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A possible fix for unreliable printing over Airport Printers
I've had an Canon iP5000 printer linked up to my AirPort Express for remote printing. It has never worked reliably: on long complex jobs it would just stop printing in the middle of a page. Well, now some early testing of a possible fix has allowed me to print long, complex jobs without the printer stopping in the middle. I'm happy, and will test the solution more over the next few weeks. Although not yet thoroughly tested, I thought I'd share my solution now, given how well it seems to be working.

What I did

I set up the firewall installed in Mac OS X to limit the bandwidth of the connection to the AirPort, so that print jobs go more slowly to the printer. This is easy to do, once you know how (detailed below).

Why I did it

Looking at the traffic between Mac OS X and the printer using Eavesdrop (nice tool, thank you), I noticed at the same point in the conversation that the printer would stop. Let me be clearer: it was always at a particular point in the protocol, not the same point in the job. I guessed, and it was a guess (don't know if it's correct), that traffic was heading over to the printer too quickly and it just couldn't cope.

Read the rest for the details on how I limited the connection speed to the printer...

How I did it:

Looking through some manual pages if ipfw and dummynet, I saw you could limit bandwidth on a network connection with very fine granularity. The possible fix is, then, to limit the connection to the printer over the AirPort Express (and I guess Extreme) to a very low bandwidth. From Terminal, I typed in the following:
sudo ipfw add pipe 1 ip from any to 192.168.1.3 10000
and then
sudo ipfw pipe 1 config bw 1Mbit/s queue 10
Now, these were adapted from the man pages and I'm no expert, and so I can't be sure they're the correct or best settings. Here's what I think they do. The first command states that any traffic to 192.168.1.3 on port 10000 (that's my AirPort Express device, remote usb printing port) should be put in a pipe for processing. The second command states that the pipe should have a maximum bandwidth of 1Mbit/s, which is relatively slow for my network (usually runs at max 54Mbit/s). (Honestly, I don't know what the queue 10 does.)

Now jobs go to the printer happily. It's a bit slow, and sometimes slows to a line at a time, but I can live with that, and I will experiment with higher bandwidths.

Of course, this may not work for you. It may hurt your machine in ways I don't want to be, and won't be responsible for. It may not work with your printer: I don't have others I can test. But I can print again. If you want to experiment, feel free to comment with your results and settings.
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I also have this Canon/Airport problem
Authored by: SWCarson on Jan 22, '07 11:31:13AM

Thank you thank you thank you for this hint! This has been driving us crazy. I talked to Apple and to Canon (I have a Canon i860) some time ago and got no where. These are exactly our symptoms... The jobs from the computer that prints via wireless will just stop in the middle. (The jobs from the computer that is plugged into our Airport Extreme Base Station via Ethernet cable have no problem). I will try this out.

If anyone has any other clues on this problem, please post!

I wonder if this is specific to Canon printers, by the way. That would be worth knowing.



[ Reply to This | # ]
A possible fix for unreliable printing over Airport
Authored by: lantzn on Jan 22, '07 01:07:18PM

I wouldn't be surprised if this was a Canon issue. We run a Mac/PC based shop and have had nothing but issues with the Canon Mac drivers for our W8400.
The Canon rep has told us that they were hit really hard when Apple released Tiger. They have been trying to fix drivers ever since.



[ Reply to This | # ]
A possible fix for unreliable printing over Airport
Authored by: lewsmind on Jan 22, '07 01:48:02PM

Canon has horrible Tiger support. At one point I searched and searched for the updated driver on their website. There was a link that was supposed to allow me to download it, but it gave an error every time. Finally I realized that someone hadn't coded it correctly, and the link was pointing to the wrong page. After hand-typing the correct address I was able to download the link. What a painful, and completely unnecessary, process.



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an HP problem, too
Authored by: sr105 on Jan 22, '07 02:26:08PM

First, Thank You So Very Much!

It has always been a thorn in my side that anytime I tried to print an 8x10 photo to my HP 7760 (via airport) it would always hang partway through. What made it worse is that Windows XP using the Apple Bonjour drivers works flawlessly (not to mention XP's better all around support for photo printing built in to the OS, itself).

Thank you, thank you, thank you.



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A possible fix for unreliable printing over Airport
Authored by: gretver on Jan 23, '07 01:59:37PM

Wow!

That really helps! You just saved me from throwing my HP printer out, nah through the window...

I fiddleld with the setings and found that for me

sudo ipfw pipe 1 config bw 12Mbit/s queue 10

worked best. I figured since USB1 is using that speed, that wouldn't be problem. The printer now prints as fast as ever, but just doesn't stop anymore...



