Updated: Feb 13
Over the years, the printer has evolved in many ways by implementing computer components like hard drives, RAM and Ethernet/wireless connections. Along with this evolution has come an array of technical errors. The most infamous of them is simply not being able to send a document to print. You may ask yourself why this happens. Especially if you don’t recall having made any recent changes to your network. Here, we will cover the most common issues of what can cause a network loss.
How does printing actually work?
Each device in your network (e.g. smartphones, tablets, printers) are given a unique identification called an I.P. address (Internet Protocol). This is the way devices become visible, whether your network is setup through cable or wirelessly. When your computer communicates with a specific printer the moment you send a file to print, an instant request is routed through the Network which then locates the chosen printer through that device's unique IP address resulting in your printed document.
Great to know. Now why am I unable to print at times?
With that said comes the interesting part. Imagine you are at your desk working. Let’s pretend you are a computer. And three workstations down is your co-worker. Let’s say they are the printer. You need a file brought over to you and decide to shout out to them to please bring it to you. But when you do, your co-worker is either not there or is now sitting five desks away from yours because the office, or for the purposes of this analogy, the network, assigned them elsewhere. It could also be that they are not physically present in the office at all at the moment, yet you were unaware of their absence. This is exactly what can happen when attempting to print through a Network. You send a request to perform a job but the printer’s I.P. address is no longer registered on the network or it has been assigned to a different device.
What causes this redirection of an IP address?
There are a number of reasons why a specific IP address cannot be found. For starters there are two different types of I.P. addresses: static and dynamic I.P. Using a real life example of eating at a restaurant. When we call to make a reservation at a restaurant, a specific table is designated to us for when we arrive. However, if we simply arrive at the location, we could be seated at any random table. Static and Dynamic IP addresses work similarly. A static address chooses its destination: it is set. A dynamic IP address can be assigned to any random destination.Networks by default assign dynamic IP addresses. When a printer is connected to a network it is given a dynamic I.P. address so that it can communicate with your computer. Now that we understand this, here are a number of different reasons why you could lose network connection to your printer.
Power outages: When power reboots, not all addresses are re-assigned to the same device.
Powering off your printer: If your printer is off and another device enters the network, the network cannot see your printer and its original I.P. address is given to the new device.
Damaged Ethernet cable: (Applies to hardwired printers only.) The problem in connectivity sometimes lies closer to us than we may think. Double check the wear and tear of your network cables periodically to rule out this as a trouble source.
Damaged Port: (Applies to hardwired printers only.) If the port on your Internet Router is damaged, then the affected port will not function properly and thus, will not communicate with your printer.
So you might be asking yourself, “Why not just assign your printer a Static I.P. address?” The reality is that doing so will only decrease the odds of a Network loss. If your device is off, unless it’s I.P. address is reserved by your router through the proper permissions, it will automatically be assigned to another device. Once a particular I.P. Address is permanently assigned to a device through the router, only then will it be relatively safe from the conditions stated above.
We hope to have broaden your understanding in this topic. Remember that most often than not, it is not the devices fault when it fails to connect to its Network. It is simply a matter of troubleshooting, finding the problem source and re-assigning I.P. addresses to restore proper Network connectivity.
As always, we are here to help in this area. If you are having issues with recurring Network loss, we can provide solutions to correct and prevent the problem from continuously occurring. Contact us for more information.