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More Wifi Weirdness


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#1 OFFLINE   raymac46

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Posted 18 September 2017 - 02:48 PM

One of my neighbors dropped by today. He has a Canon MX-510 wireless printer that stopped working after a recent power outage. He had spent 3 hours on the phone with Canon support and they finally got his desktop and his wife's iPad working with the printer. Then he tried his laptop and it failed. He didn't want to call Canon again. Could I help?
Usually this is a straightforward matter of either reinstalling the printer or setting it as the default so I agreed.
When I got there I found that Charlie had 3 instances of the printer already installed on the laptop and one was set as default - but it was offline. Fine. I deleted all copies of the printer from the laptop. But then when I tried to reinstall the printer couldn't be found. After some fooling around with the printer settings I was able to print out its IP address - 192.168.1.104 This looked OK.
I tried to ping the printer from the laptop and it timed out. I tried the gateway and it timed out. I switched to the desktop and pinged both gateway and printer successfully. I asked Charlie - can you get on the Internet with this laptop? Oh yes. What the heck?
I checked the IP on the laptop - 192.168.2.102 and gateway 192.168.2.1 - WTF?
Well it turns out Charlie had an ISP gateway with a Cisco router inside - network inside network. Somehow the laptop was connected to the outer LAN and everything else was connected to the Inner LAN. Why he has this he couldn't say. I disconnected the laptop from the outer LAN and connected to the inner LAN and I had the printer installed and printing in 30 seconds.
How people manage to do this to themselves I'll never figure out.
Charlie has a new ISP gateway supplied to him by Bell and on Wednesday we'll do some geeking it up and get all his stuff connected to one LAN. Never a dull moment with IT in the hood.
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#2 OFFLINE   Digerati

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Posted 18 September 2017 - 03:10 PM

That is an odd setup. I have seen it before when a second wireless router was used as range extender.

If nothing similar was intentionally done, I think I would scan that notebook (all his computers) for malware just for peace of mind.

Also, I recommend assigning a static IP address to all networked printers (and NAS devices too). It is generally a simple task in the router's admin menu. This ensures next time he has an extended power outage, the printer does not take a different address before the other computers have a chance to connect. For example, it might grab 192.168.1.3, an IP address that previously belonged to another computer. When that happens, all the computers will have to be reconfigured to print to a different network port. That gets annoying quickly if power outages are not uncommon.

Different router makers call "Static IP Assignment" different things so you may have to hunt around for it. In my Netgear router, it is called "Address Reservation" under LAN Setup. I just assigned an IP address of 192.168.1.25 to the printer's MAC address knowing I would never have near that many devices connected.
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#3 OFFLINE   raymac46

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Posted 18 September 2017 - 03:22 PM

I fully intend to get that printer on to a static address outside of the DHCP range of the gateway. My own printer I set to 192.168.0.250
The only reason I can think of for this weird setup is that Bell has some ancient routers out here with only WEP encryption. His wife has an Ipad that maybe wouldn't connect that way so he needed a second router. I would have thought that there should be some way to turn off DHCP on the outer router though. If he gets a new gateway it should have better encryption. That way we can dispense with the inner network and just use the gateway.
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#4 OFFLINE   Digerati

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Posted 19 September 2017 - 01:07 PM

Perhaps he should look into a new "simultaneous dual band" router to support new protocols and his wife's legacy device too.
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#5 OFFLINE   raymac46

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Posted 20 September 2017 - 10:29 AM

Well after an hour or so geeking it up at my neighbor's house everything seems to be OK with his new gateway.
  • Turned everything off
  • Disconnected and removed old external gateway and internal router.
  • Connected up new gateway. Wired in desktop.
  • Rebooted desktop and went through several setup screens to get Bell DSL working.
  • Used gateway's web interface to configure it with old internal network SSID and passphrase.
  • Reconnected an IPad to new LAN.
  • Reconnected ROKU box.
  • Reconnected laptop.
  • Reconnected wireless printer.
  • Checked that iPad desktop and laptop could all print wirelessly.
At least he now has only one wireless LAN to worry about.
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#6 OFFLINE   Digerati

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Posted 20 September 2017 - 10:50 AM

Did you assign a static IP to the printer?
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#7 OFFLINE   raymac46

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Posted 20 September 2017 - 01:10 PM

Yes - no option in the router, Bell has it pretty locked down. It can be done in the printer interface though.
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#8 OFFLINE   Digerati

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Posted 20 September 2017 - 02:16 PM

That's odd the router does not support static IP assignment. While DHCP is most commonly used, static assignments are not unusual. At any rate, I am glad you were able to tell the printer to always request the same IP address. That will make administering the network easier.
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#9 OFFLINE   raymac46

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Posted 20 September 2017 - 02:50 PM

Well the router didn't have a setting like DHCP reservation such as I find in my own router. Nevertheless I am pretty confident setting the IP on the printer itself will work. That is what I did with my own printer.
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#10 OFFLINE   Digerati

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Posted 20 September 2017 - 05:43 PM

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Nevertheless I am pretty confident setting the IP on the printer itself will work. That is what I did with my own printer.
Sure, that will work just fine as long as you gave it a higher number than the number of devices that will normally connect (like the x.250 you did for your own printer). If not, then it will be important to make sure the printer is powered up after outages before other devices have a chance to snag that number.
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#11 OFFLINE   raymac46

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Posted 20 September 2017 - 08:24 PM

I usually give the printer a number outside the range of DHCP to be sure.
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#12 OFFLINE   Digerati

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Posted 21 September 2017 - 11:10 AM

Well, I guess if you don't hear from your neighbor any time soon, all is good.
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#13 OFFLINE   raymac46

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Posted 21 September 2017 - 07:20 PM

I'll follow up next week to be sure.
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#14 OFFLINE   Digerati

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Posted 22 September 2017 - 11:44 AM

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I'll follow up next week to be sure.
Huh? You looking for trouble or something? :harhar:
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#15 OFFLINE   raymac46

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Posted 22 September 2017 - 02:39 PM

Checked in today and everything is fine. This neighbor is really a nice guy - gave me a perfectly serviceable Toshiba netbook that is great for travel. So I try to keep him happy.
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#16 OFFLINE   Digerati

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Posted 23 September 2017 - 10:49 AM

It is always good to be on good terms with your neighbors - even if you don't normally socialize with them.
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