Common Network (LAN) environment issues solved through Reckon Community Support

gazza73 Accredited Partner Posts: 802 Accredited Partner Accredited Partner
edited September 2018 in Reckon Accounts (Desktop)
For HOSTED or Reckon ONE potential or existing users, your LAN can
have an impact on your Accounting experience.  But desktop users who link to Cloud based online services such as banking or send orders/invoice/report by email, they too can be affected.

Our research and contributions to this forum, have identified LAN conflict as one of the leading causes of the 90% of problems that are not RECKON related.
(source:  statistics from ABS research tabled 16/6/15)


Capacity versus Patience

All the network devices in your office, and those remotely connected to servers via your office, all rely on  LAN capacity.  LAN (local area network) comprises those cables and devices that link one to another in the building.  They include modem, routers, switches, legacy hubs, and of course wireless devices.    These all rely upon a hardware adapter or interface (ethernet card, or wireless transmitter/receiver) PLUS the software, protocols and RULES that permit their operation.

There is a limit to the amount of DATA (traffic) that can travel between these devices, long before reaching the gateway where linking to the internet is involved.  That latter WAN (Wide area network) aspect, will be discussed in a followup article.  

 The two combined (LAN plus WAN) need to work together, in terms of CAPACITY and RULES.   RULES are protocol restrictions,  firewall settings,  operating system permissions, and tailored settings determining the PORT (a dedicated pathway if you like) that such traffic will traverse, and is EXPECTED to traverse.   RULES can change with the unscheduled arrival or deployment of system updates or addition of other software, features to your overall system - being the servers as well as your workstation.

An analogy is a good driver, with known abilities behind the wheel of a reliable vehicle, intending to travel to a pre-determined destination, suddenly confronted with a Lollipop sign or traffic jam inhibiting progress.

If a timeframe is set for the journey, then patience may run out, and the trip aborted.  Similarly, if there is inadequate capacity (width, space, speed, and expectations) to travel the intended course, or excess traffic on intersections needing traversal, then again, the journey can be interrupted and potentially aborted.     These situations occur on your on LAN, just as they do out on the internet (www).

Impact on Applications

Take a RECKON environment where there are multiple users on a LAN, alongside other users, not even running RECKON, but accessing servers, printers, email, browsing the internet.  The RECKON users are likely accessing a COMPANY FILE on a server at one end of the LAN, and the data being transacted, needs to travel along that LAN.  Meantime, there are any number of SYSTEM activities, like virus checking, anti-spam checking, malware detection, device polling (like printers being checked for online status).     Behind the scenes,  operating systems are forever checking the status of TIME,  their network connection status, fetching remote DATA... the list is endless.  And that is when the ENVIRONMENT is finely tuned and setup well.

One of the common features of systems, is to try and avoid repetitive attempts to achieve an outcome, when there is risk of a potential bottleneck.  These are called TIMEOUT settings.  They apply very much to programs/APPS/tools such as client email programs or browser equivalents (ie: Outlook, MS Live, Thunderbird, Google APPS, Google MAIL).  But also to any client/server DATABASE related program where DATA from a User's workstation (be it a laptop, desktop, tablet or even a wireless connected iPHONE/Android smartphone).  

Patience is TIMEOUT  (the system's not just yours!)

When a program attempts to link up to some other device, and determines it has been trying to do so for long enough,  it reaches a TIMEOUT setting whereby it effectively runs out of patience.   It then leaves the User confronted with some error message or worse,  just a screen that seems to have failed to progress to the next step.

What can cause the LAN to impact ACCOUNTING

Examples are many.  But they all fall back to being a lack of capacity or running out of patience.   Capacity is twofold.  For normal operations, yo need to ensure you have enough in the first place.  But the killer is often something that is over using that capacity.   A really common cause, which I see regularly, is with users of portable devices that move their laptop from one network to another.  Even if it is say, a home network to their office.   They have PRINTERS that have background programs polling away. perpetually seeking out the status of a printer that is now at the OTHER network location!.  The amount of data traffic can all add up. 

Another example, is where users have a requirement to synchronise their business data to some service like Dropbox, or Office 365 or some private Cloud service where they are running complimentary application programs for their business.  Setting the synchronisation RULES to transmit data too frequently,  or fail to use incremental copying to save the re-transmission of bulk database or data files too regularly, all soaks capacity.   And all this might be for non-accounting related activities. 

The point is,  the accounting software and its data between users and the server, travels this SAME PATH on the LAN.

Who'd have thought?

To finish with a light-hearted, memorable example of just how overlooked a capacity problem was,  we share this solution from earlier this year.  A client running HOSTED was experiencing delays in the way transactions needed processing by three key staff.  Specific tests and specifications of both their LAN and WAN ENVIRONMENT determined there should be adequate CAPACITY to enjoy a good accounting operation experience. 

But not so.  The cause was found to be another staff member streaming online music rather than listening to an offline iPOD or what we used to call a 'wireless!'.   We understand that our suggestion to encourage the member to buy a radio from the Good Guys for $50 and to stop soaking all the WAN capacity for his personal enjoyment,  would really help the rest of the team trying to account for his wages and profit. 

A good outcome, and one that was not at first consider.  Why?  Because most users focus only on the impact on them, and they only run one thing: Reckon.

So think about the driving analogy above.  The cause of a problem might not be you, your computer, your software or your operational techniques.  There is the other end of the piece of string (LAN) and all the other travellers on board your LAN (and WAN).  

IT and ENVIRONMENT support to fellow AP's and their clients

Alchester is an independent IT consulting firm, with focus on Business Systems analysis,  project management and internal cost accounting management from a business and IT perspective.

Solutions based on integrating complimentary proven technologies introduced from bona fide software developers to improve business efficiencies, is well complimented by ABS' 40 years background  experience in the Accounting industry with an astute awareness of the needs of fellow AP's who focus on Accounting and Bookkeeping for their clients.

Gary Pope
m: 0408994799 
e:  [email protected]
An Accredited Partner- Consultant (VIC. Aust)
"Working with Accountants/Bookkeepers PPs/APs, as an
     independent IT Professional and retired FCPA Accountant"