Lightspeed is a cloud-based platform that gives you access to manage your business from anywhere. In store. At home. On the road.
We use the same infrastructure that the likes of Netflix, NASA, Yelp and TripAdvisor use, so you can be assured Lightspeed will be available when you need it.
With just a few taps, you get comprehensive business results, live data updates, seamless accessibility, and network printing - to name a few. To support these functions and best performance, you will need a solid & stable local area network (LAN) & internet connection.
We picked the brains of our networking pro’s to give you some tips & tricks when setting up your network on site or even at home.
What's in this guide?
Wifi or Internet
Choosing a Router
Devices to avoid
Wifi or Internet
In our Troubleshooting Network guide, we discussed the differences between your Internet connection and your local area connection (wi-fi).
Basically, your local network is everything on site - its how all your devices talk to each other and, the internet connection is how you talk to the outside world - e.g. to Lightspeed or to the bank for EFTPOS transactions.
No matter what you are connecting to the internet for, if you have a faster internet connection then you will have a much better experience.
Pro-Tip #1 - Aim for an internet speed of 7-10Mbps
Lightspeed can work comfortably on slower networks, but for best performance you should aim for a connection speed of 7-10Mbps (at a minimum you’ll want 2Mbps as anything lower will substantially slow down the device performance
For comparison, the average network speed in Australia is 37.88Mbps (as of editing - April 2019).
Pro-Tip #2 - Go for a stable connection.
For best stability you should look to an internet connection via these tried and true mediums; ADSL2+, Cable (HFC) or, Fibre (NBN).
Australia has some of the fastest mobile internet connections in the world, so if you’re struggling to get good connectivity with a cabled connection you can look at a 3G, 4G or, LTE connection.
Pro-Tip #3 - Limit extra bandwidth use on your Lightspeed devices
Streaming audio, video or operating a guest network may impact your network so try to limit this workload on your network where possible and, in particular, avoid streaming music (eg Spotify, Pandora, Apple Music) from your devices that act as dedicated POS registers.
When the Internet goes down, this cuts you off from Lightspeed HQ - but we knew this could happen so we've built Lightspeed to work offline.
Choosing a Router
Often, service providers will supply an entry-level consumer/home grade router which is not suitable for commercial environments. We recommend using a higher grade of equipment to compliment your setup.
When deciding what router is best for your Lightspeed venue, our Pro’s recommend looking for the following technologies and features to ensure optimal performance.
This ensures you are using a router that can talk to your latest generation tablet or computer in the fastest and most reliable way.
Dual or Tri-band frequency
This allows the router to distribute WiFi signal further and faster while avoiding interruption from competing electronic devices and surrounding networks.
Whilst not mandatory, having a router with adjustable antennas allows you to slightly customise signal direction to suit your venue - definitely worth talking to a pro for best antennas positioning for your particular venue.
This feature allows your traditional fixed line connection (ADSL/Coaxial/NBN/Fibre) to fall back to a cellular connection in the event of a network interruption. A great strategy for areas prone to unstable connection. Did we mention how much better Australia’s mobile network is compared to the fixed line?
4x Gigabit Ethernet ports
These should be fairly standard on most modern routers but having these allows you to connect your network printers to your router and/or a network switch to expand the number of hardwired connections available (if you have a bigger setup).
In larger venues, look for a router which supports expandable mesh routing. This allows you to add additional wireless access points which mesh together to intelligently create one seamless network.
When setting up your Lightspeed location, router placement is crucial. This will supply network connectivity across all of your devices. If your location will have roaming registers, use a device (Example: iPad) to test the outer limits of your WiFi range.
Pro-Tip #1 - Choose somewhere close & clear
Ideally, your modem is close enough to easily run ethernet cable to your fixed devices (eg printers) and, has as much line of site to your wi-fi devices (eg iPads & Android tablets). If that's not possible, make sure that it is not impeded by large metallic objects (like kitchen equipment) or solid walls.
Pro-Tip #2 - Keep away from interference
This applies to both electronic interference and, physical interference.
Don’t sit your modem/router on top of devices which may interfere with the WiFi signal such as other electronic equipment e.g microwaves, cordless phone base stations.
Keep your modem/router away from any area where it may get knocked, tripped or touched by any wandering hands.
Tops/sides/backs of fridges or freezers are one of the worst common locations for modems/routers. Keep away! These areas will suffer from not only vibration interference but will also very likely overheat as fridges/freezers are only cold on the inside.
Devices to avoid if possible
If you have inherited or are looking for band-aid solutions, you will not have a good time with wireless range extenders and ethernet over powerline adapters (examples shown above).
Our network pro’s have completed extensive testing in real venues (and we’ve also collated extensive feedback from our customers and partners) to know that these devices are likely to cause problems such as;
- Missing dockets
- Delayed dockets
- Printer discovery & setup issues
- Printers randomly dropping in connectivity
In any venue these problems would wreak havoc - so we only recommend the hardwiring of printers using ethernet cables.
Unless you are using bluetooth printing, your printing system would rely on the stability of your connection - among a few other things. Below are vital checkpoints for seamless printing.
Pro-Tip #1 - Connect your printers directly into your router’s ethernet ports
These ethernet ports are usually colour coded and numbered. Printers should never be plugged into a port labeled WAN or 'Internet'.
If your printer is not close enough to your router, then you can also use data-points - these are similar to extension cables for power, but you know, for ethernet cables.
Pro-Tip #2 - Check that the cables are plugged in tight
Ethernet cables are designed to click into place. The fit should be snug and definitely not loose.
Pro-Tip #3 - Confirm the connection with activity lights
Once a printer is connected, look for activity lights on both the printer and modem/router to confirm connectivity (Green/Amber lights).
Pro-Tip #4 - Are you using another software package that uses similar printers? (ie you use an alternative POS provider for a different part of your business, or you have an online ordering system that prints directly). Be aware that on a less busy venue this can be fine; but ideally these systems would have dedicated printers for themselves rather than sharing printers - especially in a busier venue.
However also be aware that some systems will maintain a permanent open connection to any POS-style printer they find on the network and can lock Lightspeed (and other systems) out of said printers. If this occurs, engage with an IT Professional or one of our partners to separate your network out into different subnets to prevent this from happening.
What's my next step?
If your network seems broken after you just got a new router - there may have been a few things you missed when changing your new router
Looking to upgrade or change modems? Be prepared on what to expect and what to do next