SOLVED: Printer Not Waking Up from Sleep Mode

Green Ethernet Switch

A while back our color laser printer became annoying. Every time I went to print something it refused to print. I ended up having to turn it off and on again. Without an off/on cycle it would just sit there in sleep mode.

I don’t print hard-copy nearly as often as I once did, so it didn’t drive me too crazy at first. I just anticipated the step when I needed to print something. Eventually my wife and daughter started printing a lot more often for work/school projects. Having to keep running to the printer to restart it became an annoyance for multiple people.

I never did like our Brother color printer. It leaked magenta toner and left streaks. Plus, it was expensive to use: one of those good deals on the hardware, but they get you big time on the supplies. When I realized I was going to have to spend hundreds of dollars on maintenance soon (drum was near the end of it’s life, plus toner running low) I decided to buy a simple black only laser. Plus, I figured something was wrong with the printer as far as waking from sleep, so maybe a new one would save me the hassle of having to constantly hit the power switch.

Nope. The new HP printer also didn’t wake from sleep. Something else was obviously going on here.

People all over the Internet are complaining because their printers will not wake from sleep. I found no solutions posted anywhere.

My first thought was it must be a networking issue. The only piece of gear between the computer and the printer was a network switch.  An energy efficient network switch. And how do those switches save energy? They cut power on unused ports. You probably see where I’m going with this.

I decided to do some research on a similar topic. I found that people were having problems using wake-on-lan (WOL) with some green switches. WOL is a method of remotely waking a sleeping computer by sending it a WOL data packet. It appears some green switches would simply not send any data down a line with a sleeping device on the other end. Feature or bug? BUG! It broke the WOL standard. Luckily there’s a large enough hacker community that plays around with WOL for computers. That community dioscovered the WOL problem, and I was able to make the connection to my printer issue. My assumption was that if a computer wouldn’t receive a WOL packet while sleeping, a printer wouldn’t wake to receive printout data while sleeping either.

I replaced the naughty trickster D-Link DGS-2208 with a business level HP ProCurve 1410-8G which was known to handle WOL correctly. The laser printers are back to printing instantly! No more running to the printer to power cycle them.

The new switch is still an energy saving switch. It’s just a properly engineered energy saving switch. So, before you buy a green wired network switch make sure it’s WOL compatible.

Update 8/15/2020:

I recently redid my network and have two laser printers (Canon Color and HP B&W) connected to a TP-Link TL-SG108
switch. This switch works perfectly with both printers, so if you need a new switch to replace your old switch, this is an excellent low-cost option that is working perfectly for me.


  1. Sir, Thank you very much for sharing this information, your experience. Thanks to this, I have solved my WOL problems in my office. Please, don’t delete this post, as some times is difficult to find solutions as easy and well explained like this.

  2. Alvaro Gil

    Wow. All these years, I could not figure out the printer sleep issues and computers inability WOL. Thank you so much! Thank you for sharing.

  3. Rob

    you are awesome. I have been trying to troubleshoot this on and off for almost a year. Bother was useless and provided no help. Like you, my wife and daughter have had a lot of documents to print over the last month and it has been driving everyone nuts having to reset the printer. that is if reseting worked. I had to devolve to having everyone bring their laptop to the printer and print via USB cable. thank you so much.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.