Monday, May 17, 2010

IP Addressing Horror Stories

In this post I'll be sharing some of the most bizarre ways to configure network devices. These are all devices I've personally encountered and had to figure out.

Phaser 360 Printer

The way you configure almost anything on this printer is by using PostScript templates that are provided on a floppy. You take the template, edit the variables within the PostScript file with a text editor, save the file, and "print" it to the printer. This includes things such as the IP address.
Here is part of the Xerox Documentation — scroll to the utility files section.

Brother Wireless Printer HL-2170W

Admittedly, this printer will also work when plugged in to a network, but in the remote office I was sent to to install this, there was no ethernet connection to use, and I had few tools with me. The way to go about the configuration was to reset the printer, set a laptop to Ad-Hoc wireless mode on the printer's wireless channel, connect to the printer, configure it with the Brother utility disk, restart the printer and hope the settings were right, because if they weren't you had to reset the printer again, change the laptop wireless settings again, and start over.

Axis Cameras, Ethernet to Serial Converters, Signage Devices...

Ah, the joys of reverse ARP. Instead of having the device DHCP an address like any sane piece of embedded hardware, you have to manually hard code an ARP entry into a computer on the same subnet as the devices. You then telnet/ping/whatever the device, which causes an Ethernet frame with the device's MAC address and its intended IP address to be broadcast to the network. The device will (hopefully!) see this Ethernet frame, learns its IP address from it, and be on it's merry way.