Ok let me start this by saying at this time I’m awaiting the RMA to send my Lexmark x9350 back to our supplier. We needed a network capable printer to allow us to be able to print from a satellite office to our main headquarters. After doing some searches online we ran across a decent deal on this x9350. It is capable of both wifi and Ethernet connections and offers the normal multi-function printer tools. But after we received it and attempted to install it, the problems started cropping up.
Normally installing a network capable printer is a routine task. Install the drivers, select the port you want to use (tcp/ip), and for the most part go. Yes I’m over simplifying the process, but not by much. Installing the x9350 though wasn’t even close to this procedure. First of all I could not simply add the printer through add printers, even as the administrator. I was forced to use the Lexmark installer, which is a bit odd, but not immediately problematic. However the installer would not see the printer on the network. I could install it just fine with the usb cable, but that defeats the purpose of having it as a network printer, unless I want to chain it to another print server of some form.
So I called Lexmark tech support, and yes, the techs are in India. And while I have no doubt our Indian IT counterparts are more then qualified to handle support calls, it doesn’t make their accents any easier to understand. Nothing personal, and I don’t mean to knock their abilities, but when I’m already frustrated by an unusual and needlessly difficult printer install, it would certainly make things a bit easier if I could readily understand the person trying to help (Are you listening Lexmark????). With that said, they were obviously having a hard time understanding me as well, because even after repeating it a number of times and to a number of tech’s, they kept insisting that I was trying to set this up as a wireless printer. I even asked them to remove any instances of wireless anything from my support ticket, though that proved to be about as futile as this printers ability to connect across the WAN. Finally after stumping a couple of techs I was transferred to network support and got a tech who seemed to speak English as a first language. She again guided me through the install from start to end, only to achieve the same results I did, no x9350 printer in windows printers. She put me on hold to consult another IT staffer, who then told her that all network ink jet printers use MAC address as opposed to TCPIP to simplify the installation and make it easier for the installer to find. MAC addresses are not however route capable and thus I will not be able to use this network printer on our network. Which leaves me at the point I stated at the beginning of this blog post, as I am currently waiting for my RMA to send this printer back to our supplier.
To sum things up, I never was able to use this printer because Lexmark decided to create a port / protocol that is incompatible with the standard tcp/ip port already present in EVERY Operating System. And Lexmark has needlessly hurt their own product by trying to simplify an already easy operation. And for the people who would have difficulties setting up a network printer, those people would have to call tech support anyway, which just makes their attempt at simplifying this process a completely mute point. I will certainly think twice before purchasing a Lexmark printer in the future, and well given the same amount of time to read reviews etc prior to buying a new printer, I’ll just assume Lexmark does not make a product that will fit our business needs and start my search with their competitors. If I were to give them a score between 1 – 10, Lexmark would have to provide me the points to achieve a positive integer.