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Network failover to cellular connectivity

Switch to cellular when the terminal can't access the internet through the network connection.

Network failover refers to a situation when the terminal can't access the internet over the primary network connection (usually Wi-Fi or Ethernet), and switches to a cellular connection (3G or 4G). This enables you to continue making transactions when there is a problem with the internet access.

You can either:

However, there are scenarios where network failover isn't useful and you should consider alternatives:

  • Use standalone terminals with enabled cellular connectivity as a backup.
  • Enable offline payments.

    Offline payments are only available for integrations that use local communications.

    You are fully liable for the risk of failed captures, chargebacks, and disputes related to offline payments.

Understanding network failover scenarios

There is a difference between network connectivity and internet connectivity. To process a transaction, the terminal needs to have internet access. The terminal uses its primary network connection (Wi-Fi or Ethernet) to reach the internet. There are two ways this can go wrong:

  • The terminal can't access the internet because it has lost the connection to your network.
  • The terminal is connected to your network but can't access the internet.

Let's look at how network failover works in these cases with local and cloud communications.

Scenario: No network connection - local integration

The terminal lost its primary network connection, and fails over to a cellular connection. The cash register is still connected to the network and sends the payment request to the terminal over the network. However, the terminal never receives the request because it is disconnected from the network.

In this scenario, network failover is not useful.

Consider alternatives:

  • Use a standalone terminal as a backup.
  • Enable offline payments.

Scenario: No internet - local integration

The terminal is connected to the network through its primary network connection. After receiving the request, the terminal tries to access the internet through the primary connection. After 36 seconds of not being able to connect to the internet, the terminal fails over to a cellular connection. The transaction is processed over the cellular connection.

Scenario: No network connection - cloud integration

The terminal lost its primary network connection, and fails over to a cellular connection. The cash register sends the payment request to the Adyen payments platform, which forwards the request to the terminal. The terminal receives and processes the request over the cellular connection.

Scenario: No internet - cloud integration

The terminal is connected to the network through its primary network connection, but has no internet access. The terminal fails over to a cellular connection. If the cash register does have internet access, it sends the payment request to the Adyen payments platform, which forwards the request to the terminal. The terminal receives and processes the request over the cellular connection.

If the cash register can't access the internet, network failover on the terminal doesn't solve the problem.

If the cash register has no internet access, it can't send and receive payment messages. Consider using a standalone terminal as a backup.

Using terminals with cellular connectivity

Most mobile and portable terminals have built-in 3G or 4G hardware and a pre-installed SIM card. This allows the terminals to send and receive payment messages as packets over the internet through General Packet Radio Service (GPRS, which is an extension to cellular communication).

If these terminals can't reach the internet through their primary network connection, they automatically switch to processing payments using their cellular connection. They will also switch back to using the primary connection when this is available again.

Many European mobile network operators will discontinue support for 3G from 2020 onwards. If you're located in Europe, you may want to use 4G terminals instead of 3G terminals.

Set up cellular connectivity on the terminal

Because there are monthly costs involved with using cellular connectivity on the terminal, you need to sign a subscription contract with Adyen. We will then enable cellular connectivity for your account.

To set up cellular connectivity:

  1. Contact our POS Support Team or your Adyen account manager and sign the subscription contract.
  2. Wait until you receive confirmation that we have activated the terminal's SIM card.
  3. Enable cellular connectivity on the terminal:
    1. Open the Admin menu.
    2. Select Network > Cellular.
    3. Select the Cellular toggle switch to enable the feature.
      The settings are loaded automatically, you don't have to do any further configuration.

Disabled SIM card

There are several situations where the terminal's SIM card is deactivated:

  • If cellular connectivity is not activated on your merchant account, the SIM card is disabled during boarding or through a regular maintenance call. To solve this, set up cellular connectivity on the terminal.
  • If you remove the SIM card from the terminal and then replace it, the SIM card is disabled. Contact our POS Support Team.

Using a cellular router

If your terminals don't have built-in cellular hardware, you can install a router with 3G/4G network failover. When the terminal can't reach the internet through its primary network connection, the terminal switches to an internet connection over GPRS. The terminal also switches back to the primary connection when this is available again.

To ensure you get the best cellular reception, you should also install external 3G/4G antennas.

See also