Need a wireless bridge

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  #1  
Old 08-01-20, 12:27 PM
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Need a wireless bridge

I need to be able to seamlessly move an Aloha restaurant terminal outside every day and have it work without configuring it.

Right now they all run on a CAT 5 10/100Mb network. I want to simply unplug the network cable, plug in something on both ends to be able to move the terminal every day about 75 foot away, within line of sight.

I need the Cat5 to wireless connection to output standard communication to the terminal just like it was connected with the network cable, I can't use the terminals wireless network or wireless protocols and I don't want to have to use a laptop to configure routers on both ends, I just want something that will work seamlessly so the terminal thinks it's plugged into a network cable.

It needs to be a 2-way communication and I'm not worried about high security because the network is not online and the credit card info is encrypted at the terminal before being sent on the network.

I thought I have seen exactly what I need for installing security cameras when a cable can't be run to that location but I have no idea what they are called and if they support 2-way communication.

If anyone can suggest what I need or an easy way to do this I would appreciate it.

Thanks in advance
Dave
 
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  #2  
Old 08-01-20, 12:51 PM
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Q- How are you powering the Aloha?
Q- Do you have lights / cords out there now?

First, have you considered a 100' ethernet cable on an electric cord reel?

Second, I had a similar situation, I needed power for a laptop and needed ethernet BUT was about 60' from a building. I used a standard 100' electric extension cord, (what you'd use to run an electric hedge trimmer or weed-eater) and put it on an cord reel.


At the end I had a 3 plug adapter, and one of a pair of "powerline ethernet adapters" going to a 6' ethernet cable.


At the building I plugged the extension cord into the outlet, plugged the 2nd powerline adapter into the same outlet, and ran an ethernet cable to the powerline adapter (It works best using the same outlet, 2nd best is the same circuit, 3rd best is the same side of the circuit breaker box, otherwise use any plug) Then I just walked the 60' and unwound the extension cord behind me. Reeled up the extension cord when I was done for the day.

Third, you could string fairy lights (e.g. Christmas lights) outside and then plug the powerline adapter into the decorative lighting, then run an ethernet cable from there.
 
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Last edited by Hal_S; 08-01-20 at 01:09 PM.
  #3  
Old 08-01-20, 04:26 PM
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I own a restaurant in California and because of Covid, indoor dinning is not currently allowed. My patio is simply too small to make it worth wile to open.
The city has given me an area outside to use for outside dinning and I have health department and ABC approval to serve food and drinks there so with that area I can at least keep my employees working.

There are a couple outlets in that area that the city will let me use but they are not connected to my restaurant so I don't think that device will work.

In between my restaurant and the outdoor area is a wide pedestrian walkway also used for emergency access, so I can't string a network cable across that area.

Since I can't use a long cable, I want some sort of wireless bridge that in my restaurant plugs into the lan and turns it into a wireless signal, then out at the POS terminal will turn that wireless signal back into a CAT5 cable with the same signal and protocols that came out of the LAN at the other end.

Dave

edit- It doesn't seem like much but adding a couple hundred foot round trip is adding a lot of work for the servers. Having a terminal there would at least save 2 trips per table for printing bills and closing them out alone. Plus not having to walk back to enter every order will save them a lot of time.
My employees are young and in great shape but all this additional walking is adding a daily marathon to thier routine.
 
  #4  
Old 08-01-20, 05:17 PM
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Originally Posted by DaveH55
I want some sort of wireless bridge that in my restaurant plugs into the lan and turns it into a wireless signal, then out at the POS terminal will turn that wireless signal back into a CAT5 cable with the same signal and protocols that came out of the LAN at the other end.
Thanks, that makes things much clearer.

Do you have WiFi in the building? Can you get a signal 75' away?

I ask because any old Windows 10 laptop with WiFi & ethernet can take a WiFi signal and redirect that signal to the ethernet port. It's called "Bridge Mode" and it takes about 1 minute to setup (when it works).

1) On the laptop, login as Administrator, connect the laptop to your local WiFi network. You'll need SSID, type of encryption, and password.
2) Plug in an ethernet cable and connect the Aloha
3) Click "Settings," click "Network & Internet," click "Change adapter options".
4) Click the WiFi adapter and then hold down Ctrl to select the ethernet adapter.
5) Right-click on the WiFi adapter select "Bridge Connection."

