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HP Embedded Jetdirect J7949E - How to Use Embedded Network Diagnostics with Firmware v.33.xx
The Need for Diagnostics
In the past and currently, HP Jetdirect (hereafter: Jetdirect) served as a network protocol off-load engine. Essentially, Jetdirect is responsible for converting network protocol information into data that can be delivered to the printer. When Jetdirect was initially developed, network printing was new and relatively unpopular. Now, almost every printer is placed on the network. In addition, printers have gained functionality and have become Multi-Function (MFPs). This additional functionality basically demands a network placement. Refer to Figure to the figure below, "EIO Jetdirect with Printer/MFP," for a pictorial view of the separate Jetdirect product providing network capability.
Figure 1: EIO Jetdirect with Printer/MFP
Networking was added to the Printing and Imaging product though a separate hardware platform. As the popularity of networking Printing and Imaging devices increased, it made more sense to integrate the networking into the existing hardware of the Printing and Imaging product rather than duplicate processing power, RAM, and FLASH memory. Refer to the Figure "Embedded Architecture diagram". Unfortunately, these gains in efficiency were had at the loss of some support flexibility. In the past, when troubleshooting networking problems, a customer could simply move an EIO card from one printer to another. If the problem followed the EIO card, one could begin focusing in on a network configuration problem or an EIO hardware/firmware problem. If the problem stayed with the original printer, one could begin focusing on network cabling, print spooling, or printer configuration. With Embedded Networking, this troubleshooting flexibility was lost.
Embedded Network Diagnostics Architecture
In an effort to regain some of the flexibility that was lost when moving from EIO to embedded, the Embedded Jetdirect product designed on board diagnostics that can help isolate some types of problems. In effect, the goal of Embedded Network Diagnostics is to answer the following question: Is the problem internal to the printer/MFP or is the problem external to the printer/MFP?
When the Diagnostics that reside in the Embedded Jetdirect firmware are executed, the Embedded Jetdirect firmware acts like several networking clients. These pseudo-clients are designed to stress the printer/MFP firmware and hardware as well as the Embedded Jetdirect functionality as a whole.
Figure 2: Embedded Architecture Diagram
One of the first things that happen during the execution of the Embedded Network Diagnostics is that the any traffic to/from the external LAN is disabled. This prevents the external network from influencing the Diagnostic results. It also prevents the product from being used normally over the network. Therefore, it is important to execute the Embedded Network Diagnostics when productivity won’t be impacted - in the evening or on the weekend for example.
Once the external LAN has been eliminated as a potential source of problems, the functionality of the diagnostics can now be determined. There are four independent functions associated with the Embedded Network Diagnostics: (1) HTTP Test, (2) SNMP Test, (3) Data Integrity Test, and (4) LAN HW Test. Each of these modules is shown in the Figure "Embedded Network Diagnostics".
Figure 3: Embedded Network Diagnostics
The HTTP test has the Embedded Jetdirect firmware simulating several different browsers that are making requests of the Embedded Web Server in printer firmware. These requests stress the embedded web server and generate a lot of unidirectional stream traffic between the Embedded Web Server and the Embedded Jetdirect firmware.
The SNMP Test has the Embedded Jetdirect firmware simulating several different network management stations making requests of the various MIBs implemented on the device. These requests result in a lot of bidirectional datagram traffic between the Embedded Jetdirect firmware and the printer/MFP firmware.
Data Integrity Test
The Data Integrity Test sends PostScript print jobs from the Embedded Jetdirect firmware to the printer/MFP. These special PostScript print jobs do not print any pages. Instead, they perform self-verifying checks on the data associated with the PostScript program. These print jobs generate a lot of unidirectional stream traffic from the Embedded Jetdirect to the printer/MFP.
LAN HW Test
Although the Embedded Jetdirect firmware uses the processor, memory, and FLASH of the printer, there are still components associated with the external LAN connection. When the LAN HW Test is executed, these components are placed in loopback mode and multicast ping requests are sent to verify the HW components are sending and receiving data correctly.
Embedded Network Diagnostics Menu Structure
By default, Embedded Network Diagnostics are of course disabled. It is recommended that execution of these diagnostics be under the advice of an HP Customer Care Agent. However, there are times when it may be useful for a customer to execute them on their own.
If you are simply troubleshooting network communication (for example, using the tool ‘ping’), the Embedded Network Diagnostics provides the capability to execute a ping to another host. The execution of the ping can be done via the Control Panel of the printer or via the Embedded Web Server of the printer by going to through the menu structure. In short, if the problem is simple network communication, the ‘ping’ tool is useful. However, it is not advisable to use the Embedded Network Diagnostic Tests (e.g., HTTP Test, SNMP Test, etc…) to troubleshoot this type of problem.
If you are having problems with random Service Errors on the printer for instance, then it isn’t clear whether or not the problem is external or internal. Here is a likely scenario where the Embedded Network Diagnostics could come in handy.
NOTE: The following Embedded Web Server screen shots are for explanation purposes only. It is not recommended that the Embedded Network Diagnostics are executed remotely because their execution will result in the external network being disallowed. This restriction will then in turn prevent the browser from communicating with the printer.
By using the Embedded Web Server, we can quickly see where the embedded Diagnostics are located and what parameters can be utilized. Refer to the figure below titled "Settings."
Figure 4: Settings
Here we can see what the control panel menu structure looks like. The Embedded Network Diagnostics are located under the Embedded Jetdirect Menu. To get to the Embedded Jetdirect Menu, you must first go to "CONFIGURE DEVICE", then to "I/O", then to the "Embedded Jetdirect Menu".
Refer to the figure "Embedded Network Diagnostic Parameters."
Figure 5: Embedded Network Diagnostic Parameters
Here we can see that each Embedded Network Diagnostic module has its own ON/OFF switch. In other words, you can determine which modules that you want to be active during a given execution. There is also the Execution Time parameter. In other words, how long do you want the Embedded Network Diagnostics to run? Keep in mind that the entire time the Embedded Network Diagnostics are running the printer/MFP will be unavailable for use. HP does not recommend running the Embedded Network Diagnostics in the V.33.10 firmware release longer than 24 hours. Once all the parameters have been specified, the Embedded Network Diagnostics can be executed by setting the Execute parameter to "YES" and clicking 'Apply'. As a reminder, if the Embedded Network Diagnostic is run from the browser, the browser will lose connectivity to the printer.
Embedded Network Diagnostics Execution Process
Once you have decided to run the Embedded Network Diagnostics, there are a couple of preliminary steps that should be followed. First, make sure that a network cable is plugged in to the printer/MFP formatter and that there is a valid Link established with the switch or the hub. Refer to the figure "LEDs."
There are two LEDs by the LAN connector on Embedded Jetdirect indicate the LAN speed and valid Link. Be sure the LAN cable is connected and one of these LEDs is on before executing the Embedded Network Diagnostics.
Figure 6: LEDs
Refer to the figure "Configuration Page for 802.1X." It is important that 802.1X be disabled before running the Embedded Network Diagnostics. By printing a configuration page, 802.1X status can be determined. NOT SPECIFIED indicates it is disabled.
Figure 7: Configuration Page for 802.1X
Once we have made sure that the LAN cable is attached and valid link has been established and that 802.1X is not enabled, we can go to the control panel to start the Embedded Network Diagnostics. The following screen shots have been taken from a LaserJet 4350 printer.