STX Desktop: Networking

Local and Remote Networking

Introduction to Networking

Networking allows your data to be shared by multiple computers running STX at the same time. Each computer can be used to simultaneously add, change and delete information and these changes will appear on all of the computers. Networking significantly increases the volume of data that can be entered and viewed at any one time and allows STX to operate efficiently in even the largest companies. Networking also allows an owner or manager to work with STX from an office or remote location. 

Client-Server

The term Server refers to both the computer that holds data files as well as the software installed on this computer that shares this data. The term Client refers to the software that lets you access the data on a server. Client software may be installed on the server computer and/or on additional workstation computers. A server that only runs server software, and not client software, is called a Dedicated Server. This is the most efficient server configuration and should be considered for larger networks. Please note a SERVER does not need to be running OSX SERVER software, and we highly recommend it not.


STX Networking

STX is a true client-server application that takes full advantage of the power and security built into the client-server architecture. It will work equally well on one computer or large networks. We recommend that you have a dedicated server if you have 5 or more client computers running STX at the same time. Note: There can be only one server with STX data on your network. When you purchased STX, you were licensed for a certain number of seats, computers to be running STX at the same time, as shown in STX: Registration. If you wish to purchase additional seats, please contact STX Software at 800.766.4778.

Connecting Your Computers

Your computers can be connected using Ethernet cables that plug into an Ethernet port on each computer, or by wireless connections using radio waves.

Ethernet cables can run directly between 2 computers, using a special crossover cable, if you only have a 2-computer network. Otherwise, each Ethernet patch cable will connect to a switch or router. A switch works fine if you are only connecting computers in your local network. A router is needed if you also want to connect your network to other networks, for remote login, or the Internet. The STX server computer must be hardwired with the Ethernet cable.

Wireless networking requires that each computer have a wireless card and, in the case of more than 2 computers, you will also need a wireless access point which functions much like a router. We do not currently recommend wireless networking in the salon environment, as it tends to be a much slower network option.

Wired Ethernet

The installation of a Wired network should be handled by a Networking Professional. Contact your local Apple Store for a referral. If you do not have a local Apple Store, please contact STX Software at 800.766.4778 and we will be happy to recommend a network professional for you. 

Cables

Cat 5e/100 Crossover cable for directly connecting 2 Computers

Cat 5e/100 Patch cables for connecting more than 2 Computers to a Switch or Broadband Router

Fast Cat 5e/6/Gigabit patch cable(s) to connect a Dedicated Server with Gigabit Ethernet to a Gigabit Switch/Gigabit Broadband Router

Switches and Broadband Routers

10/100 Switch or Broadband Router Recommended

Gigabit Switch or Gigabit Broadband Router for a Dedicated Server with Gigabit Ethernet

Firewall Information

If your computer and/or router have a firewall turned on, certain ports MUST be opened for STX to see the data through the network, whether local or remote:

Ports 9090 & 20260

Note: Firewalls are only necessary if you will be connecting to an outside network or the Internet.

Wireless Ethernet

The installation of a Wireless network should be handled by a Networking Professional. Contact your local Apple Store for a referral. If you do not have a local Apple Store, please contact STX Software at 800.766.4778 and we will be happy to recommend a network professional for you.

The Server and all Client Computers devoted to appointments and transactions should always be connected with Wired Ethernet. These computers do not require Wireless Cards.

The Wireless Base Station to connect the other Client Computers will connect to the Switch or Broadband Router. Client Computers that connect via the Base Station require Wireless Cards. All machines purchased from Apple after 2005 will come with a Wireless card built-in.

Wireless Cards

Airport (802.11b) Minimum

Airport Extreme (802.11g) Recommended

Wireless Base Stations

Airport (802.11b) Minimum

Airport Extreme (802.11g) Recommended

Wireless Antennas

Base Station Limited to 50 Feet with Airport Extreme (802.11g)

Base Station Limited to 150 Feet with Airport (802.11b)

Dr. Bott Omni, 250 Feet in Any Direction

Dr. Bott Direct, 500 Feet in One Direction

Firewall Information

If your computer and/or router have a firewall turned on, certain ports MUST be opened for STX to see the data through the network, whether local or remote:

Ports 9090 & 20260

Note: Firewalls are only necessary if you will be connecting to an outside network or the Internet.

Remote Networks

The installation of a Remote network should be handled by a Networking Professional. Contact your local Apple Store for a referral. If you do not have a local Apple Store, please contact STX Software at 800.766.4778 and we will be happy to recommend a network professional for you. Due to the number of routers on the market, the ever changing networking atmosphere and the importance of your Internet connection, STX cannot assist in the setup of remote access.

The computer connecting remotely to the Server computer will always be considered a Client Computer. The following are guidelines you will need to follow in order to accomplish the remote access. 

1. Port forwarding: Ports 9090, and 20260 need to be opened on the Server’s router to allow the remote computer access to STX. These ports should be opened using TCP/IP protocol.

2. Install the STX Client Application on the remote computer. Once you install the STX client application on the remote computer and launch it, you will get a message asking for the Host IP address of the server computer, or the one that has the STX data. 

