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  • Home Network - Not all laptops recognise all printers

    HI all, thanks for reading this and please give some allowance for lack of knowledge - I'm still learning!

    I have a home network that comes in through a BT Hub 4.0. This is connected via ethernet to one of the printers (a Brother) to a TP-Link to boost to another room and to a storage device. There are 6 laptops, 1 mac and 5 assorted HP and Acer, all with windows 8. All have Bullguard AV (apart from the mac of course).

    My laptop, not usually on the network as I work elsewhere, can locate the brother printer (DCP-L2540DN - but only after I downloaded the latest driver)), the epson (XP-760) printer and the storage device no problem. So can the mac. All laptops can access and print to the Epson - although the team here tell me that's not always the case and were amazed I could connect them. All apart from 2 (1 HP, 1 Acer) can connect after I reset them. These 2 do not recognise the storage device or the brother printer. I downloaded the driver for the printer, but could not complete the install (as I had on my laptop) as it could not find the printer on the network.

    The users complain the connectivity comes and goes. I did not create this network and various items have been added at different times. One final thing to state is that the broadband here is appalling - approx 1.7MBps on various speed tests.

    So I appreciate that my description is probably not the best but I hope it makes sense. In laymans terms, sometimes some of the laptops can print and access the storage, sometimes they cant which is understandably frustrating.

    My understanding is that a home network should not be affected by the broadband strength. Is that correct? What can I do to allow all devices to connect to each other?

    I'm sure my lack of expertise is apparent, but any help would be gratefully received. I have been trying all day to find a solution.

    Many thanks

    Rob

  • #2
    Hi Rob.

    Sounds like a bit of a mess.

    It is true that the Internet connection should not affect local connectivity. If wireless is in use then there may be intermittent interference going on. It could also be a bad router and/or AP. Or it could be a device on the network that is malfunctioning.

    I would try connecting as much as you can via wired connections to see if that eliminates the problem for those devices. If it does then you should look into doing a basic wireless survey to see what kind of interference could be in the area and what you can do to boost the signal (buying high-end APs may solve the issue for you)

    But this is all speculation. It could be a 100 different things.
    Regards,
    Jeremy

    Network Consultant/Engineer
    Baltimore - Washington area and beyond
    www.gma-cpa.com

    Comment


    • #3
      Hi Jeremy,

      Thank you very much for your reply. I appreciate it's not simple first hand so even harder to diagnose based on what I've said. I will give your advice a go, thank you.

      Do you know is there a limit to how many devices can happily exist on a wireless LAN? (or is that a 'how long is a piece of string' type question?!) The thing I don't understand is how the wireless printer (the Epson) can be accessed by all, but the devices with a wired connection to the router (Brother printer, MyCloud storage) seem to be in a blind spot for a couple of laptops. Very strange.

      This had been coupled with the booster having it's own SSID and password so as people moved between the rooms they had problems printing too. I've matched them up so it should help I think, but coupled with this problem it feels like not very much progress.

      Would there be any benefit in starting the network from scratch and attempting to add all devices again or would the problem most likely simply repeat itself? Maybe removing devices and seeing if that has any affect?

      Many thanks again for your time

      Rob

      Comment


      • #4
        Is the TP-Link a wireless router? If so then that might be your problem. You can use a wireless router as an additional AP but I've seen issues with some. The key thing is that you need to make sure the network is connected to the LAN side and you need to disable DHCP on it.
        Regards,
        Jeremy

        Network Consultant/Engineer
        Baltimore - Washington area and beyond
        www.gma-cpa.com

        Comment


        • #5
          Thanks Jeremy.

          Excuse me, I should have been clearer. The TP-Link is a homeplug wi-fi extender, piggy-backing on the electrical current - it is a wired connection to the router which is a BT Home hub. And I'm sorry but I don't understand your second sentence, could you please explain? The side of what, and what would disabling the DHCP on the LAN achieve?

