HP3700n & slow printing


A client called me in to troubleshoot a problem with a new HP3700n color laserjet. Printing was so slow (from both OSX and OS9.1 Macs) over the network (10/100BT) that most jobs were canceled before they printed.

Connecting directly to the printer via USB yielded good results with no delays. Also connecting directly via Ethernet (bypassing the switch) resulted in fast printing. The config page from the printer showed quite a number of packet errors.

No other device on the network is showing any problems or issues; the other HP printer (a LocalTalk laserjet connected via an iPrintLT) prints quickly and the client/server software (DentalMac, IIRC) works fine. The switch (a 10/100 cheapo Zonet) doesn't appear to be causing any problems.

While I'll probably swap out that switch soon for something that costs more than a carton of cigarettes, I remembered some older HP and Epson printers that didn't like working with dual-speed hubs (switches were way too expensive for us then!); the solution then was to insert a 10-B-T hub between the printer and dual-speed hub to keep the printer from timing out due to the disparate speeds of the devices.

So, guessing that this might be a timing issue of some sort, I checked the config of the 3700n. It was set at 100TX. I re-configured it to 10-B-T and cycled the power. Presto; problem solved. Whether it's the cheap switch or a goofy NIC in the printer or whatever, dropping the printer's network interface speed fixed the problem and even full-page photos take about 15 seconds to clear the spooler and be completely received by the printer.

Thought it might be a good idea to pass along this issue's resolution.