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Further, printer maintenance personnel must often be physically present at a printer location to perform certain maintenance tasks, such as changing toner cartridges, cleaning the print engine, etc.
so that it may be convenient to perform other maintenance locally at the printer rather than via remote access.
In some cases, these printers may be accessible, either directly or indirectly, via connecting workstations, so that a network administrator can update printer resident software and/or firmware and perform other maintenance checks, tests, and functions.
However, not all printers are accessible via a network nor are all functions necessarily accessible.
The portable maintenance terminal may be a conventional personal digital assistant (PDA) or other form of portable, preferably handheld, computer programmed to support these maintenance functions.
The peripheral device may be a printer having an integral infrared transceiver.
It often falls to members of an Information Systems or other computer support staff to maintain, not only the workstations, but the peripheral equipment including printers.
The invention provides a portable, handheld maintenance terminal that communicates with a printer using an infrared or other wireless data link.
Both the portable maintenance terminal and all printers include appropriate wireless transceivers to establish a wireless link therebetween.
Such maintenance data may include printer serial number, total pages printed, pages printed since last maintenance, toner level, error codes, results of routine and specialized diagnostic routines, identification of software and firmware used by the printer, etc.
The portable maintenance terminal may include a graphic display showing the relative placement, identification, status, and other information about the peripheral devices and may further guide a maintenance technician to and among the devices and provide instructions for interfacing, uploading, downloading, and performing required preventative, routine and/or suggested maintenance.
According to one aspect of the invention, the transceiver includes infrared (IR) detector and emitter circuitry to receive and send IR signals.