Things to consider when setting up online ordering

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Things to consider when setting up online ordering

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Installing Online Ordering Provides...
This Online Ordering product includes a web-server package (web server, CGIs, and HTML/CSS pages), that integrate easily with POS Pizza in order to create an online ordering site for your store. Summit Computer Networks, Inc. will help you with the basics and any issues directly related to the online ordering CGIs and basic connectivity to the database server.

Additional On-Site installation/configuration required...
The installation alone DOES NOT provide immediate access to ordering from the internet or a website. To allow access for your customers, ON-SITE router/network configuration is required.

***It is recommended that a network professional is hired to assist with the setup of your online ordering server. Basic knowledge of TCP/IP and routing are needed at a bare minimum. Many ISPs (your internet provider) can assist with this too, or at least some aspects. A professional can do in 15 minutes what would take some people days to do. Even though some of these guys charge more than you may want to pay at first, it will be less costly in the end.

Summit Computer Networks, Inc. CAN NOT support ON-SITE routers, router configurations or other network issues. The reason for this is that there are literally 1000's of different kinds of routers out there each with varying firmware possibilities. Another reason is that setting up this type of thing requires that someone be physically on-site, so that assessments can be made for each unique situation.

You will need the following things in order to install online ordering. First it is strongly recommended to install online ordering entirely on its own computer. It doesn't have to be a server grade computer either. Any low cost or refurbished Windows computer (running XP or newer) that runs relatively fast will do the job. We often get asked, "Can this be installed on one of my POS stations?" and the answer is "yes, of course", but it is not recommended at all. Especially if you are processing credit cards from those same computers. This would be a big no no for PCI compliance. You should really have the online ordering system on its own PC for security purposes. Another great (and strongly recommended) idea is to have it on its own subnet. If the web server is completely isolated (on its own PC and subnet) from the rest of the POS system, then the overall network is much more secure and safe. Nothing is 100% secure, but it's always best to take the best precautions and be diligent in preventing problems that could end up costing thousands in repairs, data loss, and/or liability. Routers that can be segmented into multiple subnets aren't your typical off-the-shelf big box store type routers either, and can cost many times more than your typical low-end router. This isn't required, but again it's a good idea and strongly recommended if you can afford it. After all, this is a business, and not just a home internet connection for surfing and email. If you have questions about what routers to use, please call our support staff because we can go into a bit more detail on this subject. If you do not want to use a business grade router, you can also segment by using 2 regular NAT routers. The first one will connect to the cable modem (or DSL) and be the "primary" router. This one could be used to offer public WiFi to customers if needed as well as serve the online ordering. The online ordering machine will be connected directly to this "primary" router. You will also connect a "secondary" router's WAN port to one of the "primary" router's LAN ports. This "secondary" router should NOT have WiFi enabled at all. There is no need for this! The entire POS system will connect to the "secondary" router's LAN ports (directly or via a network switch) and a port forward will be setup to allow the online ordering server (primary router) to access the database server (secondary router). This puts an extra firewall between the public WiFi / web ordering system segment, and the rest of the POS system. The POS system handles sensitive information like employee records, customer records and possibly SSNs for the employees, and may use credit processing software, so you absolutely want this part of your network to be very secure!

Below is an overview of what steps are taken to install online ordering.
  1. Make sure that the POS Pizza Database Server is already configured on a machine with a static IP on its LAN segment. This is needed so that the web ordering system knows where to locate it at all times. This is especially important when running on multiple segments.
  2. Setup a PC that is to be the online ordering server.
  3. Look at the router's DHCP setting and make a note of the range of addresses being assigned dynamically.
  4. Choose a unique IP address that is part of the same subnet as the router's LAN, but one that will not interfere with the DHCP block (outside of the range) or any other static devices on the network. This may require shrinking the router's DHCP block in some cases. Taking inventory of other static devices may also be necessary. It is always a good idea to write all of this down in one place so that later modifications to the network will be easier.
  5. Manually configure the chosen IP on the online ordering server PC directly in the Windows control panel. This is better than a DHCP reservation and is the recommended method.
  6. Verify that the PC can access the internet using its new IP address.
  7. Log into the Summit forums and download the latest online ordering package for POS Pizza from the PC that it will be run on. Forum access requires an account to be setup by the POS owner ahead of time. Contact Summit Computer Networks if you have questions about this.
  8. Install the online ordering package.
  9. During the Install the IP address of the database server will be automatically detected if it is run from the same subnet. If not you will need to know this ahead of time. On a segmented network, you will want to only allow that access between the segments and nothing more by setting up the appropriate rules in the firewall between the segments or setting up a port forward on the secondary router in a dual router system. You can always temporarily install the management utility or some other client part on this computer to test that connection. If you do this, be sure to remove this client once you have finished testing.
  10. Once this install completes, the web server should be running and able to access the main POS Pizza database server. You can test it by logging into the online ordering server directly at the "localhost".
  11. Run the Management Utility program from one of the other stations and setup the online ordering server's schedule and other settings to suit the site operator's specific needs.
  12. Go to the "Global System Config" and determine which categories should be included online. Exclude any specific items in these categories that you don't want online.
  13. Modify the default template (HTML/CSS) on the server to suit the owner's specific needs. Remember that any images or logos added should be no wider than 320 pixels if you are staying with a mobile friendly theme. You can modify to taste, or not at all. It is entirely up to the site operator. The default "out-of-the-box" setup is very usable as is. The system can also run multiple templates at once if needed (eg. desktop & mobile).
  14. Tweak any menu items so that they are easily understood by the average customer.
  15. Log into the router and create a port forward (sometimes call PAT or port address translation, or virtual servers) that will forward port 80 TCP from the public WAN address to the IP address of the machine that you chose in step e above. This will allow inbound internet traffic to access the online ordering server.
  16. Use an outside system (at home, or a smart phone on 3G/4G) and type in the public IP in a browser and do a test log in to the online ordering server. It should work at this point, if not re-check the router's configuration (port forwarding, and firewall rules).
  17. If you already have a web site, create a button for "order online" that redirects to the PUBLIC WAN IP address. A static IP is strongly recommended. Contact your ISP to get one. A dynamic DNS service may also be used, but a static IP is the best solution.
  18. *Optional: If you have access to the DNS servers for your domain, add a name record that points to your PUBLIC static IP address. Call it something easy like "order". Doing this will allow customers to access the online ordering by using an address like which is easier than using the IP. If you use a button mentioned in step q, you can get away with just the IP.
  19. If you do not have an existing web site, then you will need to point the DNS for the domain to the public IP or use a dynamic DNS name.
  20. IMPORTANT: Update the INDEX file on the online ordering server! One thing that you can do is replace it with a copy of the login file so that the first thing people see is the login for the online ordering system. Another thing would be to simply create a new page here in its place. If you create a new page, make sure that you also leave an easy-to-find link to the login page so that the customers can log in.
The steps above are a complete overview of the setup process. There is no "one size fits all" solution for networks, and certainly those networks that offer web service to the outside world. There are many things to consider like security and keeping private information and the system safe when opening the door to the outside world. Please contact Summit Computer Networks, Inc's tech support if you have any questions.

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