Anybody know about Point of Sale?

Discussion in 'PC Technical Talk' started by Robin Faichney, Mar 9, 2012.

  1. I've been asked to help get a laptop in a shop onto broadband.

    The problem, from my point of view, is that it already has a network
    connection, to the till, and I know absolutely nothing about point of
    sale systems, and next to nothing about putting one computer on two

    Somebody previously tried and failed to get this working, and there
    are two network interfaces on the laptop, one normal direct ethernet,
    the other an ethernet/usb interface. The till is connected to the
    former, but when I temporarily disconnect it and connect a router
    instead, the laptop works fine with the router. Unfortunately, when I
    connect the ethernet/usb interface to the router, the connection fails
    for some reason.

    Seems to me it would be good if the till connected to the router so
    both laptop/till and laptop/internet could use the same interface, but
    I'm reluctant to mess with the POS and I'm told the POS supplier's
    helpline tends not to be very helpful. Any suggestions or ideas? The
    laptop is running XP (don't know whether Pro, sorry) and the POS is
    RePoS (whose website has amazingly little support info).
    Robin Faichney, Mar 9, 2012
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  2. Robin Faichney

    Graham J Guest

    OK we can speculate.

    Does the laptop do anything to/with the till? Is there a program on the
    laptop that works with the till? If not why is it connected? Does the
    till work when not connected to the laptop?

    Ensure you have administrative access to the laptop.

    You could find out whether the Ethernet interface is being used for
    TCP/IP traffic when talking to the till. If so, you might expect to see
    an autoconfiguration IP address, or a dynamically assigned address (as
    described in RFC 1918), or a static address.

    The command IPCONFIG /ALL would be useful. This might also show you
    whether another protocol is being used (e.g. Appletalk)

    It might then be possible to establish whether the till also has an IP
    address: the command ARP -A might be useful here. You might then be
    able to demonstrate that you can ping the till.

    What you do next depends on what you found out. It would be fair to
    assume that the laptop gets an IP address from your router when you test
    that configuration, so when conected to the till it either has an
    autoconfiguration address, or gets its IP address from the till (which
    muth therefore contain a DHCP server)

    If it transpires that the till does not use TCP/IP then it should
    possible to connect it and the laptop each to an ethernet port on a
    multi-port router, and everything will work correctly.

    If the till uses TCP/IP with a static IP address, then one might assume
    that the laptop is also configured with a static IP address - in which
    case the laptop would only have worked with your test router by luck.

    If the till uses TCP/IP and contains a DHCP server then you must disable
    the DHCP service in your router and allocate it a static IP address in
    the till's subnet. Also set a default route in the laptop to point to
    your router.

    If the till uses TCP/IP but relies on an autoconfiguration, it is likely
    that you can connect both till and laptop to a router and have
    everything work without further adjustment.

    If you get an old network repeater (NOT a switch), and connect both
    laptop and till to it, then you should able to use a network analyser
    program running on another machine also connected to the repeater. This
    should tell you everything you need to know.

    Hope this helps.

    -- Graham J
    Graham J, Mar 10, 2012
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  3. There's normally a POS program running on the laptop. Although that
    seems to be for info only -- the till works when it's closed down --
    the till does NOT work properly when disconnected from the laptop, so
    there has to be something else running in the background (I guess).

    I'm not back there until Monday morning. You've given me a lot to
    think about meanwhile -- thanks very much for taking the trouble --
    and I'll print your message off and take it with me on Mon, and report
    back here later.
    Robin Faichney, Mar 10, 2012
  4. Robin Faichney

    Graham J Guest

    If you want to ring me while you are on site, try 07774 894 200
    Graham J, Mar 10, 2012
  5. Thanks a lot!
    Robin Faichney, Mar 11, 2012
  6. The router needed resetting and there was an intermittent
    disconnection on the usb ethernet adaptor. The laptop is now happily
    accessing the web while doing the POS thing. Thanks again.
    Robin Faichney, Mar 12, 2012
  7. Robin Faichney

    Graham J Guest

    So presumably you have the router connected to the USB/ethernet adapter.

    Did you document the settings more throughly so you have something to
    refer to when it goes wrong ...
    Graham J, Mar 12, 2012
  8. Robin Faichney

    Graham J Guest

    I have a different view. I try to understand exactly why something does
    not work, so that I can be sure that any resolution I propose does work
    and stays working - rather than any apparent recovery being due to luck.

    Often, this means that I can resolve subsequent problems over the phone
    rather than having to visit.

    Just my way of doing things ...
    Graham J, Mar 13, 2012
  9. Not entirely sure what you're getting at. Surely you don't think I
    should have tried to find out why the router was failing to
    authenticate the broadband account before it was rebooted? If it does
    that again -- or at least if it does it at all often -- it will get
    replaced, not troubleshot, and the same goes for the only other issue,
    the inter dis adaptor.
    Robin Faichney, Mar 13, 2012
  10. Robin Faichney

    Graham J Guest

    Your initial question didn't indicate that there was a problem with the
    router; but it shows that you have a lot more knowledge about the
    circumstances than you have given us. I understand it's difficult to
    give complete information; and even when one does, most respondents fail
    to read and understand it - so you can't win.

    Personally I would have taken the opportunity to investigate the
    protocols used, and whether the configuration with two separate networks
    is essential to the correct operation of the system.

    I'll shut up now ...
    Graham J, Mar 13, 2012
  11. So will I :)
    Robin Faichney, Mar 13, 2012
  12. Having thought about it, in my own defence, I'll just add this:

    If the POS documentation had been available I would certainly have had
    a look at it, to try to get some perspective on the two networks
    question, but it wasn't, so I'd have had to work it out from the
    settings, on a live system (the till absolutely had to remain fully
    functional), and as it was working fine, it didn't seem worth it.
    Robin Faichney, Mar 14, 2012
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