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A possible fix for unreliable printing over Airport
Authored by: jgh23 on Jan 25, '07 06:26:27AM

I've changed my settings to the 12Mbit/s. I've also done away with the

'queue 10'

bit, and will see if that makes a difference.

Many thanks for your comment!

Jon



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A possible fix for unreliable printing over Airport
Authored by: danmannus on Jan 25, '07 11:21:44AM

I use an Canon i900D and have had this problem since OS10.4. I used the 12Mb speed and for the first time since then I have managed to print a full photo without stopping. Thanks for solving this problem. You should tell Apple and Canon!

---
diem



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A possible fix for unreliable printing over Airport
Authored by: jgh23 on Jan 25, '07 12:19:28PM

Dear diem,

Thanks for this. It's good to know that there's a few Canon printers that work.

Best wishes, Jon
(jgh23)



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A possible fix for unreliable printing over Airport
Authored by: danmannus on Feb 07, '07 05:50:50AM

Thanks to you for solving what Apple and or Canon couldn't

---
diem



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A possible fix for unreliable printing over Airport
Authored by: silverdr on Jan 27, '07 05:42:09AM

Huh! For more than a year I had to use a workaround to this very same problem, which was to share the printer with another computer, which had the printer connected via USB. This way the airport printing always went through the computer. Obviously every remote print job required booting/waking up the "proxy" computer :-( If your solution works - you certainly deserve kudos for finding the culprit. Now they should eventually have no more excuses for fixing this heavily annoying bug. Please notify Apple, HP and Canon and all the hundreds of unhappy people on discussions.apple.com...



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A possible fix for unreliable printing over Airport
Authored by: Bruno Grieco on Jan 27, '07 10:48:24AM

I'm also experiencing issues with printing over Airport, but in my case, the USB HP printer is connected to an iMac wired to a DLink wireless router.
The iBook connected thru the airport (801b) , sometimes loses the connection to the printer. It doesn't seem to be a wifi signal problem, cause it's only 2 feet away in the same room. And since the print server is running on the iMac, it shouldn't have a bandwith problem.



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A possible fix for unreliable printing over Airport
Authored by: jgh23 on Jan 29, '07 04:40:15AM
With the help of those that have commented, and some on discussions.apple.com too, it looks like
sudo ipfw add pipe 1 ip from any to <IP Address of AirPort Base Station> 10000
(filling in the IP Address of the Airport Base Station that the printer is connected to) and then
sudo ipfw pipe 1 config bw 12Mbit/s
allow modern printers to work at the more normal USB printer speed of 12Mbit/s. (You can always try the fall back 1Mbit/s, if the connection is still too fast.)
Thanks to all who have replied.

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Permanence of this fix?
Authored by: MonMonque on Jan 29, '07 06:26:08PM

Quick question (hope people are still reading this thread!): Is this fix permanent, or only until a logout/reboot?

Mon



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Permanence of this fix?
Authored by: jgh23 on Jan 30, '07 06:16:06AM

I know that it does not last through a reboot. I don't know about logout without reboot.

Best wishes, Jon
(jgh23)



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A possible fix for unreliable printing over Airport
Authored by: r e m y on Apr 21, '07 02:50:59PM

I would have 2 questions about this fix....

1 - Is it permanent, or should we apply it after every start of the Macintosh?

2 - What about AirportDisk? Will this printing fix only limit the bandwith to the Printer, or will it also limit the bandwith available for communications with the usb Disk plugged on a usb hub on an Airport Extreme base????


And finally, if the fix is permanent, how can we restore the default settings?

Thanks to all for any answer



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A possible fix for unreliable printing over Airport
Authored by: r e m y on Apr 22, '07 11:11:09PM
I've wrote a little Applescript to set this bandwith limitation at every start of the Mac (these settings arent' kept when the Mac is shut down)
Feel free to download it there
http://idisk.mac.com/remyleroy/Publi...imitation.scpt

Just edit the script using AppleScript Editor and change
type_your_Airport_base_station_IP by the correct IP address of your Aiport Base Station (mine is 10.0.1.1)
and
write here your admin password by your Admin password (between quotes)

Save this script as an application and launch it after every start of the Mac

Note that this script only reproduces what is explained in this thread. I'm not a specialist of these Terminal and Unix settings..... but if you've tested the fix and you noticed that it works for you, this script will allow you to automate it instead of typing these 2 command lines in the Terminal at every start.

