Printers and Photocopiers going offline

whfit used Ask the Experts™
We have a odd issue that has only started a couple of days ago. We have tried to do some troubleshooting to find the route of the issue but to no avail.

What happens is all printers and photocopiers go offline and then come back online for a few seconds, then they go off line again. The print server is running windows Server 2008, this sits in a subnet and all printers and photocopiers sit on a These are all communicating on vLan channel 11 but since Monday this sporadic behavior has occurred. We have Dell switches which are stacked but this isn't consolidated to one area of the network its an issue across all switches, We have rebooted the stakes and checked the vLan config but it all looks OK. If you ping a printer from the print server over a 30 minute period we get a 89% failure rate.

Would welcome any guidance and thoughts as to what we can try as we have inherited the network.
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Does the PING from print server to the 11 interface on the core switch / router to VLAN 11 drop too?
If nothing much has changed check logs on your switches, maybe someone has connected two VLAN 11 ports togetherby mistake?
What about if you connect a laptop to a VLAN 11 configured port with a fixed address if no DHCP available etc.?
Philip ElderTechnical Architect - HA/Compute/Storage

Flip the print server's cable with a new one and change the switch port(s) it is connected to if possible.
Robert RComputer Service Technician

I agree it may be the port on the switch is going bad, try plugging the print server into another port on the switch. If that fixes the issue either the port has failed or it may have bent pins. If it is a port failure then you may need to replace the switch because if one port fails the other ports may fail over time.  If plugging the patch cable into another port does not resolve the problem try another patch cable.  This is already mentioned by Philip. I am just emphasizing his answer.  Since it fails 89% of the time, or the printers seem to be offline most of the time and the printers are located in various locations, and this is happening for multiple users, we need to narrow down the problem to a specific area.  If the print server is a dedicated print server, (the only function of the server) it could be a nic that is failing on the server, or it may be an issues with the server itself.
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Exactly... a bit of troubleshooting to see if a straight comms issue to start with logically.  Does comms to the print server fail from a workstation on it's own subnet, does a workstation on the printer subnet fail to the print server, what about from workstation on VLAN 11 to the printers, from the VLAN 11 workstation to another server or device on VLAN 10...  If there is no comms issue between vlan 10 devices and printers directly and between VLAn 11 and VLAN 10 devices then it is back to the print server device only to worry about or it's network cable and NIC assuming it is a physical server.

So initial kind of checklist:

1. Comms from print server to VLAN 11 printer devices = sporadic
2. Comms from another VLAN 10 device to VLAN 11 printers = ?
3. Comms from VLAN 11 device to VLAN 10 device = ?
4. Comms from VLAN 11 device to printer server = ?
5. Comms from Print server to VLAN 10 devices = ?
6. Comms from VLAN 11 device to printers = ?
7. Try a workstation on the same port as the server temporarily with comms to VLAN10 and VLAN11 = ?

#2 should prove all printers, switches are OK
#3 should prove ok from printer devices back to VLAN10
#4 should show if comms error from VLAN 11 to print server specifically
#5 should show if any errors from print server to LAN it is on
#6 should prove there is no comms issue within the VLAN 11 switches
#7 should prove that everything apart from the print server NIC and OS is OK

And maybe obviously look at the switch port the NIC is connected to for any errors or port dropping, has someone fixed it at 100/full or fiddled with speed, duplex, flow control settings mismatched with workstation.

Many different debug bits to get from Windows but some simple bits you can get from netstat -s at command prompt.
Thanks to everyone for responding, through testing and troubleshooting we found the interface on the switch lost its configuration and needed to be marked as active. After a power cut the switch rebooted and seems the changes made were not svaed to the config. Thanks
Philip ElderTechnical Architect - HA/Compute/Storage

Ouch. Save.



Then save again.

Can't count the number of times we've hit problems because of this one step being forgotten.

Glad it got worked out.

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