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How to Troubleshoot Network Printer Problems


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Network printers can provide a number of advantages to companies of all sizes, including lower costs and greater flexibility. With a network printer in place, individual workers no longer need their own printers, and this can save considerable money on both initial purchases and ongoing maintenance. Network printers also make it easier for employees to share resources and get more done, since large network printers typically print much faster than small desktop models. The problem, of course, is that when the network printer is down, no one can print, so knowing how to find and resolve the source of the problem is essential.

Send a print job to the same printer from another workstation. If the job prints, you know the problem lies with the workstation and not the printer.

Print a configuration page. The procedure for printing a configuration page varies, so consult the owner’s manual that came with your printer. For menu-driven models, the most common method is to point to the “Information” menu and choose “Print Configuration Page” from the list.

Review the configuration page and find the networking section. The printer should have a valid IP address, expressed as a series of four numbers, each separated by a period. For instance, a valid IP address might be If there is no IP address listed, or if the status shows “disconnected,” you know something is wrong with the network card or the cable.

Remove and reseat the network cable running into the printer. Also remove and reseat the end of the cable that goes into the wall jack. These cables can work themselves loose and disrupt network communication. If the printer still does not work, replace the cable with a brand new one.

Replace the network card in the printer if the unit still does not communicate with the network. If you have more than one network printer, try swapping the network card with one you know works. This will tell you definitively if the network card is bad. To remove the network card, simply remove the cable and loosen the thumbscrews on each side of the card. Slide the card out of the printer and slide in the new card. Fasten it down with the thumbscrews, attach the printer cable and run a configuration page to test the network status of the printer. If the printer is still disconnected, you will need to replace the network card.


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