In some cases, you may want to access OrderTrac when you are traveling or otherwise not at your store. Since OrderTrac is a desktop based application, you have to be on the same network as the server in order to connect an OrderTrac client to the OrderTrac server.
There are 2 options to work around this limitation. You can either use VPN technology to connect a remote computer to the store network to make the 2 appear on the same network, or you can use a remote desktop application to view and control a computer at the store from a remote computer. More on each option below.
This is the easiest and most reliable option, and the option we recommend if you just occasionally need to connect to OrderTrac when you are away from the store, such as the evening when you are home or when you are traveling.
Remote desktop software is an application you install on any computer at your store, and your remote computer you want to use away from the store. When you want to connect to OrderTrac on the remote computer, you simply launch the remote desktop app, and tell it to connect to the store computer. It quickly connects, and immediately shows you the desktop of the store computer, and you can control the store computer from the remote computer just as if you were sitting in front of it.
This would allow you to launch and use OrderTrac. OrderTrac is not running on your remote computer, you are just looking at the screen and using the store computer from the remote computer.
As you can see in the picture above, my remote computer (my laptop) is using a remote desktop application called TeamViewer to view and control the store computer which is running OrderTrac.
You can run any program or do anything on the store computer from the remote computer, there are no limitations. You can use the store computer just as if you were sitting in front of it.
The 1 limitation to this is nobody will be able to use the store computer while you are using it. If somebody were to be on that computer when you log in and take over, they would be able to watch the mouse move around and they would see everything you are doing. They would not be able to use the computer while you are using it remotely.
This option works best if you can remote into a computer that will not normally be used by another person during the time you want to use it.
So which remote desktop application should you use? There are many to pick from, and if you google “Remote Desktop Software”, you will find many options. Here are a few we recommend:
TeamViewer – Probably the best, not cheap but they do have a free personal version
Google Chrome Remote Desktop – Free, works very well and is reliable. Requires both computers to use Google Chrome
Remote Utilities – They have a free version, works well
Zoho Assist – Also free option. We haven’t used this one but have used some of their other products which are high quality
Software Only Solution
You can set up a VPN network using nothing but software you would install on the OrderTrac server and all computers that are remote. One great provider for this type of software is ZeroTier. Basically, you just install ZeroTier on the OrderTrac computer, then install it on your remote computer. This creates a 2nd network that both computers are connection to over the internet. This would allow the remote computer to see the see the server computer without being on the same network. Click here to view a video on how to set up ZeroTier on both computers. Once set up, you would enter the ZeroTier IP address of the OrderTrac server computer as the server IP when connecting the remote OrderTrac to the OrderTrac server computer. Alternatively, once both computers are joined, you could use a screen sharing program like Windows Remote Desktop control a computer at your main location from the remote computer, so you would just be accessing a computer running OrderTrac at your main location from your remote computer.
The VPN hardware option is a bit more complicated to set up. This requires special VPN hardware to be installed at your store that allows remote users to VPN into your store network. This can be a special VPN box installed or a router that includes VPN capabilities. Once the hardware is installed, you can connection your remote computer to the store network by setting up a VPN connection. This makes the remote computer part of the store network just as if it was connected to the store networks wifi. Usually some special software will be installed on the remote computer and you just have to run the software to connect to the store network over VPN.
Once connected, you can open OrderTrac on the remote computer (download and install OrderTrac on the remote computer if you haven’t already). You can use OrderTrac just like you normally do.
This is a good option if you have 2 store locations and you want both to be able to connect to the OrderTrac server on a daily basis. You can also install a VPN router at each location, and they will “link” to each other so all computers at each store can see once another. These routers can be called a “site to site VPN router”.
You will probably want to have the company or person that manages your network set this up for you unless you are technically inclined.
Fore more reading on VPN technology, click here.