POS printer remote access: setup user guide for POS remote device

Olga Weis

Any Point-of-sale (POS) installation that you come across is bound to be comprised of a number of electronic components. You will find barcode scanners, cash registers, receipt printers, and other devices all connected to each other to form the POS system. A manager will want to gather data from these devices to their computer for daily analysis. Today we will look a little more closely at the POS printer.

Contents

  1. What is a POS printer
  2. Remote POS printer access software solution
  3. How to set up hardware connections for a remote POS printer
  4. Conclusions

What is a POS printer


The printer is a critical component of most POS systems. A POS receipt printer is used in retail establishments to create customer receipts and credit card transaction slips. These types of printers are also employed to print orders in a restaurant’s kitchen or bar.

The most common types of receipt printers fall into three categories: thermal printers, dot matrix printers, and inkjet printers.

POS printer

Thermal printers are the most common type of printer used in POS systems. They are more expensive than dot-matrix printers and usually cost between $300 to $500. Thermal printers are favored due to the quality of printing, speed, and reduced noise during operation. This makes them perfect for use in a shop or restaurant. The printer functions by using a special thermal paper that is coated to be sensitive to heat. Direct contact between the paper and the heat-generating printer head create the receipt.

Dot-matrix printers are the most economical choice in a POS printer. Also called impact printers, the operating costs are negligible, consisting of simply replacing paper and ribbons. Characters are printed with an ink ribbon which interacts with a print head that has small pins mounted on it. Series of dots are transferred to the paper forming letters and numbers.

Inkjet printers are the most expensive option as the replacement ink cartridges are costly. These printers work by their printheads shooting tiny drops of ink onto the paper. They are great if you need exceptional quality for color logos, customer coupons or other specialized printing requirements.

Managers of POS systems need to be able to access a remote receipt printer. POS systems that are cloud-based can handle this, but what other options do you have? There are two possibilities for you to consider. You can use additional hardware configurations or redirection software.

Remote POS printer access software solution


Eltima Software had developed an application that enables you to access and control a remote printer from your local computer.

Using Serial to Ethernet Connector your machine will interact with the device as if it were directly connected to your computer. Any computer on your network can access POS remote devices and printers. You even have the ability to setup and configure your POS printers from a central location.
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Serial to Ethernet Connector

Here is a typical scenario where Serial to Ethernet Connector is the solution to accessing a remote POS printer. Your local computer is attached to a POS serial printer. Another computer that is on your network is running an application that needs to communicate with the printer. All that is needed is to install Serial to Ethernet Connector (SEC) on both the local and remote machines. Your local machine works as a server and the remote computer is the client. SEC creates a virtual serial port on the remote client and connects with the physical hardware port on your local server via a virtual null modem cable. The virtual bridge that is the result of this connection mirrors all the activities of the physical port to the virtual port on the remote client. This enables the serial application to access all data generated by the receipt printer.

Your local machine can now access the full functionality of remote serial devices using Serial to Ethernet Connector.


Here is an overview that shows how to use Serial to Ethernet Connector:


  • Download the application
  • Install the software on the server machine that has direct access to the POS printer. Then install the software on all of the machines that you want to have the ability to access the printer. A virtual machine can be used as a client.
  • Start the program on the server and choose the “Create Server Connection” option.
  • Setup the connection by specifying all required parameters.
  • Open the app on a client machine and ‘Connect’ to the device that you will be sharing. That’s it! From now on, all the data that is generated from the POS printer will be available to network-attached computers.

SEC can be run on either the Windows or Linux operating systems and the software can be used in a mixed-platform implementation. Either platform can be a server for clients of either operating system. The Linux version is currently only available with a command-line interface.

How to setup hardware connections for a remote POS printer


Connecting a printer such as an Epson POS printer can be problematic as the device is not designed to be accessible through Internet protocols. It is meant to be accessed via sockets on your local network. Communication between the printer and another device such as a computer, iPad or other POS unit that is already on the local network is easily accomplished. This is not the case if you want to communicate with the printer from a device located in the cloud.

remote POS printer

Connecting through the additional network-attached device is the simplest way to go about this task. You end up with:

cloud -> POS -> printer
cloud -> iPad -> printer
cloud -> computer -> printer

The computer or iPad serves an intermediary role and communicates to the printer on the local network as well as the cloud device.

If you do not want to connect through a computer, there is another method, but it is not highly recommended. You can try setting it up like this:

If you need to use socket communication to connect to your printer, you can create a setup that resembles a VGA security system that can be monitored over the Internet. You need to consistently connect to the in-store network, so a dynamic DNS address of a static IP on the router is required. Then you can forward a port on the router to the communication port on the printer (consult your printer documentation for details). Cloud applications can now be directed at the IP/port and employ socket communication.

Conclusions


We have discussed two ways to achieve remote access to POS printers in the article. Serial to Ethernet Connector is by far the simplest solution. It allows a user to easily access a remote serial port and the device connected to it without any additional hardware or complicated settings on their computer.

The alternative method poses some issues. Implementation can be confusing and maintenance can prove to be difficult. You may have a shop owner trying to configure and maintain their router, which is possibly not their strong suit. Once Serial to Ethernet Connector is installed you can forget about it and access the devices as if they were directly connected to your machine.

POS system developers can enlist the assistance of Eltima’s engineers to create a custom hardware or software solution. Request a demo and see how Eltima’s Port Virtualization Technology can be incorporated into your own products.

Serial to Ethernet Connector

Available on Windows and Linux OS , 4.66MB size
Version 7.1.876 (27th Jan, 2017) Release notes
Category: Serial Port Software