Yet Another Cycling Forum

General Category => The Knowledge => Ctrl-Alt-Del => Topic started by: Redlight on 18 January, 2021, 10:02:48 am

Title: Wireless printer problem
Post by: Redlight on 18 January, 2021, 10:02:48 am
I recently bought a Hewlett Packard Laserjet printer. It prints beautifully and I'm very happy with the quality of the output BUT I cannot get it to communicate wirelessly with any of our devices - iMAc, laptops, phones - so the only way  I can print is to save a document to a USB stick and pop that into the printer port.

The printer has correctly found our BT hub and, according to the touchscreen display, is connected, with a full strength signal. However, it doesn't show up on any of the devices.  We can set up a wireless connection called HP Direct, but this requires the user to disconnect from the broadband each time they want to print anything and, on the occasions we have tried it, works only occasionally.

I should mention that the printer this replaced worked wirelessly with all our hardware.

Any suggestions before I return it to the retailer?


PS - next I'll come along asking about my vanished email account....  :-\
Title: Re: Wireless printer problem
Post by: ian on 18 January, 2021, 10:15:26 am
I have found with HP printers on a Mac that you generally need to plug them in first via USB to force a driver update (or you download the HP update directly, be warned though it's for every HP printer ever, so about 2GB).

For devices, you need to either set up the manufacturer's proprietary mechanism or hope it uses Airprint.
Title: Re: Wireless printer problem
Post by: Kim on 18 January, 2021, 12:40:00 pm
Is the WiFi network configured to isolate clients from each other?
Title: Re: Wireless printer problem
Post by: pcolbeck on 18 January, 2021, 02:20:17 pm
Find the IP address of the printer via its front panel menu or looking at the wireless router to see what IP its handed out to it.
Then on a PC or MAC see if you can ping that IP address.

If you can then on Windows do add printer tell it its a network printer and let it search. If it doesn't find it c;lick the "printer not found or not on the above list" box and it will let you enter the IP address of the printer at which point it should find it and install the drivers.

I'll let someone else explain the procedure on a Mac as I have never owned one.
Title: Re: Wireless printer problem
Post by: Redlight on 19 January, 2021, 09:23:49 am
Is the WiFi network configured to isolate clients from each other?

You've got me there, Kim. I don't even understand the question!  :-[
Title: Re: Wireless printer problem
Post by: Redlight on 19 January, 2021, 09:26:21 am
Find the IP address of the printer via its front panel menu or looking at the wireless router to see what IP its handed out to it.
Then on a PC or MAC see if you can ping that IP address.

If you can then on Windows do add printer tell it its a network printer and let it search. If it doesn't find it c;lick the "printer not found or not on the above list" box and it will let you enter the IP address of the printer at which point it should find it and install the drivers.
 

Cheers. That half-worked on the Windows laptop, in that it has (in theory) acknowledged the printer and downloaded the drivers. But when I try to print, it tells me the printer is off line.

I haven't tried with the Mac yet (thanks to Ian, too, for the advice on that. I'm gonna need a longer USB cable!) but, excusing my ignorance, what do you mean by " ping that IP address"?
Title: Re: Wireless printer problem
Post by: Jaded on 19 January, 2021, 09:34:22 am
This may help. Network Utility is the easiest way to ping on a Mac, unless you like the Teeminal!

https://www.macworld.co.uk/how-to/ping-test-mac-3524076/
Title: Re: Wireless printer problem
Post by: ian on 19 January, 2021, 09:58:50 am
Find the IP address of the printer via its front panel menu or looking at the wireless router to see what IP its handed out to it.
Then on a PC or MAC see if you can ping that IP address.

If you can then on Windows do add printer tell it its a network printer and let it search. If it doesn't find it c;lick the "printer not found or not on the above list" box and it will let you enter the IP address of the printer at which point it should find it and install the drivers.
 

Cheers. That half-worked on the Windows laptop, in that it has (in theory) acknowledged the printer and downloaded the drivers. But when I try to print, it tells me the printer is off line.

I haven't tried with the Mac yet (thanks to Ian, too, for the advice on that. I'm gonna need a longer USB cable!) but, excusing my ignorance, what do you mean by " ping that IP address"?