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A possible fix for unreliable printing over Airport
Authored by: r e m y on Apr 22, '07 11:13:17PM
Yet another way to automate it at startum: Airprintfix
Authored by: Herve5 on May 18, '07 10:50:12AM
In addition to the way proposed by Remy above, this is just to mention there is also Airprintfix, http://www.macupdate.com/info.php/id/24661 , that implements almost these very two commands into a startupitem. Once installed in the right place (and the authorization properly reset), you can forget it forever :-)

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A possible fix for unreliable printing over Airport
Authored by: Bruno Grieco on May 29, '07 07:14:08PM

Thanks, it worked great.

This seems to be a problem not with the airport base station but with the airport card itself.
I use this hint to fix the problem with a printer (HP 6980) connected directly thru a router.

I tried AirPrintFix, but it didn't work as expected, it was never executed due to privileges problems.

So I wrote an Applescript to correct it, saved as an application and included it into the user's login's items thru the prefferences panel.

The applescript is :
<code>
do shell script "sudo ipfw add pipe 1 ip from any to x.x.x.x pppp" password "your password" with administrator privileges
do shell script "sudo ipfw pipe 1 config bw 2Mbit/s queue 10" password ""your password"" with administrator privileges
</code>

where x.x.x.x is the printer's ip and
pppp is the printer's bonjour service port ( find it out with bonjour browser )

HTH





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A possible fix for unreliable printing over Airport
Authored by: jgh23 on Jun 01, '07 07:54:24AM

I'm sorry that AirPrintFix didn't work for you. Its main advantage over an applescript is that it doesn't need a copy of your password, and is automatically there whenever anyone logs in.

If you can describe the problems that meant it didn't work, I can try to fix them in AirPrintFix.

Best, Jon Hall
(This hint's, and AirPrintFix's, author)



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Airport interference fixed
Authored by: kd4ttc on Apr 28, '08 06:12:47AM
I was also having problems. In my case just having an Airport on the network was a problem. Symptoms were print job would die partway through the job with communications error 306. I have a Canon Pixma iP 3300. If the Airport was disconnected from the network the printer would print and reconnecting the Airport caused the problem to recur. There are some comments on the net about Bonjour being an issue but I couldn't turn off Bonjour. Changing file sharing didn't help. I then applied the ipfw solution and now no printer problems. I only did the throttling to the airport with
sudo ipfw add pipe 1 ip from any to 10.0.1.1 10000
for this to work. I did not have to throttle the connection to the printer. 10.0.1.1 is my airport ip address. I have an old classic airport, the flying saucer/gumdrop device with the das blinkenlichten (blinkenlights).

---
Steve Holland

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A possible fix for unreliable printing over Airport
Authored by: jimTucson on Feb 07, '09 03:54:27PM

Finally found this solution after years of living with the problem, and THANK YOU!

Just want to add one odd detail. I have two Tiger iMacs (Intel and PPC) with a Canon iP5200 attached to an ABS. The Intel beast is wired to the network, and the PPC beast is wireless. I have never had a problem printing from the wired system and have problems at least 50% of the time from the wireless system. If this is purely a "too much bandwidth" problem, why isn't it a problem for both systems?

Also, the PPC wireless system is forced to use 802.11g since it can't use the newer 802.11n cards. Is it a problem in the card on the PPC, or perhaps with how the ABS handles 802.11g? I've got a MacBook with an 802.11n card, and while I've never had problems printing from it through this same ABS I don't do that very often.

I must also echo the complaint of an earlier poster that Apple hasn't fixed this.



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A possible fix for unreliable printing over Airport
Authored by: kd4ttc on Feb 23, '11 10:12:34PM

Another idea. I have had this problem off and on for years. It depends on Airport being on the network. On a lark I went to System Preferences -> Netwrork, selected Ethernet and clicked on Advanced ... on the lower right. There I selected Ethernet, and set the following: Configure Manually, Speed 100baseTX, full-duplex, MTU Standard. The essential change was to switch from "Full-duplex with flow control" to "full-duplex". Clicked OK, then Applied. No problems since but for a short time. Forgive me if this is premature, but I wanted to log this before I forgot what I did. Any follow up reports would be appreciated.

---
Steve Holland



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A possible fix for unreliable printing over Airport
Authored by: kd4ttc on Mar 25, '11 05:16:10PM
After several weeks this appears to be a durable fix. If anyone else can confirm this is will be very helpful. --- Steve Holland
---
Steve Holland
Edited on Mar 25, '11 05:17:33PM by kd4ttc


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