Approximately half of the 17,000 LDS Church meetinghouses around the world already have Internet connections. Many more will install Internet access in the near future. For example, the Africa West area is rolling out Internet access to every stake center, district, and mission office in the area – a total of 64 locations. Meetinghouse Internet trends will probably increase, especially since Internet costs are now paid for by area offices.
It’s clear that the Internet has become an important part of communication in the Church – not just for clerk software (such as Member Leader Services), but also for teaching the gospel, helping individuals with provident living, doing family history and temple work, administering in the Church, and ministering to those in need. In areas where members are remotely located, the Internet also reduces burdens related to travel and cost for meetings and training.
Some members have concerns about the appropriateness of bringing Internet into meetinghouses. To make Internet experiences safe in meetinghouses, all meetinghouses are required to implement the Church’s firewall.
The firewall provides several critical security protections:
- It protects the network from malicious attacks.
- It protects the network from anyone attempting to steal data from the computers connected through the firewall.
- It filters Internet content brought into the meetinghouse from the Internet.
The following diagram shows how the firewall fits into your network setup. Note that only the firewall connects to the ISP modem. Every other device connects to the firewall for Internet access. This allows the firewall to regulate Internet access for all other computers in your network, including wireless devices.
In the above diagram, the firewall is placed between the ISP modem and the other computers. This allows the firewall to filter traffic to and from the Internet for all computers in your meetinghouse network.
With the Meetinghouse Firewall actively in place, the people and devices that connect to the Meetinghouse Internet will avoid most of the potential Internet dangers. For example, if a member goes to an inappropriate site, the firewall will block access and show a restriction page.
New Training Videos
To instruct members and leaders about Meetinghouse Internet and Meetinghouse Firewall, the product team recently created two short training videos. These videos demonstrate important details about setting up a firewall and extending the network throughout your meetinghouse.
The first video covers the importance of the firewall in your meetinghouse network setup.
The second video explains how to get Internet connectivity throughout your meetinghouse. More videos will be posted in the coming months.
These videos are engaging and fun to watch. They’re intended primarily for stake technology specialists, but anyone with an interest in meetinghouse Internet can view them.
Benefits Page on the Wiki
As you view the videos, think about the potential benefits and uses meetinghouse Internet could bring for your calling or others in your ward. The Meetinghouse Internet wiki has an extensive benefits page that lists the major advantages of Internet in meetinghouses. This page lists everything from clerks accessing forums on tech.lds.org/forum to stake presidents accessing the new Leader and Clerk Resources in their offices. Feel free to add your own ideas here.
You’ll probably need more how-to information as you’re implementing Internet in your meetinghouses. The Meetinghouse Internet wiki has recently been supplemented with more installation information. Go to mhtech.lds.org and see the links in the Meetinghouse Internet section for more information.
In the coming months, the meetinghouse Internet team will be releasing even more information on implementing Internet.