MFP printer problem isolation/troubleshooting

So typically in a mutli-vendor or multi-provider environment, it is best to isolate a problem to which vendor is responsible for a problem. This week I encountered a very interesting problem with a multi-function copier/scanner/copier. This happened to be a rather large canon unit (not to be confused with the desktop models). The typical demarcation point between the network provider and the copier provider is the network cable between the wall and the copier/printer. What happend in this case was that out of the blue the MFP unit stopped printing.

We started by trying to isolate the problem. We changed the printer into a known good network port, reset the print queue, and the device still showed off line in Window Server 2003. We also attempted to ping the device with no avail. We then connected a laptop to both the old and new network jacks, received and IP address properly and was able to perform network tests… So the network must be good – two known working ports… But…

The copier vendor arrived on site, confirmed the problem and then his troubleshooting began with verifying the network configuration (DHCP with a reservation on our servers), also tried to manually set the IP address, and also used a different IP address (statically). None worked on the network. Then he connected his laptop directly to the printer via a crossover cable, and in all cases tried above, it would print without a problem. So he rightfully claimed, it was definately not on the printer side…

So out of the interest of resolution, we decided on a vendor meet (both vendors onsite at the same time). We walked through various troubleshooting steps, and then I asked that he perform a factory reset or default configuration on the copier, and to my suprise, it was not available. He was, however, able to reset the controller via software. Note that we’ve already tried mutliple full power cycles. Yet, after he performed this reset, it grabbed the same (old) DHCP IP address and immediately started to despool from the server. Problem solved.

We then completed the testing, by power cycling the equipment, and performing additional printing test – all of which worked properly.

Lessons learned: Just because you believe you have rulled out your side, doesn’t mean it’s an absolute, but rather a pretty good indication.