We are finding that old Symbol PPT8800 devices are very slow when they have a high volume of transactions. The scanning application uses Internet Explorer; the scanner gets data from a barcode to populate a field; the browser sends the data to the server.
In one test, we used a laptop computer with an external USB scanner, and the application ran fast. The laptop connected to the WiFi network in the same way used by the PPT8800. Therefore the PPT8800 appears to be the bottleneck.
The budget is rather small, so purchasing new hand-held scanners to replace the PPT8800's is not a good option. We are wondering if there is an inexpensive tablet computer would be a good solution. The tablet would need to run a browser, connect to the server using TCP/IP over an 802.11 access point, have a USB port to which an external scanner can be connected, and be able to provide occasional character input (the user occasionally needs to enter text such as login name, although even that could be barcoded and scanned; onscreen keyboard would be sufficient).
Is there an inexpensive device that would meet these requirements?