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Wireless Networking

Connecting your computers together using a wireless network is risky. Using a database type application like Windward System Five is much more demanding and intense than browsing web pages. If you're temporarily disconnected from a web page, no big deal. If the database connection is disconnected, you could corrupt your data.
Windward Software Inc. cannot be responsible for the quality of a network.

We normally recommend that you connect the computers in your network to the server via a wired network. Windward does support wireless devices such as scanners, data collectors, etc., but for the main computers using the software, you're best off using a wired network.

Yes, you can use your laptops with wireless and we do this all the time oursleves when we move around the office, or from home or even on the road. The trick is doing it the right way.

With Terminal Server software, you connect your laptop to the network with a wired or wireless connection, sign into Terminal Server, and launch Windward System Five. The beauty of this method is that it then runs extremely fast and does not need to take up any of your processor power on the laptop. You have a notebook because you need to be mobile. I assume this means you need to connect from home, on the road or from a hotel. With Terminal Server, you are only sending screen images, mouse clicks and keystrokes and all the processing happens on the Terminal Server box. Running the system from a hotel room over a dial up connection then runs extremely fast.

We've also used the cellular 3G internet connection on a notebook. It allows us to connect to Windward System Five from anywhere there is cellular service and run the software at almost the same speed as in the office. This is incredible technology. We've used it in restaurants, airports and at tradeshows where there is no wireless internet service, but there is cellular service.

The issue we have is with running the actual software on your computer or notebook and making a wireless connection to the database. While it does work, it is extremely slow in comparison to a wired connection. If you look at the specifications of the wireless networks compared to wired networks, you'll notice about a 10 times speed benefit of using a wired network. If you were to run an Aged A/R report, for example, the system would need to loop through all the customers, and then loop through all the invoices for each customer and loop through all the payments for each invoice. There is a *LOT* of database activity. On a wireless connection, the speed is slow and this would take a long time. Worse, if several people are using the wireless connection in this fashion, there would be a huge number of collisions and more problems would occur. And finally, if you were disconnected from the database connection because of timing issues, you could cause corruption problems. The Pervasive database and Windward System Five are very good at recovering from errors, but this is not always guaranteed. It's better to prevent errors in the first place.

And more importantly, you could not use this method out of the office, at home or on the road. Wireless is in the office only, within about 100 feet of your base station.

I just want to share one other experience we had several years ago. A customer in the furniture business had several computers connected together with a wired connection. They started to get corruption in their database and errors in their network. Not just in Windward, but other programs too. When one of our techs was onsite to try to figure it out, he was talking to me on the phone. He was doing a simple directory command from the DOS prompt. At times, it showed 150 files in the directory. Other times a random number from 40 to 80 files. As we talked, the phone was buzzing some of the time. Turned out, the only time we got all 150 files was when there was no buzzing on the phone. Our tech onsite then noticed that when there was a buzzing noise on the phone that there was a loud machine noise next door. He followed the noise and found a welder using a machine that was poorly tuned and it was causing stray electrical noise and radio waves that jumped into the cable and screwed up the computers. This was something we had no control of, was a wired connection and caused corruption. The wire was shielded to prevent picking up radio waves, but they came in anyways because it was so strong. A wireless device specifically picks up radio waves.

When it comes to wireless technology, there are several of factors. Think of all the stray electrical or radio interference. One of the most common ones today is wireless telephones. They use the same frequency of wireless computers. The telephone manufacturers often break some rules to get the best quality signal. That is, they boost the power to the max and use all the available channels instead of just one channel. At home, I hand to change technology to get the phones and computers to work well with each other.

With Terminal Server, if you get interference, you might drop the connection, but the program and data are protected because only the screens and keystrokes are transmitted. When you reconnect, you can continue where you left off as if nothing happened.

Yes, you can and should use wireless laptops, but you should use it with Terminal Server as it allows you faster speed. And you you have the ability to access the system outside of the office too. Which is probably why you have a notebook.

faq/wireless_networks.txt · Last modified: 2007/06/13 15:43 by dennis