3. You will need to know the external IP address of the Server computer so when you are logging in remotely, and STX asks for the Host IP, you can give it the external IP address of the server. 

There is a Dashboard Widget you can download on the server called IP Widget which will always tell you the current external IP address, or you can go to www.whatsmyipaddress.com from the server computer to see what that is. 

If you have a Static IP address for the server computer, you should only need to obtain the external IP address one time, as the Static IP addresses should never change. If you have a Dynamic IP address, you will need to verify the external IP address of the server each time you want to log in remotely as the Dynamic IP addresses usually change frequently.

4. If you plan on logging into STX from the remote location when the company is closed, you must leave the server computer running at all times, and it cannot be set to go to sleep.

5. The STX license should include enough seats to handle the remote computer logging into STX. If you are currently licensed for 3 seats, and the remote computer will be computer #4 logging into the STX data, then you will need to purchase an additional seat for your license. Please contact our Sales Department by calling 800.766.4778 for information about purchasing additional seats. 


Frequently Asked Questions

Q: When I start up STX on a Workstation, not the Server, the following screen appears and I have no idea what to put in there.

A: This screen will probably already show some type of address. When STX asks for the Host IP, it wants to know where to find the data. Because the data is “housed” on the server computer, you must find out the IP address of the server.

1. If a wired Ethernet cable connects the computer to the Server:

Go to Apple: System Preferences: Network. Highlight the Ethernet option listed on the left. 

If you are using a router, or have broadband Internet connection, the Configure menu should be set to Using DHCP or Using DHCP with manual address

***Using DHCP alone may not be at all what you want. Your network technician would know what is best for your situation. You might want the server to have a MANUAL IP address so it won't change the next time it boots up. It could also be set as Using DHCP with manual address so to allow you to set the IP address yourself but still indicate a router or broadband Internet connection is present. 

Be sure the manual address is not set within the range of DHCP addresses that the router will assign. Again, your network technician will know what is best for your situation.

Because the Internet, without a router, is actually supplying the IP address for you, it might change periodically, especially when the server is shut down overnight. This might be why a workstation computer is asking for the Host IP, because the data is no longer located at the IP address it was given before. 

NOTE: This is a very dangerous and unsafe situation and should be avoided. You should ONLY have it so that any network attached to the Internet goes strictly through a firewall and/or router.

If you are not using a router, and do not have broadband Internet access, the Configure menu should be set to Manually. You will need to enter a generic number if there is not one already. The generic address would be 192.168.123.101 for the server, 192.168.123.102 for the 1st workstation (client) computer, 192.168.123.103 for the 2nd workstation (client) computer, etc. 

Because the IP 192.168.123.101 would be the actual manual address on the server, enter that number on the computer asking for the Host IP. Otherwise, enter the IP address shown on the server. 

If there is a wireless connection to the Server:

Go to Apple: System Preferences: Network. Highlight the AirPort option listed on the left and click the Advanced button. Go to the TCP/IP tab.

If you are using a router, AirPort Base Station, or have broadband Internet access, the Configure menu should be set to Using DHCP. You should see the server’s IP address.

Because the router, Internet, and/or AirPort Base Station are actually supplying the IP address for you, it might change periodically, especially when the server is shut down overnight. This might be why a workstation computer is asking for the Host IP, because the data is no longer located at the IP address it was given before.

Once you determine what the actual IP address of the server is, enter that number on the computer asking for the Host IP.

Q: I have tried all of the above and I still cannot get the workstation computers to log into the server.

A: The problem may actually lie in the network itself, such as a bad cable, a bad switch or router, or any number of things. It is best to get your network professional to look things over, however, it could be as simple as resetting the equipment. Simply turn off the power to each item, wait a few seconds, then power them back up again. It is recommended that computers be shut down when resetting network equipment.

Q: When I launch STX on the Server (or stand-alone computer) it asks for the Host IP. What should I put in there?

A: There is a generic IP address of 127.0.0.1 that can be used on the Server or stand-alone computer ONLY. You will NEVER use this IP address on a Workstation or Client computer.

If the screen keeps popping up and will not accept the generic number, either you are not on the Server (or stand-alone) computer, or there is a problem with the STX Database. Try restarting the computer(s) by shutting down each workstation computer first and then restarting the Server computer to see if that helps. If you determine that you are indeed on the Server or stand-alone computer, and restarting did not help, please call the Technical Support Department at 800.766.4778 for help with the Database.

Q: Sometimes the calendar on my computer gets a "fogged out" look and then it goes away. 

A: Not all of the computers on the network are set to the same time zone and/or same city. Check the Date and Time System Preferences pane on each computer to make sure they are all set to the same Time Zone and same City. Each computer should also be set to as close to the same Time as possible. 

Q: Can I take a backup from a computer other than the server?

A: Yes. Any computer running the STX software can take a new backup. However, only the STX Server computer can Save the backup to an external device.

Q: I am trying to login from my remote computer and STX says all licensed seats are in use. Nobody is working on the computers at work. What do I do?

A: The Server computer needs to be restarted. Someone inadvertently shut down a computer without first quitting the STX program. Occasionally, that computer’s seat will still be shown as in use. Restarting the Server computer will release all seats from being in use.

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