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Windows 7: Loss of connectivity - Brother color laser printer

15 Mar 2015   #1

Loss of connectivity - Brother color laser printer

My networked Brother printer has stopped communicating with my main computer. and refuses to reconnect to it.

My network is based on a TP-Link TD-W8960N Wireless N ADSL2+ Modem Router, purchased and installed in November 2011. The router has four ports. The connections are:
Port 1: Computer C1, an old i5 desktop running Win7 Pro and now used mainly for backups. It's offline most of the time.
Port 2: Computer C2, an 18-month old-i7 desktop running Win7 Pro. This is my main computer.
Port 3: Disused and apparently faulty. Nothing I've plugged into it will connect to anything else.
Port 4: A 33-month-old Brother HL-4150CDN networked color laser printer.
Until recently I've had no problems with ports 1,2 and 4.

I also use two laptops, wirelessly connected to the network:
L1: An i3 Acer TravelMate running Win7 Pro
L2: An i7 Asus Laptop running Win7 Home Premium

I normally print to the Brother from C1, C2 and L1. I've never printed from L2. A month or so ago L1 started reporting that the Brother was offline. I cured that by deleting the printer from L1 and then re-installing it. After that happened a couple more times I gave up and instead redirected L1 print jobs to "Brother Printer on C2". That worked.

Today I tried to print direct from C2, for the first time for ten days. To my surprise C2 reported that the Brother was offline. I deleted the printer and tried to re-install it. No luck, Windows "Add Device" can't find any new device. I went through the usual permutations of turning everything (including the router) off and restarting, without success.

I also unplugged and then re-installed the Brother's cable to the router - no change. I reloaded C2's Brother printer driver by doing a System Restore to 1 March, when I know I had a working printer (that also eliminated any remote possibility that the problem could be related to the March updates). Still no luck; C1 still insists that the Brother is offline. Thinking that the Brother must have a network card problem I then tried C1, which hasn't been used for perhaps a month. It printed to the Brother quite happily, thus demonstrating the Brother is apparently ok.

I'm now completely confused. This seems to be a network problem of some sort. Can anyone suggest a useful approach?

I hope I've explained enough for to make sense of the problem.


My System SpecsSystem Spec
15 Mar 2015   #2

Win 7 Pro

Brother makes available a network repair utility if something has gone wrong with the config. Saved my bacon a couple of times. From what you say tho, it looks like you have issues with your router/modem. I would shut everything down but C2 and plug the printer into port 1 and see what happens.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
15 Mar 2015   #3


Thanks xips. I'd not previously known about the Brother network repair tool.

I've moved the printer to Port 1 and C1 to Port 4 and then confirmed that the printer was still visible to C1. I then tried running the network repair tool from C2. It still reported that the printer wasn't visible. There are (at least) two possible reasons.

1. The network repair tool is listed by Brother under printer HL-2270DW. There's no such listing under the downloads available for my HL-4150CDN. Therefore I don't know whether the failure is because there's no HL-2270DW on the network (true) or whether the failure means the the tool couldn't find any Brother printer.

2. Must the tool be run from a computer which can already see the printer? That seems unlikely, and I'm not keen on trying it from C1 in case I lose my last remaining link to the printer.

Swapping the computer and printer ports has shown conclusively that the printer, cable and port are all OK. I've also updated the printer firmware, via C1, again without changing the situation. There has to be some sort of network (or firewall?) problem but I've been unable to find it.

I'm running VIPRE 2014 AV (fully updated) on all four computers, and no firewall except Microsoft's built in. At this stage I have no idea how to proceed further, so any suggestions would be most welcome.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

16 Mar 2015   #4

Win 7 Pro

1) I'd contact Brother directly, jeh, to get the definitive answer. I've run 2 different Brother networked printers and both had the nettool utility available under software for each model.

2) Yes, if C1 prints, there is no point in running the utility on C1.

After ensuring the Brother is set as Default printer, you can compare the port settings of C1 and C2. Under Control Panel -> Devices and Printers -> Right click on your Brother Printer and select Printer Properties.The Port tab shows the default printer with a checked box. Highlighting your Brother printer and click the Configure Port button brings up a Configure Standard TCP/IP Port Monitor dialog with protocol details. Using the printing computer as a reference, the inoperable printing computer should have the same settings. There is a Print Test Page on the General tab of the Printer Properties dialog.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
16 Mar 2015   #5

Win 7 Pro

If the port setup check out the next things to check are your firewall and AV. I run comodo internet security which wraps AV, HIPS, firewall and sandbox together. I am not familiar with your AV but you should be able to check if it is blocking any print functions. Most Brother processes begin with br.

There are also 2 services (on my systems) associated with the Brother printer. One of the services is the Brother Admin Utility which you may or may not run. When I was experiencing printing problems, I was able to print test pages via the admin utility which led me to the port setup for the fix. The root cause of my connectivity problem was an installation of another piece of hardware with drivers. The other service I believe is for the status monitor.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
16 Mar 2015   #6


Thanks for both replies. C1 reports the printer port as being BRN001BA....... , while C2 and L1 both show the port as being 192.168.1.nn, where nn is different on the two machines.

This has to be the immediate cause of being unable to print from C2 and L1, but how I got to that situation, and how to fix it, is still a mystery. I assume that a fixed ip address cannot be correct since the router will reallocate local addresses at every boot.

The Firewall within the AV reports the trusted zone as being the full 192.168.1 range, so that doesn't look to be the cause.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
16 Mar 2015   #7

Win 7 Pro

Go ahead and type BRN001BA....... in the Printer Name field and test print.

Like math, there are different paths to the solution. A fixed IP may work if the printer is assigned a static IP in the router.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
23 Mar 2015   #8


Thanks again - using a fixed ip address for the printer fixed it. Still don't know how the problem started though.
Apologies for the slow response. I only got back to the problem this afternoon.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Loss of connectivity - Brother color laser printer

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