I did, the last time around, as I couldn't be bothered finding a USB cable or moving the printer, just download the HP driver update (which, as mentioned, contained the files for every HP ever) and manually selected the printer. My current HP isn't network-enabled, I had a little wireless print service that talked to it, that was a case of selecting the IP (don't use DHCP for the device, if so) and printer name. Then the little box died (well, it seems to work, but does nothing useful, like connect to a printer) so it dangles as a shared printer off the back of an old Mac Mini (I never knowingly throw away outdated technology).
Title: Re: Wireless printer problem
Post by: Lightning Phil on 19 January, 2021, 10:02:41 am
The IP address of the printer needs to be made static. That will be done in your router’s admin menus. If it’s not static , the printer ip address can change and your computers will be trying to talk to an IP address the printer no longer resides at.  The printer will appear offline.
Title: Re: Wireless printer problem
Post by: The_Mikey on 19 January, 2021, 10:12:58 am
Also bear in mind the printer may be configured to work stand-alone, ie will accept direct wireless connections from laptops and computers,  broadcasting it's own SSID without communicating via the router and thus may appear to be offline if you're communicating with it via the router, even if the printer itself appears to have an ip address from the router, it won't necessarily work that way if not configured to do so.     
Title: Re: Wireless printer problem
Post by: Lightning Phil on 19 January, 2021, 10:15:44 am
As you will have gathered Network printers introduce a whole new level of things that need to be troubleshooted before they work. Then when you do get it all talking, you’ll get a paper jam!
Title: Re: Wireless printer problem
Post by: Kim on 19 January, 2021, 10:25:23 am
Is the WiFi network configured to isolate clients from each other?

You've got me there, Kim. I don't even understand the question!  :-[

There's usually a "client isolation" or alternatively-named setting in the access point configuration.  When enabled, clients on the same wireless LAN can't communicate with each other directly, but can access the upstream network through the access point in the usual way.

It's basically a security measure for public WiFi networks, in case someone with a laptop and a hoodie (see cyber-security news article stock photos passim) sets up two tables over.
Title: Re: Wireless printer problem
Post by: Kim on 19 January, 2021, 10:28:23 am
As you will have gathered Network printers introduce a whole new level of things that need to be troubleshooted before they work. Then when you do get it all talking, you’ll get a paper jam!

Yes, printers were sent from hell to make us miserable, and WiFi is The Devil's Radio.
Title: Re: Wireless printer problem
Post by: Redlight on 19 January, 2021, 10:30:10 am
Oh hell.

Anyone got a typewriter for sale?
Title: Re: Wireless printer problem
Post by: ian on 19 January, 2021, 10:31:02 am
I sort of wonder if my little print server died or I lost the ability to correctly configure it. There are less complex Satanic rituals and quite possibly the prescribed virgin wasn't being truthful.

Anyway, print it wouldn't out. Hence plan b.

That said, I know a lot of people with wifi-enabled printers who will prefix 'wifi-enabled' with allegedly. Printers, the photocopiers of our age.
Title: Re: Wireless printer problem
Post by: Kim on 19 January, 2021, 10:35:39 am
Wired networked printers (or "proper network printers" as I tend to think of them) are another beast entirely.  Wired networks tend to, well, work.  And printers thus equipped tend to understand Postscript, which means less reliance on buggy USB drivers, and compatibility with pretty much any operating system.  Even Windows.

They still have paperjams, of course.  Printer technology stagnated in the 1990s, with all subsequent developments being in the interests of extracting as much money from the customer as possible.
Title: Re: Wireless printer problem
Post by: Mr Larrington on 19 January, 2021, 10:37:30 am
As you will have gathered Network printers introduce a whole new level of things that need to be troubleshooted before they work. Then when you do get it all talking, you’ll get a paper jam!

Yes, printers were sent from hell to make us miserable, and WiFi is The Devil's Radio.

Wired networked printers (or "proper network printers" as I tend to think of them) are another beast entirely.  Wired networks tend to, well, work.  And printers thus equipped tend to understand Postscript, which means less reliance on buggy USB drivers, and compatibility with pretty much any operating system.  Even Windows.

They still have paperjams, of course.  Printer technology stagnated in the 1990s, with all subsequent developments being in the interests of extracting as much money from the customer as possible.

Even my wired network printer occasionally loses interest in talking to the Babbage-Engines on TowersNet.  Or vice-versa.  The reach of Finestre, the Demon of Such Things, is long.
Title: Re: Wireless printer problem
Post by: Kim on 19 January, 2021, 10:47:15 am
Sure, it happens.  But have you ever set up a USB printer on your mother-in-law's laptop?  You sacrifice the relevant goats, then get the phone call a week later because it won't print.

Eventually, there was a velociraptors-learning-to-open-doors moment, and she worked out how to install printers in Windows.  Cue 6 different instances of the same printer, and changing the default to the one that works every time she uses it.

Eventually resolved by buying a Mac, which being a grown-up operating system can cope with the idea of a USB device changing port address.  The printers are still shit though.

(Ultimate irony being that Doctor Biggles has a large multi-function laser printer/scanner thing with wired Ethernet capability in her office.  Naturally it isn't connected to anything, as it's only used for photocopying duty.  For printing from computers they just purchase a new shitty inkjet every year or so.)
Title: Re: Wireless printer problem
Post by: Lightning Phil on 19 January, 2021, 10:51:04 am
Oh hell.

