Networking Multiple Locations Best Practices
Read the Networking Best Practices as a starting point. Building a network infrastructure for multiple locations may be for several reasons. You may have a second retail establishment, a warehouse, have remote administration requirements or just allowing sales people to dial in from a hotel room.
Who should read this
Your technical IT person that will be configuring or maintaining your network. This may be the company that you are purchasing your hardware from or the person that is going to get your workstations talking to each other and to a server if required.
Normally the database and application will reside at a “head office” server that the remote locations connect into. This connection can be in several forms with Terminal Services being the recommended solution.
- Windward Polling Application windward_polling.pdf (RECOMMENDED with fast-paced POS environment and less than optimal internet
- Microsoft Terminal Services windward_terminalservices.pdf (RECOMMENDED with commercial grade internet at head office and remote locations)
- Microsoft remote desktop (NOTE: Requires an un-used workstation on the same LAN as the data for each connection)
- Purchase hardware that is a currently supported Microsoft compatible server.
- Microsoft Small Business (SBS) server does NOT allow user based terminal server sessions and can not be used for this purpose. Purchase Standard or Enterprise server solutions.
- A VPN network is recommended but not required unless using integrated credit / debit card processing for PCI compliance. DO NOT USE VPN FOR DIRECT DRIVE MAPPING
- Use of strong passwords is strongly recommended
Some Useful articles on Securing your Physical Location
- There are some known issues printing through terminal services. Printers that serve multiple purposes will sometimes have printer drivers that are not supported under 2003 server. Also, Windows 2008 Server introduced the Terminal Services Easy Print printer driver, which also causes several issues with slip printers and label printers across a Terminal Services network, that will require a third party printing solution to over come the issues. http://thinprint.com and http://www.terminalworks.com/ have solutions to address these issues.
A BETTER SOLUTION
Ideally if you are planning to run System Five over terminal services, plan on purchasing networkable printers that have built in network cards, and configure your remote locations to connect using a VPN with fixed (static) external IP Addresses. In this manner, all printers look like they are on the same network, and the remote computers will print to them as though they exist on the server's local network. Also the only driver involved would be the one on the server, so the Microsoft Easy Print Driver will not intercept the print job. This is more reliable, and easier to configure and maintain the connections than trying to use remote printing. This method would apply to both laser printers and thermal receipt printers.
Updated by Steve Wind March 16 2016