          My apologies if this is basic stuff but I'm getting familiar with it all! I appreciate your help (and patience!)

          Cheers

          Comment


          • #6
            If the TP-Link device was a wireless router then the second sentence would apply.
            Regards,
            Jeremy

            Network Consultant/Engineer
            Baltimore - Washington area and beyond
            www.gma-cpa.com

            Comment


            • #7
              What sort of distance is it between the Wireless Router and the furthest wireless machine or printer?
              Do you have conflicting wireless channels?
              Are all the wireless laptops able to access the Internet?
              What encryption protocols are being used on each wireless device?
              Do the wireless printers have IP addresses or are you connecting via other means (ergo their SSIDs etc; re second question, channel conflicts)?
              Got any metal walls/faraday cages in the rooms?
              Are you using 2.4GHz or 5GHz on the laptops? What are the wireless printers using?

              I have found if you have issues connecting to a wireless printer then install the print drivers when the laptop is physically connected to the print device. Then disconnect the physical connection and see if you can then get a wireless connection. HP have an option with their print driver install software to choose to connect wirelessly. From memory you need to be physically connected to the print device and you are then told when to remove the USB cable (I think that's right but it was 5 or 6 months ago so I could be wrong)

              With so few devices, you might consider it a better use of time to pull the setup apart and rebuild it. Might be an idea to document it if you decide to go that way and most certainly document it if you can get it working smoothly.
              1 1 was a racehorse.
              2 2 was 1 2.
              1 1 1 1 race 1 day,
              2 2 1 1 2

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by biggles77 View Post
                What sort of distance is it between the Wireless Router and the furthest wireless machine or printer? Around 15ft
                Do you have conflicting wireless channels? I don't think so - router is on 1. Could anything else affect this?
                Are all the wireless laptops able to access the Internet? Yes.
                What encryption protocols are being used on each wireless device? This I don't know unfortunately. How do I establish this and how could it be a problem?
                Do the wireless printers have IP addresses or are you connecting via other means (ergo their SSIDs etc; re second question, channel conflicts)? They connect through the wifi signal - I'm not aware of any IP address being used.
                Got any metal walls/faraday cages in the rooms? No, is a small office.
                Are you using 2.4GHz or 5GHz on the laptops? What are the wireless printers using? I will check this - what is a good practice here?

                I have found if you have issues connecting to a wireless printer then install the print drivers when the laptop is physically connected to the print device. Then disconnect the physical connection and see if you can then get a wireless connection. HP have an option with their print driver install software to choose to connect wirelessly. From memory you need to be physically connected to the print device and you are then told when to remove the USB cable (I think that's right but it was 5 or 6 months ago so I could be wrong)

                With so few devices, you might consider it a better use of time to pull the setup apart and rebuild it. Might be an idea to document it if you decide to go that way and most certainly document it if you can get it working smoothly.
                Thanks for the detailed reply Biggles, it's very kind of you. I will investigate the above as much as I can and see if the rebuild is the way to go. If you have any further thoughts on good practice relating to your points I'd love to hear them, or anything else based on my replies above.

                I really appreciate you taking the time.

                Cheers

                Comment


                • #9
                  It seems that there is some communication issue between the laptop and the printer. If the printer is not able to contact on the network then the installer only asks for the IP address of the printer. Before going to your problem let me know something about your connections such as:

                  Which brand and model are you using of the router?

                  And let me know about the printer configuration settings?

                  Does the SSID have the word guest anywhere in it?

                  Guest network allow easily to connect with the networks. If this happen then real network will not contact the printer.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Silly question: are the printers using fixed addresses, or are they getting their IPs from the DHCP server? If DHCP, pls confirm those addresses are reserved so they never change.
                    *RicklesP*
                    MSCA (2003/XP), Security+, CCNA

                    ** Remember: credit where credit is due, and reputation points as appropriate **

                    Comment

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