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I have a quite broad but troublesome question to ask.

The problem is, one network printer (installed on the main fileserver and shared to workstations) tends to go offline from time to time without any interaction. And comes back online while im fiddling around in properties and pulling/re plugging some lan cables in the switch.

It is in a Active Directory domain.

When the printer goes offline I get no response when pinging it from the server.

The printer has the settings of manual IP-adress ( not using DHCP, with the gatway of ( the server has (

I know its a broad question, but does anyone have a basic guess or pointer to where I should look further into. My feeling is that its something networking related.

I dont know what im doing to get it to work, im just fiddling around and suddenly it works. Last time i changed ports in the switch. Then it works great from all the computers in the domain, until it goes offline again.

Any thoughts?

Thanks in advance

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I doubt it has anything to do with AD. Sounds more like a networking or printer specific problem. – JamesRyan Sep 1 '09 at 12:07
up vote 3 down vote accepted

Sounds to me like you either have dodgy cabling to the printer, or a dodgy network card in the printer.

I'd work through this through a process of elimination. Change one thing at a time, and document your findings.

  • Examine any logs on the printer or network card in the printer to be sure it's not logging a problem.

  • Change the patch cable between the printer and the wall with a known-good patch cable.

  • If problems happen again, change the cable between the patch-panel outlet for the printer and Ethernet switch.

  • If problems happen again, move the printer to a known-working wall outlet and repeat.

  • Consider getting a replacement network card if all of the above doesn't work. An external parallel print server device can be had dirt-cheap.

You've already changed switch ports, so it seems unlikely to me that your Ethernet switch is at play in this issue.

It's probably worth PING'ing the printer and recording the MAC address reported by an "arp -a" command when the printer is "alive". Next time it fails, attempt to PING it, run an "arp -a", and see if you're even seeing it ARP'ing (and, if you are, is the correct MAC being reported). If you see a different MAC being reported by "arp -a" when the printer is "down" then you probably have an IP address conflict between the printer and another device.

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