That's it. The Aloha SHOULD now be talking to the laptop over the ethernet cable, with the laptop translating ethernet to WiFi. The Aloha should now think that it is connected to the router in the building by an ethernet cable.

If you can't get a WiFi signal at 75' away, there are many "WiFi extenders" however I generally just grab a $10 Westell 327W router, which can be converted to an "access point" that plugs into your network using an ethernet cable and broadcasts a WiFI signal. The combination of #1 an "access point" and #2 a wirless bridge" is what you use to emulate an ethernet connection.

PS, one benefit of using a laptop is that they have their own battery, whereas most wireless bridges need to be plugged in. I'd check through the laptop's power menu and first disable sleep, second disable shutdown when the lid is closed, and third, enable "turn off screen". That means you SHOULD be able to just close the laptop and set the Aloha on top of it, with the laptop continuing to run as a wireless bridge.
 
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Last edited by Hal_S; 08-01-20 at 05:50 PM.
  #5  
Old 08-01-20, 05:57 PM
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I have wifi in the building but it's not connected to the Aloha point of sale system and I don't want it connected for security reasons.

I'm not opposed to creating a separate wifi between the Aloha Lan and the terminal I move, in fact thats what I'm trying to do.

The reason I wanted something to work seamlessly is because the Aloha terminal really isn't a normal computer.
It's a proprietary Posiflex Jiva basic all in one computer that doesn't even have wifi and It's difficult to even get to windows because the operating system is only used as a platform to run the Aloha software and nothing else.

That said, I was thinking about trying to use 2 routers and if I had to, use one of my laptop to configure each of the routers whenever necessary but with this Covid situation and all the extra work involved I wanted to make it as simple as possible and easy enough for a non-computer savy employee to do.
Such as- wheel the cart with everything on it outside, plug it in, turn on the terminal and it simply works.

I thought some device (or pair of devices) were used for security cameras in a similar situation, rather than using wifi, being able to replace a really long cable with 2 ends of a wireless or IR bridge.

Dave
 
  #6  
Old 08-01-20, 06:08 PM
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Actually, I have a brand new wireless router somewhere here and a windows 10 laptop I only use to train employees.

Your saying if I attach the router to the Aloha Lan and create a wifi connection to the windows 10 laptop and use a patch cable to connect the laptop to the Aloha terminal?

If I do that, will the patch cable going into the Aloha terminal be sending and receiving the same network data and LAN protocols going into the router?

 
  #7  
Old 08-01-20, 06:58 PM
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Your saying if I attach the router to the Aloha Lan and create a wifi connection to the windows 10 laptop and use a patch cable to connect the laptop to the Aloha terminal?
Yes.

You will need to reset the router and set it up in "access point mode" which forces the router to take Aloha Ethernet information and translate / broadcasts it as Aloha Wifi.
Generally this only requires 2 pieces of information
1) the Aloha gateway IP address (basically the phone-number the Aloha uses to call in sales)
2) the IP addresses of the various Aloha devices. (you need to the router a phone-number that is NOT used by other Aloha devices)

Generally
1) You start the laptop without an internet connection.
2) You hold a reset button on the router, then connect the laptop to router via ethernet cable.
3) open a web browser and go to the ROUTER setup page, usually 192.168.1.1
4) Setup a WiFi network on the router.
5) Follow the manual to set the router gateway IP address to the same gateway the Aloha uses, probably something like "206.123.121.88"
6) Disable DNS on the router.
7) Assign the router a static IP address using the same first 3 numbers, that is not used by any of the Aloha units. So if the Aloha is "206.123.121.90" then you want the router to be "206.123.121.100"
8) Restart the router. Plug it into the Aloha network.

The router SHOULD now be broadcasting the Aloha network connection information as WiFi.

9) Restart the laptop, turn on WiFi, connect to the Aloha WiFi.
10) Connect laptop & Aloha using ethernet cord.
11) Open settings / network / configure adapter and click WiFi & ethernet, then click Bridge Mode.

That SHOULD result in the Aloha now being connected as if it was directly connected by ethernet.

As with any computer, you may have to restart the router, laptop, or Aloha before they decide to work.

Of course, since the Aloha is proprietary, you might have to call them, or whoever setup the Aloha network, to ask a few questions.



