Installing the network should be the first order of business.  You want to make sure the network is up and running so that if there are questions along the way, Dencar can help.  Also, if you wait until the end to install the network, you are often bumping up against a weekend and Internet Service Provider support on the weekend is going to be a challenge.  If you are renovating a site, get your network installed and existing car wash equipment running on your new network first.  This will make the transition to the Dencar point of sale easier.

Networking Gotchas

There are 3 primary reasons Dencar requires a commercial grade network installation.

They are:
1) Bring your car wash up to online business standards.
2) Enable remote configuration and support capabilities.
3) Configure your site in a PCI compliant fashion so you can pass PCI audits & scanning.

Here are some common “gotchas” we see associated with networking service and support.

Proper Tools
Whether you are installing or running the car wash, you must have a computer on site. The strong preference is a Windows based PC in laptop format. The computer needs to be able to connect via WIFI and via WIRED connection. If the laptop does not have a WIRED interface, purchase a USB to Ethernet adapter on Amazon for ~$10.  The laptop should have an HDMI interface and 2 USB ports.  During installation, a laptop is a critical tool. Without this tool, you will be blind to the environment and constantly calling for support for items that you have access to yourself. The lack of a laptop during installation will give you a severe negative experience.

Inability to access the site
The secure way to access the equipment (wash equipment, security system, point of sale, etc.) at your site is by using a Virtual Private Network (VPN) connection. This capability is included with your new network equipment. There are two gotchas. Gotcha number 1 is you have probably been doing something different up to this point and you resist change. You will have a better experience if you embrace the change and learn the more secure way of accessing your site. To facilitate this VPN capability, and run your car wash point of sale, your primary Internet connection needs to be publicly accessible and should have a minimum upload and download speed of 10 Mbps. To make your Internet connection publicly accessible, the Internet needs to be configured to deliver a public IP address to the Dencar networking equipment. There are
standard configurations to accomplish this. The most common way to achieve this is to order your Internet Service Provider (ISP) to configure their equipment in “bridge mode”. Depending on the provider, the ISP equipment may need to use “DMZ mode” or “pass through mode”. These three options are generally non-charged for configurations. As a last resort, you can order a “static IP” from your ISP, but this is generally a charged-for configuration. Gotcha number 2 is you don’t know what this means so you just skip over it. If you skip over it, we are going to get to installation day, and you won’t be able to access your site, and now you will be upset. Act now and start this conversation with your ISP. Get a copy of your ISP bill and call us if you need some help or guidance.

Not setting up cellular backup
If you are running a legacy point of sale environment, it probably ran autonomously at your site. The Dencar point of sale system is an online environment. This means that your customers can buy monthly wash passes via your online wash pass sales site as well as within your app (in addition to buying at your car wash site). To facilitate this multi sales channel functionality and redemption, your car wash location should always be online on good quality Internet.  If you have poor internet, you will have a poor Dencar experience.  If your car wash is in a location where shared Internet service is not readily available, you will need to spend the extra money to get dedicated Internet.  This is typically delivered over fiber by the local cable or phone company.  This is more expensive, but dedicated service is available everywhere and is the most reliable connection you can buy.  In addition, the Dencar networking equipment includes cellular backup equipment, and you must register your account. You will receive an email with this link as well as your device credentials. Follow the instructions and make sure you have an active cellular backup connection. By having an active cellular account, your car wash location will stay up and running even when your primary Internet connection fails.  The Dencar network equipment will automatically failover to cellular backup and return to the primary Internet connection when the primary Internet connection is restored. If you don’t have cellular backup and your primary Internet connection fails, you will not be able to process transactions and your monthly members will not be able to redeem their washes. Here is the second gotcha…test this failover connection regularly. You should test every month.

Requesting port forwarding rules
The old way of accessing your wash equipment or video security cameras was to add port forwarding rules to your network equipment. One component of the network equipment Dencar is providing is a “firewall”. A firewall helps protect your site by preventing unauthorized access to your site. If you request a port forwarding rule, you are rendering the firewall useless for any forwarded traffic. i.e. you are bypassing the security of the firewall. If you request this configuration, Dencar will oblige, but we recommend you don’t. In addition to weakening the security posture of your site, you will fail your PCI audit and scanning and be assessed a PCI non-compliance fee. The more secure way to access your equipment is by using the VPN connection provided with the equipment. This will be more secure and will also be PCI compliant.

Running old network gear
If you have an existing site, you are likely running some old network gear. You might be tempted to think it is working just fine the way it is, so you don’t want to touch it. The new network gear you are receiving from Dencar is your network gear. You are buying it and you own it. Dencar is here to help you support it. You want to get all your existing devices on the new network equipment so we can all see the devices end-to-end and Dencar can help support access to your devices. Dencar is not responsible for configuring your non-Dencar devices, but Dencar will help get you to those devices. If you have your own security system, you need to know how to access and configure it or have support from someone that does. If you have a specific networking configuration requirement for existing equipment, you need to know how to tell
Dencar how to configure the network, or you need support from your existing provider. Don’t wait until installation day to try and figure out what you need. Plan for a smooth conversion. You want to eliminate your old network equipment as part of the new installation.

Refreshing your security and network gear
Security and network equipment has a 5 year lifespan.  5 years after install, you need to replace your network equipment.  If you don't, you put yourself at risk for a security breach as well as equipment failure.  You also put yourself in the "running old network gear" category.  Don't be complacent.  Keep your business running smooth and secure and stay current.  Also, Dencar will not be able to support your network after 5 years without updating security and network gear equipment and licensing.  This will impact your ability to access your site and point of sale equipment as well as Dencar's.  You must stay current to have the best experience.