Broadband internet / Web stream in our chapels in Australia

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Broadband internet / Web stream in our chapels in Australia

Postby phenonm » Tue Jun 18, 2013 9:16 pm

Hi ANZ Tech support

We have had many issues in our chapels around web streaming - i have sent in multiple reports around how this needs to be addressed - but i feel like nothing is happening. As a background - I am a video conferencing engineer who works for Cisco - the global leader in video conferencing technology. I recommend and engineer video solutions for customers every day - this is what i do, i know what works, and what can be done.

We are in a part of the Lords vineyard where we are growing fast. We got to the point where we could no longer fit all our members in our Stake Centre for Stake Conference. However our leadership do not feel its financially prudent to spend 10K to 15K renting a building big enough to accommodate everyone in one place when we have 3 perfectly good buildings that we can fit everyone into. So naturally we looked to web streaming to accommodate this need - i would have preferred video conferencing and even would have provided the hardware to do it for free - however we have poor quality ADSL 2+ connections in our chapels with home grade equipment. We tried web streaming on 3 stake conferences but long story short - despite disconnecting all other AP's, directly connecting the web streaming box, etc - we could not maintain a web stream. Even worse our chapels even when the stream was consistent could not receive the web stream consistently. My leadership decided to abandon web streaming because the internet is just too unreliable, we split the stake and now can fit - just - in the stake centre again. However its just a matter of time until we once again will not be able to fit and this issue will come around again.

So my fundamental question is - given we are going to be more and more going away from satellites, not hiring big venues, downloading and web streaming more, and even moving MLS more and more online - When is the Church going to get serious about providing quality business grade internet connections, integrated quality modem and routers (the router is cisco and is fine - but the modems are Dlink home grade), and develop a QOS policy that is designed to favor real time media that is in line with these needs and makes it easy for local leader to "plug and play" so it just works. We are saving the church tens of thousands every time we use our own buildings - surely it makes sense to enable that.

Specifically speaking about web conferencing I believe the web conferencing issues are potentially coming from multiple different angles that need addressing

1 - It could be the internet connections - we do have home grade Dlink ADSL 2+ modems and slow internet services. Certainly upgrading to business grade synchronous SDSL internet connections would help - i.e. a 2mb / 2mb link at Burpengary chapel - cost per month would be around $ 400 a month as opposed to the $ 60 a month i would estimate we are paying today. Total cost per year $4800 vs $ 720. At the chapels we dont need synchronous connections - ADSL services are fine as long as they are reliable (Redcliffe isn't / Burpengary isn't). I'm sure physical facilities could work with a service provider to improve the equipment and speeds currently experienced (we dont have access to any of this to check and recommend). We need at least a reliable 512kbps up and down for streaming to work well.

We could also get a 3G hotspot as a backup should our internet facilities fail (hopefully 4G once Telstra expand their coverage) - but to switch over would mean a break in streaming in any case - and also your at the mercy of contention from whomever is on their phones connected to the tower at the time - wireless is never ideal for streaming / video. We need a reliable internet service in every chapel is the bottom line.

2 - It could be the VPN tunnel to the USA - Currently all our internet and streaming traffic is sent over a secure tunnel to the USA from my understanding. So in essence when we stream our stream goes through this tunnel to the USA streaming server and then back again to the chapels. There would be speed limitations on the tunnel back to the USA and we would be sharing this tunnel with all other Sunday church traffic. So in essence this needs to be investigated - because if this is the case - no matter how fast our internet connections are - if the pipe is too congested it wont help. There are ways to check this and ensure that local traffic stays local and this may form part of the ultimate answer.

3 - It could be the streaming server - Given the streaming server is in the USA and it takes time to send all the web streaming traffic to the USA and back to the chapels - perhaps physical facilities should put in a local streaming server in Australia for these types of events. I believe a streaming server could be commissioned for as little as $ 3000 and would greatly benefit all streaming stakes in Australia. The church uses Wowza which is a media server i am familiar with - ... #customers its cheap and its reliable and traffic would stay in Australia!

4 - It could be the way traffic is routed - There are ways to prioritize different types of traffic - for instance when web streaming happens - it is given priority over all over traffic including wireless traffic. This could be a policy that is set on the router we have in the chapel and i believe that the USA chapels surely would have some rules doing just this in their routers. This would definitely help. I suspect there is no policy to prioritize streaming traffic - in fact i believe that there most likely is a qos policy to put streaming traffic in the slow lane.

