7 Replies Latest reply: Mar 14, 2013 1:03 PM by rccharles
marloma Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

We are building an iPad App for an enterprise scenario.   Users will be using the iPads to check in guests at special corporate events.   There could be as many as a dozen iPads used for check-ins and they all need to have accurate data on who has been checked in, when and any notes that have been entered.  The catch is that there will often be no internet access.   So the iPads must be able to communicate with each other.   All iPads will be at one location, but they could be as far as 100-300 feet apart.   I suppose we can include a requirement that users need to periodically move close to each other if the distance is too far.

 

We are open to either a peer-to-peer solution where by the iPads actually talk to each other, or we can have a central laptop which acts as a server and the iPads all talk to the server.   Any thoughts on how this can be done, what the options are, if we need to establish a wifi network, etc., etc.

 

Thanks in advance.

  • 1. Re: Need multiple iPads to communicate with each other
    rccharles Level 5 Level 5 (5,370 points)

    There are wifi repeaters to make your wifi network bigger. Airport Express is an external unit and you can configure it as a bridge/repeater. 

     

    You can create your own web server on any computer.  Could use a mac mini.  Once you have it setup, you do not need a display.  you can connect to the mac mini from an ipad if needed.

     

    I think it is best to start with an existing package. I've see several references to registration systems via google:

    ipad event registration system

     

    There is a site for event registration feelance programmers.

    http://www.freelancer.com/job-search/ipad-event-registration-app/

  • 2. Re: Need multiple iPads to communicate with each other
    Bonesaw1962 Level 4 Level 4 (1,250 points)

    I think the Mac Mini idea is a good one.  From a database perspective, you will need to have a centralized database, perhaps on the Mac Mini.  The endpoints would talk to the Mac Mini over an internal wi-fi network.  That would be the only way to keep the data entered and retrieved on the client(iPad) end points in synch. 

  • 3. Re: Need multiple iPads to communicate with each other
    iToaster Level 3 Level 3 (670 points)

    Agreed some sort of web server or centralised DB eg. Mac mini

    Either use existing wifi or create your own

    Web based registration or centralised Ipad registration system .since you won't have Internet access

    Look for something that allows you to use your own server

    centralised,  then everyone will have up to date info 

     

    If it's web based then hopefully any device should be able to access it

  • 4. Re: Need multiple iPads to communicate with each other
    marloma Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    We are app developers and this is definitely a custom app -- we're not looking to use a package.   Now we have creating many client-server apps before which use a back-end database.   We usually build these in PHP/MySQL.     So I'm assuming that everyone here is suggesting that we simply create a website in PHP/MySQL (or another framework) and run a local server.   

     

    In this scenario, we can create an option on the iPad app where we can select a setting for the web-API's.   We can either point to a server on the internet (if we have connectivity) or we can point to the local server on the wifi network using the Mac Mini's (or whatever computer we use) IP address.

     

    Is this what you guys were suggesting?   So I'm assuming that we assign an IP address to the local computer and we should be able to access it from the iPad assuming they are on the same wifi network.    Please let me know if this is the scenario that everyone was suggesting.   Any ideas regarding setting up the network, good hardware we can use for the wifi network, etc., etc. (portability is key) would be greatly appreciated.

  • 5. Re: Need multiple iPads to communicate with each other
    Bonesaw1962 Level 4 Level 4 (1,250 points)

    Right.  The Mac-Mini could also provide networking services such as DHCP and DNS for an existing internal network infrastructure. You'd need to check performance on the Mini and see if it would provide adequate hardware performance.  It would certainly work for a test environment however if you needed ultimately to scale to something else. 

  • 6. Re: Need multiple iPads to communicate with each other
    rccharles Level 5 Level 5 (5,370 points)

    Seems like you have a good plan.

    Any ideas regarding setting up the network, good hardware we can use for the wifi network, etc., etc. (portability is key) would be greatly appreciated.

    mini has built in wifi.  you will need some sort of repeaters for extended range.  The n wifi has greater range specification.  I'm not an expert on wifi networking, but from my reading this should be what you need.

    Airport Express is an external unit and you can configure it as a bridge.  802.11n

     

    Extend an existing Wi-Fi network’s range.

    If you already have a wireless network in your home and want to extend its range, AirPort Express can help. Just place it in range of your primary base station — an AirPort Extreme, Time Capsule, or another AirPort Express — and near the area where you want your wireless connection. Launch the easy-to-use AirPort Utility app on your iOS device or Mac, and you’re mere minutes away from long-range Wi-Fi enjoyment.

    https://www.apple.com/airportexpress/

     

     

    The server version has more configuration software.  If you are good at the command line, you can get away with the client OS X.  You can install open source software as needed.

     

    Get the server version.  It has two hd's.  You can backup database to second hd/ssd.

     

    Hard to believe these specs will not be enough for your app.

    Configurable to 2.6GHz quad-core Intel Core i7 (Turbo Boost up to 3.6GHz).

  • 7. Re: Need multiple iPads to communicate with each other
    rccharles Level 5 Level 5 (5,370 points)

    In case you go with a laptop, a USB 3 flash drive would make an excellent backup drive.

     

    Corsair Flash Voyager 128GB USB 3.0 (CMFVYGT3A-128GB)

    http://www.amazon.com/Corsair-Flash-Voyager-128GB-CMFVYGT3A-128GB/dp/B008MCZIEQ

     

    Robert