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09-20-2021 06:30 PM - edited 09-20-2021 07:30 PM
Having just sorted out yet another "Printer offline" situation with my HP networked printer, I wanted to ask the community why HP Setup configures its network printers in a way that is almost guaranteed to fail, eventually. The problem is that it always sets up the network port using a fixed IPV4 port. It's been that way for years (this is just the latest in a series of HP printers I've owned, most of which are networked). If it were 1995 I'd understand but Multicast DNS (mDNS) a.k.a. Bonjour has been available and supported by HP printers for years now. Why not use it?
The change seems almost trivial. Setup can already identify the printer on the network, likely using mDNS, so can find its unique network name. All it needs to do is use that name instead of the IPv4 address, and the printer will stay "online" as long as it's on and the network is up.
Instead, it's putting in an IPv4 address which in virtually every home environment is DHCP-assigned, and so subject to change. And when it does, the printer goes "offline" until someone figures out how to put it back online again. No doubt many customers end up just uninstalling and reinstalling it; the instructions to repair it are quite complicated.
What am I missing? Why does HP not make use of this simple and reliable technique instead of using transient IPv4 addresses?
09-23-2021 03:39 PM
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09-24-2021 12:53 AM - edited 09-24-2021 01:24 AM
I'm still waiting for your support person to contact me, but I in fact know how to fix it. Your support pages https://support.hp.com/us-en/help/diagnostics?category=printing&issue=printer-offline are helpful though not in my opinion the best solutions. Inserting a manual IP address into the assigned DHCP address range is not advisable as it runs the risk of a duplicate IP address on the network. I've instead assigned a fixed IP address outside that range (but within the same subnet), and configure my Windows port and the HP printer to match. That requires configuring the router, though, of which there are many varieties, so isn't so easy to provide instructions for. Or, a more recent solution I've found is to figure out the network name that all of the newer network printers have and reconfigure the Windows printer port with that instead of the IP address. Works like a charm, but finding that name isn't always easy.
My problem was more of a meta-query. Why do I need to reconfigure my network and/or Windows PC for every HP networked printer I've owned? Under Linux printer setup has long since relied on Plug-and-Play protocols so it doesn't depend any more on flaky IPv4 addresses. Why aren't your Windows drivers doing the same?
Frankly, I'm surprised your customers put up with this constant headache. Have I missed some critical step when setting up my (multiple) HP printers on Windows?
09-26-2021 02:26 PM
Mea culpa. I've rechecked our printer configuration, and our new printer is in fact configured with a WSD port, which uses Vista-era technology built on top of the mDNA and uPnP web protocols. I changed our printer's IP address from the control page and nothing broke - I was still able to print test pages from two of our Windows 10 machines. I seem to have been thrown off by how setup filled in the Location property for the printer, which was a very IP-Port-like string including the printer's (original) IP address eg: [ Location: http://192.168.54.135:3911 ] (though it's apparently just decoration; changing it does nothing, as the Port configuration is what matters).
So, I'm at a loss as to why this printer went "offline". I see many users have found WSD ports troublesome and often advise converting them back to IP-based ports with the usual precautions to deal with DHCP-based address assignment. Perhaps I ran into one of these WSD quirks.