I do Video Conferencing for a living - i know what it takes - if this were a business we would be not bothering with web streaming at all - getting proper 2mb / 2mb SHDSL business grade services in each chapel minimum, implementing QOS on the routers, and getting proper video conferencing equipment - then this would be rock solid.

This solution however would cost

$ 500 per month per chapel for internet connections

$ 15000 per chapel for the video equipment

$ 250000 on central infrastructure that could be used Australia wide for video broadcasts in 720P quality - you can see the wrinkles on peoples faces!

This would also enable members to join for free on their home PC / ipad / Mac etc

This is what they have in the USA - if you look up LDS tech - they have all this gear in chapels. In fact the church is one of - if not our biggest (Cisco) purchaser of video equipment globally

There are companies out there that rather than buy the central infrastructure of $ 250K - you can rather rent the infrastructure when you need it - i can get costs on that if desired. Also Cisco do special discount for NFP organizations - the Church would have a global discount that applies - i may even be able to get some of this equipment at minimal cost just through my contacts.

With this in mind - if streaming is still the desired method - surely

- beefing up the internet connection at Stake Centers $ 400 a month (less what your already paying)

- getting proper business grade equipment - $ 500 a chapel

- getting better quality internet connections in other chapels - $ 100 a month (less what your already paying)

- getting a local streaming server for Australia - $ 3000 for the server plus hosting costs of $ 189 a month / domain costs of $20 a year or we could use a local streaming company like Astream - ... -us-dollar - Astream have a web streaming server right here in Sydney that you can stream from for $ 312 for a 3 hour session and provide support.

Given we are really saving the church $ 5000 - $ 10000 per conference that we stream rather than rent a venue - surely there must be some appreciation that we need to spend some money - perhaps even absorb some ongoing costs - to ensure that conference is an uplifting and engaging experience for all.

I am willing and happy to explain all this in person to Salt Lake IT - Sydney IT - whomever i need to - ill even facilitate the video calls if needs be! But somehow we need to get the message out that locally we know what we need - we know what we are doing - we just need the agreement and funding to make that reality

Sorry for the long winded post - but its very frustrating to sit by and see this going on when i know how it should be and what it takes to do it - and even more than that - i know it can be done!

If there is anything i can do to help please let me know - an interesting stat for you in closing - We actually got a better attendance at Stake Conference when we allowed people to meet in their own buildings - by far. Isn't that what this is about - reaching more members, giving more members the opportunity to listen to the words of their leaders, be uplifted and more engaged. To do this - web streaming / video conferencing has to be dial tone reliable - no exceptions - and it can be if the church locally get serious and chooses for it to be.

Kind Regards

Matt Lammi
Stake Clerk BANS 519073

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Re: Broadband internet / Web stream in our chapels in Austra

Postby aclawson » Sun Aug 18, 2013 2:53 pm

This would also enable members to join for free on their home PC / ipad / Mac etc

This is unlikely to ever happen for ward/stake broadcasts. Well, I can't say "ever" - but there is exactly zero indication that such a thing is being considered - I'm sure it will be revisited in 15-20 years.

Will your ISPs down there lease you a fatter network connection for a single weekend? Some ISPs up stateside will do such a thing - a temporary increase for a special event - then drop back to the regular plan afterward. Such a thing might be able to help you. You could also try SkyMesh (satellite internet) and activate your account only during the months of stake conference. 4 Gb/data with a 6/1 connection = $24.95 for a month. Plenty for a stake conference.

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Re: Broadband internet / Web stream in our chapels in Austra

Postby michaelfish » Thu Mar 20, 2014 6:20 am

Before the church provided Internet connections to our ward buildings, our stake provided Internet and streaming services to each building for family history classes and bi-annual stake conference streaming via microwave radios. For stake conference broadcasts, the Internet is not required and a private microwave network may accomplish the task.

I understand your typography may be an issue, but multiple radios can overcome the line-of-sight issue and relay the signal many kilometers, so this could prove to be a viable option - and a relatively inexpensive solution. We were able to overcome our line-of-sight problems without using any member's home to repeat the signal, but that was the next step we were prepared to undertake.

Currently our Osbridge radios are almost a decade old, and we've replaced a couple of them (lightning strike and corrosion) but they are still providing 8 Mbps throughput and we have had successful stake conference broadcasts for 7 years now. Today's radios cost 1/10th of what they did a decade ago and can provide 150+ Mbps.

I have no idea what RF or microwave transmission restrictions are for your area but I'm interested to know if this solution was investigated.

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