How to Troubleshoot PoS Systems
3 MIN READ | Industry

How to Troubleshoot PoS Systems

Ricardo Belmar
Jan. 9 2020

How to Troubleshoot PoS Systems

How hard could it be to troubleshoot point-of-sale (PoS) transactions? They’re little bitty things, just a few kilobytes. And yet, sluggish PoS is among the most common—and expensive—problems plaguing retailers. 

The thing is, it only takes a few seconds of delay for checkout systems to feel broken to customers. And that’s the last thing you want, because some of them will just walk away. According to Infovista research, slow PoS applications end up leaking about 3 percent of a retailer’s annual revenue. However, when retailers get PoS systems running as they should, they actually gain 6% annual revenues—a 9% swing. 

If you could use a 9% revenue boost in your retail locations, you may want to pay attention. Here are the four key capabilities retailers need when learning how to troubleshoot PoS systems:

  1. Deep application visibility
  2. Session-level control
  3. Automated real-time response 
  4. Detailed reporting

PoS Troubleshooting Tip 1: You Can’t Fix What You Can’t See 

When PoS transactions are slow, the issue is rarely with PoS devices or services. Usually, the problem is the network. Take an apparel store (or coffeeshop, or quick service restaurant, the same applies to you!). You’re likely to have guests using Wi-Fi, inventory systems, surveillance systems, all sorts of application traffic. And in most cases, the network has no idea which traffic flows are important, and which aren’t. Say an employee is watching a training video in the back, a very resource-hungry application. Unless you take steps to prevent it, the network will give that video stream most of its capacity, to the detriment of those tiny PoS transactions.  

The first thing you need then is just the ability to see what’s happening on your network. What applications are running, for which users? What are the characteristics of those applications, and their capacity and latency requirements? Once you know, you can quickly see which ones are interfering with PoS.

PoS Troubleshooting Tip 2: Get Granular

Once you can see all the applications on your network, you need a mechanism to control them, to dictate how much network resources each should be allocated. The key requirement here is granularity. You have to be able to control those traffic flows down to the level of individual users or sessions. 

What if you can’t? Sure, you could just tell the network to cap all video traffic to 30% of resources. But then, the first video user will suck up most of that capacity, and anyone coming after will get a bad experience. With session-level application control, you can allocate those resources more equitably.   

PoS Troubleshooting Tip 3: Respond in Real Time

There are plenty of performance monitoring solutions out there that will send you alerts when something’s wrong. But how helpful is that? Just look at your customers and associates, and you’ll get the same message. 

With delays of mere seconds breaking the checkout experience, you can’t wait for human beings to respond to an alert. You need your network to recognize when applications and traffic loads change, and automatically adapt to continue prioritizing PoS. For example, if you have multiple network links in your store or restaurant, you want your network to always know what’s happening on each link and automatically direct each PoS transaction to the one that will deliver the quickest response. 

PoS Troubleshooting Tip 4: Check the Report

Most of these tips help you prevent PoS problems. But what if you’ve followed them all and are still having issues? Here’s where the reporting capabilities of your application visibility tool become critical. 

How many other applications are running, and how are they performing? If multiple applications are having issues, you’re likely looking at a network-level problem. If it’s just PoS though, it’s likely an issue with the PoS system itself. Your visibility tool should be able to show you performance down to the level of individual PoS terminals and connections, so you can pinpoint exactly where the issue resides.  

Get Your PoS Systems Humming

Now that you know how to troubleshoot PoS systems, don’t trust your customer experience and revenues to a network that’s not smart enough to optimize checkouts. With modern SD-WAN solutions, you can build in the granular application visibility, control, and reporting you need to keep PoS transactions flowing. To learn more, visit:


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