Portable Wifi Network???

RetractableRoof

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Dec 1, 2003
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Quincy, MA
Problem set:
I need a way to have a PC (or 2) communicate with each other in an area with no cell service.  I'd going to try to put either a simple product order app (or messenger like app if necessary) in place.  Ideally I'd like to be able to have a tablet using the order app, and a couple of other apps being used by customers self exploring products, etc. and maybe placing their own orders that would propagate into a queue.
 
The simplest similar example I can provide is think of a food truck with a front person out amongst the customers with a tablet taking orders for the staff in the truck.  The front person needs to be able to get a confirmation (ticketing mechanism), see a status of the order, etc.  If I can't find a suitable opensource project to work from, I'll build as simple an AJAXy CRUD mechanism as I can get away with.  If everything goes well, and I am successful I'd like to be able to load the app on other devices and have temporary help pitch in taking orders (or the above mentioned self-help order app) communicating via whatever mechanism I put in place.
 
What I (think I) need:
I need information about hardware and/or software stack to make this stuff happen.  Physical proximity from the front people to the back people can vary (sometimes it's 15/20 feet occasionally it can be upstairs downstairs in a building), what are my options given any suggested equipment.  I currently have in place a simple router (DLink) set up to allow me to IP print (using a cable from router to printer) from the back end laptop (wifi to router).  This part works well.  I'm missing gaps of knowledge to know if I should/could build on this router approach and use something software wise on the laptop to play server.  I know this concept is doable - but I am struggling with the next step/piece of the puzzle.
 
I'm sure there are a bunch of questions I haven't provided answers for - other than to say that to start I need to get functional with the lowest cost possible.  I've seen the mention (by Nip et al) of the raid boxes in other threads - they seem to have OS layers on top of them including a web station module.  Not sure if this is overkill if I can be just running simple software on the main laptop.
 
Any help would be appreciated... this seems to be something I should be able to piece together - I'm just not able to get their on my own.
 
Thanks in advance for any brain power you spare on this...
 
Edit: grammar
 

Hambone

will post for drinks
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Jul 15, 2005
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You may want to play around with some of those Square like apps for credit card acceptance such as PayAnywhere (www.payanywhere.com). Even if you want to keep it cash only as they have that tender type for tracking. Some allow multiple devices and you may be able to keep a master tablet in the back and use the reporting features or something.
 
If helpful I could probably suggest some others
 

RetractableRoof

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Thank you for taking the time to reply...
 
I am trying to get to the portions of the problem surrounding the ordering/production, the billing I am treating separately even though it would be sweet to have an integrated solution.
 
With respect to the billing:
I do have a Square device/account and actually like using it. For the part of accepting payment I am comfortable with that - excepting that I often find myself in situations where I have no cell service.
 

jayhoz

Ronald Bartel
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Jul 19, 2005
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Staples just launched a square type credit card reader called Mobile Register. It allows for "offline" transactions.
 

RetractableRoof

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jayhoz said:
Staples just launched a square type credit card reader called Mobile Register. It allows for "offline" transactions.

 
Thanks for that - I will look into that.

However I'm trying to solve the underlying problem of communicating between the front person and the production person.

For example (back to the hypothetical food truck) the bill would read 1 large burrito combo for Y dollars. The front end person would need to communicate to the back end that it was option A & option B with a side of X.  They might say hold the onions, they might say use the organic tortilla, they might want to note it was a VIP customer.  None of that would go on the bill - none of that matters from the point of view of Square, or whatever payment processing is happening.
 
So, if I assume for a moment that I'm going to create my own ordering application and accept that as a given in some fashion.  What hardware, software do I need to be involved to allow the tablets/smart phone/laptops to communicate with each other.  Do I need to install a server of some sort?  Do I need a server box?  Can I configure the router in some way to add value?  This is the stuff I'm needing to be edjumucated on.
 
Folks, I genuinely appreciate the fact that you are even reading my post and trying to help... thank you.
 
Edit: Finish post and correct premature posting
 

AlNipper49

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Apr 3, 2001
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RetractableRoof said:
OK, what more detail do you need from me?  I'll try to flesh it out.
Well you fleshed it out a bit more but there are still ten thousand ways to skin the cat that depend on what you're trying to do. Frankly I would just look for a service on the internet that you could subscribe to / buy. Chances are that something exists