Network Your Printer with the Hawking PN7127P

Printers: cheap, networked or color—pick two. Right?

Like many home office users, I have a network-capable laser printer, and I appreciate being able to print conveniently from anywhere on the network. Until I needed color.

A network-capable color printer would have broken the money and space budgets, besides being total overkill for occasional color use. Unfortunately, inexpensive inkjets, such as the HP DeskJet 5550 that we chose for its print quality and free software driver, tend to have only USB and parallel ports.

Hawking PN7127P 1-Port Mini-Internet Print Server to the rescue. This tiny printer server mentioned Linux on the box, an encouraging sign. The price, around $60 at an electronics mega-store, was reasonable too. Besides Linux, it supports Novell NetWare, Microsoft Windows, UNIX and Apple Mac OS.

The Hawking unit connects easily to HP's parallel port, without a cable. Besides the printer connection, there is a connector for the +5V wall wart and an RJ45 for Ethernet. A green “link” LED comes on when the network is connected, and a yellow “status” LED flashes for power-on self tests and error conditions.

A FAQ item on Hawking's site explains how to assign the unit an IP address. Go to any Linux system on the LAN and do this as root:

arp -s 00:40:01:20:70:ad

where is the IP address we want to assign, and 00:40:01:20:70:ad is the MAC address. Hawking conveniently prints the MAC address on a label placed on the unit. After the unit sets its address as given in the arp command, you can ping it. Better yet, you can point your web browser at it and set up such features as SNMP and DHCP. I chose to put it on DHCP so it is consistent with all the other computers and devices on the network.

A later look at the manual revealed that although most of the manual is devoted to cumbersome point-and-click navigation through proprietary OS dialogs, the arp command also is documented. Because of the PN7127's clean design, nothing about setting it up requires any software installation on your Linux hosts nor the use of any other OS.

The web interface is thorough and well-designed. You should certainly, however, check to make sure the unit is installed in private address space and not where it is reachable from the outside.

Ready to Print

The only hard part about setting up this box was finding the space to fit its wall wart into an overcrowded power strip. I use Ghostscript with hpijs to convert PostScript files to the format used by the HP printer and the handy rplr utility to test print them over the net without having to change the lpd setup. You can try this or, if you want to do it the easy way, simply set up another network printer in your distribution's printer setup tool.

Depending on your printer and distribution version, you may need to get a more recent version of hpijs. I had to do an upgrade to get the version that supports the HP DeskJet 5550. If you're already using the printer when it's directly attached to a Linux system's parallel or USB port, however, you shouldn't have to change anything in the Ghostscript or hpijs department.

The Hawking PN7127P solves an important problem—connecting multiple systems to one printer—in a refreshingly straightforward and platform-neutral way. By thinking ahead and building a unit based on standards, Hawking has done home Linux users, and those with a diversity of systems, a useful service.

Don Marti is editor in chief of Linux Journal.



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Re: Network Your Printer with the Hawking PN7127P

Anonymous's picture

If you forget the password use PSAdmin with the password PSPASS

Re: Network Your Printer with the Hawking PN7127P

Anonymous's picture

I bought one of these also, based on the review.

One thing to watch out for -- the user set password is only six characters long. It allows you to enter an eight character password, then truncates it to six characters. Try entering the eight character password again and it will fail.

Also, I found nothing that would allow you to reset the password if it ever is lost. Write this one down in a *very* safe place!

Re: Network Your Printer with the Hawking PN7127P

Anonymous's picture

You can reset the password by using PSAdmin and using the password PSPASS

Re: Network Your Printer with the Hawking PN7127P

Anonymous's picture

I have one of these also.

I too found out the hard way after I had forgotten my password, that recovering your password is nearly impossible or is it..........

What I found out is that if your firmware is at rev 5.61 then you can capture the config.txt using TFTP. Open and look closely at config file because the very 1st line will look like this

naturaly I have changed my PRINT SERVER NAME (PRTSRVNM) and PASSWORD (PSSWRD)

What I can tell you is that even if there is a password set you can still push the firmware update again(using TFTP), which will refresh your firmware code or update it. Then you can capture the config.txt to reveal your password.

What is upsetting about this is that anyone can capture your password(using TFTP) if you are at 5.61. This may be way is only listing firmware 5.51 on their site and I think they have discontinued this model.

I am considering back leveling my firmware to hawkingtech

Re: Network Your Printer with the Hawking PN7127P

Anonymous's picture

I found out about this problem too late. I re-entered with the first 6 characters of the original 8 and still had no success. Any idea on how the truncate decides it's cut?



Re: Network Your Printer with the Hawking PN7127P

Anonymous's picture

I am having this problem as well. Has anyone seen a solution?

Re: Network Your Printer with the Hawking PN7127P

Anonymous's picture

Instead of connecting by http, try telnet. It will ask you a password. Start typing it, don't finish with . As soon as enough symbols are entered, it will let you in. Just remember that you have typed and use it as the password for http connection.

Re: Network Your Printer with the Hawking PN7127P

Anonymous's picture

my problem was that the password was invalid (some bizzare string overflow I think)

I was able to hack hpsutil ( )

so that IT would set the password. if you run it w/o options it'll broadcast for your hawkings and then show you config info about them (including the password!)

check it out.

Re: Network Your Printer with the Hawking PN7127P

Anonymous's picture

I was wondering if you could share your hack with me. I am having the same problem. When I scan for the password, I get {}{ywus} in that field, but when I try to input the "}{ywus" into the admin utility, it doesn't work.

If you want, you can just send it to



Re: Network Your Printer with the Hawking PN7127P

Anonymous's picture

Sorry, that should be:

Re: Network Your Printer with the Hawking PN7127P

jhcaiced's picture


I have got one of this print servers, they work well but

unfortunately they are missing access control features.

When you install the print server, anyone

can send jobs to the print server if they know the name or IP

I own an HP4500DN with a HP JetDirect card, one of the

nice features of this is the ACL list, you can limit which IPs

can send jobs or control the printer, this is useful since this

is a Color LaserJet printer and every page is expensive, so

only some machines and accounts can send jobs.

I have asked about this issue to the Hawking Technical Support

and got the following answer:



If you don't setup the computers that you don't want to

print to the print server, this should be fine. The IP

addresses all depend on your network. This print server

does not have any features that prevents computers from

accessing it.


Hawking Technical Support (CH)


Re: Network Your Printer with the Hawking PN7127P

prensing's picture

Some of the SMC Barricade DSL routers have a printer port (parallel) built in. It actually provides a Unix LPD network interface, so printing from Windows requires an extra driver (supplied)!

About a year ago, these were running around $100. You get a 4 port switch, firewall, print server, plus they have outgoing Ethernet or automatic dial up.

A nice deal for the price.

Re: Network Your Printer with the Hawking PN7127P

Anonymous's picture

Good article, but isn't this similar to HP's JetDirect interfaces? How is this one different aside from the cost-factor?

Re: Network Your Printer with the Hawking PN7127P

dmarti's picture

Do the HP boxes have a web interface, or do you have to install proprietary client software to control them?

The Hawking box supports SNMP too, though I haven't tried that functionality.

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