Anyone got a typewriter for sale?

Does your printer have a network port, and do you have a spare cable?  Often connecting your printer directly into a network port on your router, gets around all the pissing around with “WiFi enabled” shenanigans. This relies on printer sitting fairly close to your router.
Title: Re: Wireless printer problem
Post by: citoyen on 19 January, 2021, 10:51:57 am
I did, the last time around, as I couldn't be bothered finding a USB cable or moving the printer, just download the HP driver update (which, as mentioned, contained the files for every HP ever) and manually selected the printer.

I can't remember exactly what hoops I had to jump through to make my HP printer work wirelessly but I know I had to install the HP Utility software, downloaded from the HP website. I don't recall having to install drivers as well though - but maybe the drivers are added as part of the HP Utility installation.

It all works fine though. I can send stuff wirelessly to the printer from my office on the other side of the house. The only annoyance is how often the print heads need cleaning (next time we replace the printer, I'm going with frikkin' lasers).
Title: Re: Wireless printer problem
Post by: ian on 19 January, 2021, 11:06:19 am
The spare computer solution was optimal after an evening in bloody battle with TP's finest USB-wifi printer server. At one point I think there were orcs. With axes. It was like being stuck in an interminable LOTR end sequence.

Accepting defeat is sometimes the only way you win.

So I plugged it into the back of the c2009 Mac Mini, click the magic buttons to 'share printer' and it pops up everywhere. I have to press two buttons to turn the printer on, which is practically foreplay. Retro but effective.

I did ask the mothership for a network-enabled, duplex-capable printer, via the form that has options to tick specifically for those. So they sent me one that didn't have either. When I complained they told me that they send everyone the same printer. So why the form? We don't see the form.
Title: Re: Wireless printer problem
Post by: asterix on 19 January, 2021, 10:10:00 pm
I am sure the experts know all about this but I didn't.

Our old but good printer stopped talking to our laptops.  One at a time which was odd.  It had to be connected by cable.

Then we discovered our router had developed a split personality and had 2 speeds 2.4GHz and 5 GHz.  Our printer does not like 5GHz but that was the channel the router gave precedence to and so it would not reconnect. 

People buy stuff on Amazon/ebay and find it won't work.  That is because not all stuff works with 5GHz.

I have relabelled the router channels so I can specifically use 2.4 GHz if need be.  No doubt this is a bodge but I don't know a better way.
Title: Re: Wireless printer problem
Post by: Kim on 20 January, 2021, 01:01:10 am
That's odd, and certainly not an inherent behaviour in a dual-band access point.  I'd expect them to be bridged unless configured as separate networks.
Title: Re: Wireless printer problem
Post by: asterix on 20 January, 2021, 08:41:56 am
We discovered it as a side issue when we lost the Internet and spoke to an engineer.

The printer connection defied all other attempts to reinstate it but when I gave the channels separate IDs and could force use of 2.4GHz it worked a treat.

I have been told it should not be an issue but on our Talktalk router it seems to have been.

On several WiFi items I have seen for sale the description warns that they do not work with 5GHz. It suggests that others have had the same problem.
Title: Re: Wireless printer problem
Post by: ian on 20 January, 2021, 09:25:19 am
Generally, it just works, there are lots of 2.4 GHz-only devices (printers, speakers, internet things in general).

I expect the problem here is that the printer isn't talking to the house wifi, it's doing that curious ad hoc wifi thing which seems primarily intended to create these sorts of problems. There's usually an option to switch this off, buried in a 25-level deep hierarchy of menus that can only be navigated by the control panel on the device.
Title: Re: Wireless printer problem
Post by: pcolbeck on 20 January, 2021, 09:26:17 am
The point is that if a device only supports 2.4Ghz it wont even see the 5Ghz channel and will only connect to the 2.4Ghz one. In the WiFi hub/router thing these channels should be bridged by default so that a device connected at 2.4Ghz can talk to one connected at 5Ghz.

Several things could be going on here:

1) The WiFi hub/router may be set to punt all devices to the 5Ghz channel which would mean you printer would connect at 2.4Ghz then get get disconnect straight away as it doesn't support 5Ghz.

2) The WiFi hub/router may be set to to not bridge the channels then as the other device switched to 5Ghz they would lose connectivity to the printer.

Either way its almost certainly an issue with the WiFi hub/router as you don't talk directly to the printer its always PC -> Wifi hub / router -> Printer.

Edit: As Ian says unless its using ad hoc WiFi which you should never use as it's bonkers. Its only really for when you have something like a printer and a PC and no WiFi hub/router so they can talk directly. Then they need to be on the same channel.