Slow Printing or No Printing with an HP Printer on the Network

In the past few months I’ve run into several HP machines that have been having issues on networks. In each case it hasn’t had anything to do with the functionality of the machine.

Network Setup Issues
Network setup is not normally any problem for network administrators, printer techs or employees with a little background experience in networks.  But, for others, network setup can be the cause of printer problems if the network setup instructions aren’t followed precisely.

Just about any machine you buy comes out of the box setup for DHCP or BOOTP installation. When the printer or multifunction device is first plugged into the network these two configurations allows your machine’s network adapter and your server to gather information from each other and the

However, if you don’t change the DHCP or BOOTP setting to manual after initial setup then the printer or multifunction device can change its IP address if turned off then back on or after a period of time. Most of the time if a customer calls me and says they periodically have to reinstall their printer for it to work then this is the first thing I look at. This tells me the printer is functioning fine but it keeps changing the IP address. On laser machines, printing the configuration page usually shows the setup setting for your IP address on the jet direct page. On inkjet machines this page is usually on the network report page in the reports menu.

Slow Printing or No Printing
In this example I’m talking about a customer calling in to say it takes 5 to 10 minutes to print a document. Sometimes it prints fine, other times it takes several minutes to print, and often times the machine doesn’t print at all or says processing for a minute or two but then returns to a ready state.

Frequently this situation is the result of bad packets.

Whenever troubleshooting network print issues the first thing to do is to print the network configuration information. The two main things to look for are the IP address information and the packet information.

The IP address information is noted above.  The packet information will have a list of sent, received, uni-cast and bad packets. What I’ve seen in several calls these last few months are lots of bad packets. Having one or two bad packets is nothing unusual. Under normal circumstances I never see the number of bad packets get over 10.  If your showing anything over 10 you probably are experiencing network communication issues. This problem can be a result of the network adapter in your device, the cabling, router, hub, or server.

To troubleshoot, first try another cable or if nearby, another network wall outlet. The most common problem point is the hub. Get your network administration to switch the machine to another port or hub to further troubleshoot.

Usually a new cable or switching hubs corrects the problem. However, if the problem continues, it could indicate an issue with the formatter and/or jetdirect. Obviously, replacing the jetdirect or adding one to an open EIO slot is cheaper than replacing the formatter so that should be the first setp if you get to this point.

Multiple devices having the same IP address on the network can result in this problem.

Testing For Duplicate IP addresses
1. Print the Network Config Page to get the machine’s IP address
2. Click on the Windows Logo located on the bottom left corner on your computer screen
3. In the run or search box type in cmd or command and press enter which will bring up a black text box (memories of DOS flood back!).
4. At the command prompt type C:\ ping (then the IP address). Example:  ping

The IP address will be pinged 4 times. After it has completed it will give a report. The report should say 4 sent / 4 received. If it timed out you have a network communication issue.

To test if you have multiple devices using the same IP, remove the network cable from your printer then ping the address again. This time it should show 4 sent 4 lost and time out after each ping. If it still shows pings back then something else is using the same IP address. Call the network administrator for further troubleshooting.

Jet Direct Issues
Typically, if the EIO jetdirects fail, the network settings page doesn’t print when a config page is printed because the card is not communicating with the formatter. Often the machine will work for a day or two but then it’ll stop working. At that point, turning the machine off — then back on — sometimes keeps it running for a while but eventually it will quit working totally.

Then you’ll need to replace the network card. By now everybody knows the 615 series is junk so that should always be replaced.  Lately, I’ve seen more of the 600 and 610’s going out. The 620’s have come down in price quite a bit so that’s your best bet when replacing EIO cards.

A few months ago I ran into an issue where an HP 5500 kept turning off then back on when print jobs were sent to it. The original jet direct, a 615, had gone bad years ago so they were using an external jet direct 170.  I happened to have an old 5500 laying around so I swapped formatters, firmware, and memory but the problem kept happening. Eventually I installed a 620 in the machine and got rid of the 170 and the problem went away. So even external jet directs can cause issues.

I’m sure there are more network issues I haven’t talked about, such as firmware issues and what not. If you find this article interesting and feel like sharing an experience you have had with network problems please leave a comment below. If you have questions you can also leave those below too.

Kevin Gumpp is a certified printer technician and freelance writer for Market Point. If you have a question regarding this topic or have any other printer repair related questions or topics for which you would like more information, please send an email to

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