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Request help with printers

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Occasional Visitor

Request help with printers

Briefly stated: How may I determine the on/off
state of printers with ips? Unfortunately,
the solution will have to be limited to a command procedure(s).

The environment consist of:
Three-node cluster
Compaq AlhaServers GS140
VMS v7.3
Multinet v5.1 EC03
Approx. 500 printers (HP, Datasouth, Xerox, & others)

Thanks for any & all considerations,
Steven Schweda
Honored Contributor

Re: Request help with printers

> Briefly stated: [..]

Too briefly. "ips"? Inches per second?
Internet Protocol addresses?

It probably depends on the printer. Some,
like my HP LaserJet 4MV ("hplj") respond to
ICMP ECHO packets. (I have HP TCPIP, but I'd
expect MultiNet to have a similar "ping"

ALP $ show symb ping

ALP $ ping -c 1 -t 5 hplj
PING hplj.antinode.org ( 56 data bytes
64 bytes from icmp_seq=0 ttl=60 time=4 ms

----hplj.antinode.org PING Statistics----
1 packets transmitted, 1 packets received, 0% packet loss
round-trip (ms) min/avg/max = 4/4/4 ms

ALP $ write sys$output $status

Trying a device ("pha") which is off (powered
off, or off the network):

ALP $ ping -c 1 -t 5 pha
PING pha.antinode.org ( 56 data bytes

----pha.antinode.org PING Statistics----
1 packets transmitted, 0 packets received, 100% packet loss
%SYSTEM-F-TIMEOUT, device timeout

ALP $ write sys$output $status

I'd start with that, and see how many live
printers look dead by that criterion. Then
I'd start looking into Telnet (possibly to
unusual ports).

Of course, this doesn't really tell you if
the printer is "on/off", or working, or out
of paper, or warious other things, but it
does show that some communication is
Richard Whalen
Honored Contributor

Re: Request help with printers

I've heard of LPS and IPP, but never ips.

Forgetting about the protocol, I would recommend PING to determine if the printer is reachable.
then check the value of the symbol $status for SS$_NORMAL (1)
Honored Contributor

Re: Request help with printers

The core question falls to what each printer supports, and requires. Ping and web access would be the most obvious approaches toward establishing access, as most network-based printers provide this.

In parallel, consider standardizing on fewer and newer and network-native printers as part of this project. 500 printers of varying flavors is a substantial investment for parallel stores of toner, etc. And maintenance. And support. (And printers that are not fully network-native should be strongly discouraged.)

Also consider contact with a couple of major printer suppliers, and ask for assistance with this situation. And ask about what it might cost to standardize.

500 printers will catch the attention of many vendors, and you might be surprised what might fall out of an incremental replacement plan.

Stephen Hoffman
Doug Phillips
Trusted Contributor

Re: Request help with printers

If ping and the other suggestions aren't enough, you probably can't do what you want.

If "ips" refers to Xerox's DocuPrint controller commands, then your non-DocuPrint printers won't understand.

If the printers are spooled, whatever they tell you or don't tell by direct query means little. The print symbiont controls the printer and the form and devctl modules can change whatever status the printer gives you.

If you're doing dedicated direct printing, then maybe you and your printer can have a meaningful conversation.

Still, if you ask one "are you ready" and it doesn't respond, what will you do? If it says "no", then what? If it says "yes", does that guarantee it will print your report?

If a spooled printer isn't ready or goes off line, usually the queue will stall. If the printer is powered off, what happens depends on how the printer is connected. Direct, print server, network card, whatever. Your report might end up in the bit-bucket or the queue might stall.

The only sure way to tell if a printer is on or off, jammed or whatever, is to look at it. If you can't install video monitors and robots at each location, maybe the same people who see that the printer has paper and ink/toner can be made responsible for the power/ready switch.

So, what is your real goal?
Honored Contributor

Re: Request help with printers

For some IP-aware printers SNMP access is also available. Using this you can determine much (browse the MIB). In DCL you'd likely PIPE the output into as SEARCH command. Here's an example of some of what an HP printer might tell you (where I've replaced the actual IP address of the printer with Perhaps it'll be of some use...

$ multinet show/stat/snmp=
Network Interface statistics on Host

Name Mtu Network Address Ipkts Ierrs Opkts Oerrs
-------- --- -------- -------------- ------ ----- ------ -----
HP ETHERNE 1500 16229 0 13477 0
HP ETHERNE 32768 Null Address Not an IP interfac 0 0 0 0

$ mu show/snmp=
Network Interface statistics on Host
interfac 0 0 0 0
JD95,EEPROM R.25.09,CIDATE 07/24/2003
sysObjectID.0 Object ID: hpNm.3.9.1
sysUpTime.0 Time Ticks: 70625060 (1 week 1 day)
sysContact.0 String(0):
hpNm. String(14): ready to print
Occasional Visitor

Re: Request help with printers

First and foremost, thanks to all those who responded to this issue. Many apologies for the initial confusion/misunderstanding I introduced in the statement of the problem description.

My use of "ips" actually was meant to abbreviate the plural form for Internet Protocol address (ie 222.100.305.74).

In summary, the requirement to know the printer status stands as a preprequiste to a future application installation. Information concerning the relation between the installation/post installation activity is not known at this time. However, statements from 'lessons learned' by installation engineers highly suggest that printers in the 'on' state could potentially lead to/cause problems.

Again, sincere thanks to all for your time
and professional expertise,

Honored Contributor

Re: Request help with printers

> printers in the 'on' state

You may want to explore

$ multinet show/conn/snmp=x.x.x.x

which can show any established connections on an snmp-aware printer.