May 15th, 2007 by Jamie Estep
Making your Ethernet credit card terminal wireless (WiFi)!
I just got my hands on a Verifone Omni 3750 WiFi module. The module replaces the dial, or Ethernet module on an Omni 3750, and it has a small Compact-Flash wireless card in it that allows it to connect to a wireless network. The module is a little hard to get a hold of. We had to check out suppliers and special order one, which took about a week extra to get. The other drawback with the WiFi module is that it is a bit expensive (about $200), and while many businesses could benefit from using one, it may not be worth the extra $200.
So I devised another way to connect an IP capable Omni 3740 or 3750 or other Ethernet compatible terminal to a wireless network.
Here’s what you need:
- An Ethernet compatible terminal that is currently able to process transactions over an IP connection.
- An encrypted wireless network. (WPA not WEP!)
- A wireless (WiFi) gaming adapter or wireless access point. (Must support WPA encryption!)
- One small length of CAT 5 / 5E / 6 Ethernet cable.
- A PC or laptop (Used only to configure the wireless adapter)
The idea behind this is that once your terminal has the ability to process over an IP connection, it really doesn’t matter how the terminal is actually connected to the internet. A WiFi connection through an adapter is no different to a credit card terminal than connecting directly to a switch or router.
Who this guide applies to:
This guide will be most useful for businesses that have an existing wireless network, and have an IP capable terminal, and they can benefit in some way from connecting their terminal to the wireless network instead of the wired network.
It it important to be able to already process over an IP connection before you start setting this up. This will eliminate the terminal setup being the problem if something doesn’t work correctly.
Step 1 – Setup the wireless network:
Here’s a great guide from Microsoft on how to setup a wireless network. Make sure you enable WPA encryption when you setup your connection. The recent TJ Max security breach was thought to originate from an unsecured wireless network. Additionally, WEP encryption is not a sufficient form of protecting a wireless network so WPA or WPA2 encryption should be used instead of WEP. If you are interested, here’s a detailed summary of why WEP encryption is not sufficient.Personally I recommend D-Link brand components for home and small business networking. From my experiences, their reliability, price and ease of use is far better than other manufacturers (Linksys, Netgear, 3com, Cisco, etc.) for non-enterprise level wireless networking.
Step 2 – Setup the wireless adapter:
The D-Link DWL-G820 is the wireless adapter that I recommend for this guide. It’s small, cheap (~$60), and it supports WPA encryption. You will need connect the adapter to a PC or laptop and follow the installation instructions to properly setup the adapter. This should take about five minutes to complete and essentially consists of the following.
Basic steps to setup wireless adapter:
- Plug Ethernet cable from wireless adapter to computer.
- Connect AC adapter from electrical outlet to wireless adapter.
- Point web browser to 192.168.0.35
- Configure wireless adapter to connect to wireless network.
- Enable WPA encryption, enter the network pass-phrase, and restart the wireless adapter.
- Once the adapter restarts, verify the internet connection with the computer that is still attached.
Once you verify that the computer is able to connect to the internet with the wireless adapter, and that the adapter is connecting using WPA encryption, the adapter is configured.
Step 3 – Connect terminal to wireless adapter.
Connect the terminal with CAT 5 / 5E / 6 Ethernet cable from the Ethernet port on the terminal to the Ethernet port on the wireless adapter. Depending on how close the terminal is to the adapter, you may only need a few inches of Ethernet cable to connect the two together.
Step 4 – Run a test transaction.
In theory, everything should work properly now. You should however run a test transaction to verify this. Run a $1 transaction (Don’t use the merchant account owner’s credit card). As long as the transaction processes the way it should have, everything is setup and ready to go. You can now move the terminal and wireless adapter anywhere that is within range of the wireless network.
You now have a secure WiFi processing terminal
Otherwise, If the transaction did not process correctly you need to find where the problem is happening at, and correct it. Re-check the internet connection, and that the adapter is still properly connecting to the wireless network. If necessary, run a test transaction with the terminal plugged into the Ethernet connection to rule out any terminal problems.