Not just anyone could do a network installation because knowing how to properly run conduit as well as network (Ethernet) cabling and being able to terminate the ends of the wire properly is something that is learned over time. This is something that you cannot do in a rush because if you rush this process, you could possibly miss properly seating a wire in the terminating connector and could come up with a bad connection.
We have run countless amounts of Ethernet cable as well as terminate the wiring. Unfortunately, now with the changes in the Florida State Contractor laws, a technician has to be licensed to pull cable, even though it does not carry electrical current, only data. Therefore, we now have to have our merchant customers hire an electrician to install the PCV conduit and run the wires. If they have the ability, we will also allow them to terminate the cabling.
Once this has been done, we come in and test all of the runs to be sure they were properly terminated and once the tests are complete, we then start to install the network equipment and the workstations that will be hooked up to it. Networks are used when there is going to be more than one workstation, more than one networked printer or a combination of both. If there is going to be more than one networked printer, we then assign an IP address to each networked printer as this will allow every workstation to access those printers.
If we are installing a networked Point-of-Sale system, we have to make sure that each terminal can see the other on the network as well as make sure that each terminal has access to the server software for credit card acceptance.
Installation of a network can be an all day affair, depending on the number of terminals being installed. Then, we will be ready to set up the programming as we usually set up the server software and database so once we set up the rest of the system, all we have to do is copy the software to each terminal and make sure the terminals can read the database on the server. In most POS systems today, the server can actually be a functioning workstation. We just have to make sure that the database is setup to be backed up every night and that the server is the only one of the workstations that should never be shut down when the business closes.
We also make sure in a network installation that there are sufficient UPS’s (uninterruptible power supply) to insure that nothing is lost during a power outage before the system can be shut down.