Disappearing Network Devices - The saga of the OKI Printer
Recently I bought a new printer. An OKI C301dn.
It prints well, does everything I need and was a good price. It is a network printer - connected via Ethernet cabling.
However, once a week this printer would drop off the network and refuse to be found. NOTE: by that I mean - not be where it is supposed to be so that drivers can't find it.
All the traditional troubleshooting tactics failed.
I'd lose 15 minutes to half an hour each week wrangling this thing only to eventually give up, remove it from my devices, and re-install it completely...and even then it would often only work after my computer had been rebooted too!
Madness and infuriating.
I have seen other network printers behave like this i.e. badly, but never to this extent. My previous Brother network printer never dropped off the network once in all the years I had it (and I still do, it just prints very badly due to wear and tear).
I talked to my supplier and he assured me I was the first to experience this, but that I was also probably the first of his customers to use it as a network (vs USB) printer.
Before contacting OKI I figured I should Google further and check that things like firmware etc. were all up to date.
I downloaded every utility available through the support page for my printer . I could NOT update my printer's firmware and nothing else made any difference.
This morning the printer dropped off the network again but this time I was armed with some information.
I knew the IP address of the management page for my printer and suspected all along that this annoying printer kept obtaining different IP addresses every week.
And, sure enough, when I looked on my router's client list, the printer had changed from an IP address of 192.168.1.132 to 192.168.1.133.
What a bastard.
Luckily my router allows me to assign or tie an IP address to a device whilst still performing dynamic IP address allocation (DHCP).
The router uses the MAC Address of the device, which is unique to every device, to pre-allocate/reserve an IP address to give to the printer/device when it asks for one.
That means that my recalcitrant printer should now and forever remain on the IP address it had when I installed it first and therefore not "drop off" the network.
Not every router can do this and we shouldn't have to do this. If you have a cheap, or old, or ISP allocated router its functionality may be minimal in this regard.
But, like with my Brother, most printers and the associated driver software work this out and handle it automatically for us so that the printer is "always where we expect it to be".
If your router can't do this then you may be forced into using your network printer just as a USB printer. Bummer!
Anyway, I thought I'd share this in case any other OKI printer owners were having the same problem.