 
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  #8  
Old 08-01-20, 07:43 PM
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Look up wavlink ac600. I have a few running in wired ap mode. It can also be used wireless. It may work for you.
 
  #9  
Old 08-04-20, 08:12 PM
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Holy Cow, it's working Hal_S

I purchased 2 wireless routers and received them today. I'm embarrassed to say I spent 4 hours trying to set them up in bridge mode. I think I may have been close but then ran into IP address conflicts that would lock up my network. Even online I couldn't find any documentation on setting up a bridge with these routers.

Then I did what you suggested in post #7 and had it working in 20 minutes.

I'm doing this inside because we are closed today, I don't have a cart to load everything on it and wheel it across the street but I think the distance is close enough. Thats why I was trying to use 2 routers, I thought it would give a better signal. But I have some extra cables and will move the indoor router as close to the sidewalk as possible if I need to.

I want to test it some more, but everything is working well and I'm confident it will continue to work.

I haven't told any of my employees or my manager yet but I know they will be extremely happy. The girls here are getting worked, it doesn't sound like much when I tell people it's an extra hundred feet, but those trips add up fast.

It will save them 2 round trips alone per table for printing checks and then running the credit card and should save another in ordering drinks. Thats saving 600 feet per table, literally several miles per day.

I can't thank you enough Hal,
I appreciate you taking the time to help me and I hope to somehow return the favor.

Dave




 
  #10  
Old 08-05-20, 03:32 AM
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Originally Posted by DaveH55
Then I did what you suggested in post #7 and had it working in 20 minutes.
First, glad to hear that it worked!

Second, don't feel bad, 4 hours trying to configure routers is about par for the course..

Third, I would quickly do a "disk image" backup on an external hard drive so that you have an EXACT image of the laptop. I like Macrium Reflect for making the image, AND for their rescue-USB creator. Making a disk-image means you can A) restore the laptop to THIS working setup easily, but also B) grab any cheap thrift store laptop and turn it into an Aloha repeater if you need the laptop for something else.

Fourth, I'd suggest tweaking the "power" settings for the laptop. I'd guess that Ideally, you'd be able to start the laptop, close the lid and just leave it running set it underneath/beside the Aloha.
Most laptops have a "do this when the lid closes" setting - I'd set that to "do nothing" so that you can close the lid on the laptop and it keeps running. Most laptops have a "power" menu so I'd do the usual tweaks like turn down the screen brightness to get longer run time, turn ON optimized for battery life"
BUT turn OFF "sleep after X minutes" so you don't have to move the mouse every half hour.

Firth you'll be amazed at how many programs are running in the background.
So, if you have MULTIPLE user logins on the laptop, close out any that aren't running.
those I'd close EVERY program in the taskbar that you see - dropbox, chrome background processes.
Next hit the "win" key, and type "task" - this will bring up a list with "taskmanager" - right click and choose "run as administrator". You might need to click on "more details" then go to the tab for "Processes"
You want to go through and close background programs you don't need, and "check for update" processes. So you're looking for things like Adobe, Dropbox, Browser Update, My Phone, PBS Video, services etc. To do remove them from memory you right click the things like "Adobe Acrobat Update Service" and then click the second line "End Task."
As you go through and clear out all the unnecessary junk, you should see your battery run time increase substantially. If you restart the computer you'll want to clear the taskbar and processes again.

Finally
Originally Posted by DaveH55
But I have some extra cables and will move the indoor router as close to the sidewalk as possible if I need to.
You could leave the current router where it is, set the the "new" router in the window as an "access point" (ethernet signal in, WiFi signal out), and just connect the existing router to the new router/access point with an ethernet cord.
Important points for setting up an access point-
- access point should disable it's DHCP
- access point should use IP address of main router as "gateway"
- access point should use IP address of main router as "DHCP server"
- configure WiFi on Access Point to use the same SSID and password as the regular network
- use a different WiFi channel (e.g if main router is on WiFi channel 7, set the Access point to 3
- set Access Point to a static IP address that doesn't conflict with Aloha router or Aloha POS units.
 

Last edited by Hal_S; 08-05-20 at 05:27 AM.
  #11  
Old 09-13-20, 11:36 PM
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You can also use a hardware wireless bridge instead of a laptop.
Almost any wireless router can be put in a wireless bridge mode and it is much cheaper.
 
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