is plug the switch into the wall network port and the printer into the switch.

What you are describing sounds like network corruption and the new switches may have some issues with the printers. What can happen especially an small embedded system (which the embedded print server is) that packet errors overwhelm the processing capability of the little server. The inline ethernet switch should drop most of those packets and by using a stock standard 10/100 you'll have the printer plugged into something more "normal" (for a lack of a better term). Slowing down the port speed on your fancy switch may not be enough as it physical characteristics (at electrical level) may still be sufficiently different, especially if combined with existing cabling on site which may not be up to the standards.

Anyway worth test $50 to get a switch.

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KBraun474Author Commented:
I like your thinking, and we will try that.  Apparently after talking to our Tech Coor, there are still some older Cisco switches and a few of the printers are inline with them,  and those are also dropping off. We will still try that on couple of the printers that have been dropping off, and are connected only to the new Nortel gb switches.
is your cabling cat5e och cat6 to support the gigabit nortel switch. ? strange things can happen when u have the wrong cabling.
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KBraun474Author Commented:
I am pretty sure we are good with the cabling, not bad idea though.
i think you should check to make sure.

negotiation can be troublesome too when u mix and match 10/100 switches with gigabit switches.

just a thought have you check that your dhcp server has not been altered and its not assigning addresses into your printer ip address range? as this may cause ip address conflicts with your printers causing them to power down the network interface. not sure about the MFP thought maybe if its on a high ip its not reaching it?
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