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I’ve posted an update about serious DHCP problems with this unit.

Last week my mother’s printer died, and she asked me to find a new one for her. After a quick look on NewEgg (sort by ratings is a wonderful thing) I found the Brother HL-2170W. Aside from having a wireless interface (only a security hole, as far as I’m concerned) it seemed pretty cool - tiny B&W laser, Ethernet, PCL6, 23ppm, 32 MB RAM, 250 sheet capacity and 2400x600 dpi. So, for a mere $99 USD, I bought it for her.

When the printer showed up, I was a bit let down to find no sticker bearing the MAC address on either the box or the printer itself - and given the one-button hard control, there wasn’t a way to manually print a config sheet. So, after plugging it into the network and using the DHCP logs to give it a static assignment, a quick reboot of the printer had everything working. As usual, I skipped to the last few pages in the installation manual, and found the ½ page section on the web interface. Configuration was pretty simple - change the admin password, disable a bunch of unneeded services, etc. And then, when playing around with the admin interface, I found a bit of a holy grail - there in the enable/disable services screen were two options that I found unusual for a “personal” printer; Telnet and SNMP. I immediately tried both. An snmpwalk revealed the usual (RFC1213, HOST-RESOURCES, and Printer-MIB) including information on status and consumables. Though the Telnet login process wasn’t terribly intuitive, “help” revealed familiar set/show/clear functionality as well as an option to zero out counters. While I was a bit let down to see that there wasn’t a way to view consumable status or printer status, it did allow access to every conceivable configuration parameter, including a few that weren’t mentioned on the web interface.

All in all, while I can’t comment about reliability or quality yet, this cute little printer seems to have quite a feature set, especially when it comes to manageability and remote troubleshooting (a good thing for any printer that’s used by a family member who you support). And best of all, it supports IPP and LPR.


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