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Remote (off site) kitchen printing


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#1 DCS

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Posted 08 July 2015 - 07:50 AM

Just had an enquiry from a customer who is expanding - they are opening a larger kitchen for take away orders. But it's in a different building, which is '500 yards away' apparently. There is one touchpoint terminal in the existing building, and intention is just a kitchen printer at the kitchen side. There's no way to get a cable/fibre between them, and no line of sight for a possible wireless link. They do plan to have broadband installed into both locations, so what is the best way to tackle this?

 

1) IP printing and port forwarding publicly over the internet (think I read a thread on here ages ago where someone tried that with limited success)?

2) VPN between the two broadband connections?

3) Some other method??

 

Is there an issue with latency when routing IP printers via the internet/vpn? If so, can the timeouts be reconfigured in TouchPoint?



#2 lurk

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Posted 08 July 2015 - 07:50 AM

The problem with connecting something like a printer to a publicly accessible port on the Internet is that things will connect to it and try to talk to it. You don't really want several feet of gibberish coming out of a kitchen printer at unexpected times.

We did try it about a million years ago and it worked just fine in the office, not sure I'd want to trust it in the real world though.
'When I use a word,' Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, 'it means just what I choose it to mean neither more nor less.'

#3 DCS

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Posted 08 July 2015 - 07:50 AM

Was there any issue with timeouts and/or offline (e.g. paper out) responses coming back? That would be my biggest concern.

 

Some routers let you filter the source IP address, which I guess would make it more secure.



#4 lurk

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Posted 08 July 2015 - 07:50 AM

It connects to the printer and sends it an "offline status request" before it prints, so as long as the printer tells the truth to that it'll know it's offline

I don't remember having any problems but it was ~8 years ago and we literally just set it up to see if it was possible. Hopefully someone else has tried it more recently and has some more useful advice.
'When I use a word,' Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, 'it means just what I choose it to mean neither more nor less.'

#5 Mr Col

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Posted 08 July 2015 - 07:50 AM

You have 2 issues.

 

1. the first thing that the till does to connect to the printer is ping it.  When that's over a public IP address it will actually be pinging the remote router, not the kp.  This isn't a massive issue, it just means that for the first part of the check it will show as being online when it might not be.  Then in that case when it actually goes to physically connect to it, you might find the till pause/hang for a bit whilst it waits for a TCP time out.

 

Using it over a VPN would resolve this issue, though imo I don't think it poses a big enough problem to make it worth the effort.

 

2. What Steve said about the gibberish.  We ran an IP printer here and left the port exposed to the internet for about a year and only ever had remote bots connect to it about half a dozen times.

 

Again running it over a VPN would resolve this issue too  :)



#6 SimonTS

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Posted 08 July 2015 - 07:50 AM

Would it be simpler / more reliable to use a Kitchen Video instead of a physical printer?

Old PC, running VPN tunneling back into the main site.

I haven't played with the KV system much, although I like what I have seen; it may be worth a thought.

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#7 POSitality

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Posted 08 July 2015 - 07:50 AM

Yeah, I'm thinking of the sequence for Ethernet printers :)

 

It would be nice if TP could be set for a choice of DTR/DSR, RTS/CTS, XOn/XOff and Tx Only. There have been a few times where I've just had a few wires running about a pub, and while the minimum of 4 (Tx,Rx, DTR, Gnd) is okay, more options are always good.

 

Reading the Epson TM-U220 manual there seems to be a primitive one-to-many system whereby the printer is controlled by DTR/DSR and a pole-display uses RTS/CTS, i.e. the target device ignores the Tx/Rx lines unless its particular control lines are lit up! 

 

I'd rather see support for these sort of weird hardware scenarios than 'Orrible Piece Of Shite (OPOS) :D


Just 'cos I live under a bridge an' I'm partial to curried goat people seem to wanna be like, judgemental, about me on forums :(


#8 Mr Col

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Posted 08 July 2015 - 07:50 AM

You only need 3 wires :)

TouchPoint never uses Rx

And also you have a choice between DTR and CTS, it only needs one