Meetinghouse Internet connectivity
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The process for getting Internet service in your meetinghouse is not too different from getting Internet in your home. In both scenarios, you evaluate the available Internet service providers (ISPs) in your area and choose one that offers the best bandwidth, service, and support for an appropriate cost. However, when finding Internet for your meetinghouse, you may have to consider additional bandwidth requirements, especially if you'll be supporting multimedia applications or many users online simultaneously. Installation will also depend on a number of unique factors, such as your building type and your facility manager's recommendation. In a coordinated effort between the stake technology specialist and the facilities management group, follow the steps below to get Internet connectivity in your meetinghouse.
1. Estimate your speed and bandwidth requirements
Before you can evaluate ISPs in your area, you need to define your bandwidth requirements. Bandwidth refers to the amount of data you can transfer at one time from the Internet to your computer (or vice versa), and is usually measured in kilobits per second (Kbps) or megabits per second (Mbps).
As you estimate your bandwidth requirements, consider the following questions: Are you going to be webcasting to or from your meetinghouse? Will you be showing general conference over the Internet? How many concurrent connections do you expect to have? Do you have a Family History Center with multiple computers, or some other collocated office that will share Internet access? Will you accomodate video conferencing? Will you be training groups of people on various Church sites, such as jobs.lds.org or new.familysearch.org? Take all of this into consideration as you estimate your bandwidth requirements.
If you need a chart showing bandwidth consumption for common Church applications, see this bandwidth guidelines PDF.
In most cases you don't need to add up all the numbers. Just get a general sense about bandwidth expectations. Most likely you will choose a provider that gives you the bandwidth you need or as much bandwidth as possible for a reasonable price.
Примечание: Keep in mind that each meetinghouse Internet user takes up portions of the existing bandwidth. If you're holding a meetinghouse Webcast while clerks are using MLS, family history consultants are doing research on familysearch.org, and other members are browsing Mormon Message videos in a classroom, everybody will be sharing your total bandwidth. If the amount of bandwidth available to real-time applications such as Webcasting becomes to low, those applications may not function correctly. If you're running a Webcast, you may want to make sure others aren't using the Internet at the same time.
2. Find an Internet Service Provider (ISP)
After you have an estimate of your bandwidth requirements, you're prepared to start evaluating the ISPs in your area. Most likely your selection will be based on a number of unique factors specific to your area. In general, select the ISP that gives you the best deal for the bandwidth you need.
Keep in mind the following criteria when evaluating ISPs:
- Local area recommendations. Check with your area office or your Local Area Implementation page to see if there are ISPs in your that have special pricing for the church or that are otherwise recommended. If other stakes in your area already have Internet, find out what they're using and whether it's working well for them.
- Bandwidth speeds. Keep in mind that an ISP's advertised speeds are no guarantee. Usually they just promise speeds "up to" a certain amount. Most ISPs provide shared hosting, so the maximum bandwidth at any given time depends on how much bandwidth the other users on the same connection are also using. The result is the same as with traffic on the freeway: more cars/users results in slower traffic/bandwidth.
- Usage limits. Find out whether the ISP has a usage limit for the amount of bandwidth you can consume per month. For example, if you consume more than 250 Gigabytes of data in one month, an ISP may limit your Internet service. (250GB is a lot of data to transfer -- more than you will likely need.) If the ISP has a limit on the amount of bandwidth you can consume, you may hit the limit at an unlikely time, such as during a Webcast to an entire stake. When you reach the limit, your bandwidth often becomes restricted until you pay more money or the next month begins.
- Connection type. ISPs deliver service in different ways, such as through fiber, cable, wireless, cellular (2G, 3G, 4G) phone (DSL), satellite, or microwave. The delivery mechanism depends on what is available in your area, but in general, aim for fiber or cable delivery first. The connection will be faster and more stable, but these options may not be available in every area. Avoid dial-up connections or satellite, as the bandwidth speeds will be too slow and the latency too high to support some meetinghouse needs.
- Service level. The service level is the ISP's promise of the amount of uptime they guarantee. For example, an ISP that guarantees 99% uptime allows the ISP to have about 7 hours of downtime per month (given that a month has 720 hours). Find out what service levels the ISP provides, and how they monitor this to ensure they meet the service level.
- Contract requirements. Avoid long-term contracts, even if the contract offers a price discount. Contracts lock you into a fixed agreement with little mobility for change to embrace new technologies as they become available.
Примечание: Do not order Internet service from any ISP that requires combining the phone and Internet bill on a single customer invoice.
If you need assistance in identifying and evaluating high-speed Internet options in your area, please contact your Facilities Manager.
3. Order Internet service and the meetinghouse firewall
Once you've decided on an ISP and are ready to order Internet service, work with your facilities manager to complete the order.
You must have the meetinghouse firewall before you connect to the Internet, so be sure to order your meetinghouse firewall as soon as possible (one firewall for each meetinghouse that will connect to the Internet). See Order the Firewall for steps on ordering the firewalls.
Note: The meetinghouse firewall only accepts Ethernet Internet connections. In cases where affordable Internet is only available through services that present a USB or Express Card connection, such as 3G/4G, there is a device called a CradlePoint that can convert USB or Express Card connections to Ethernet.
4. Install Internet service in your meetinghouse
After you order Internet service, the ISP will typically send out a technician to complete the installation. The stake technology specialist and facility manager need to be present when the ISP technician arrives at the meetinghouse. The three of you will determine the best location to bring the Internet in and where the ISP modem will go.
The best place to bring Internet into your building depends largely on your type of building and your ISP.
Several locations are ideal. If your meetinghouse has a second floor that is spacious and that you can easily get up to, this can be a perfect place, since you can easily run cable to other portions of the building without having to hide it behind walls, you can mount equipment where you need to, and the upstairs location ensures both privacy and security. Another ideal location is a small room or closet located on the ground floor.
Consider these guidelines when deciding on the location for your Internet connection and ISP modem:
- ISP Preference. The ISP technician needs to connect their service to somewhere in the meetinghouse. The ISP technician will often make a strong recommendation of where this will need to be.
- Security. The ISP modem needs to be put in a secure place, behind a locked door, with limited access.
- Power. You will need to connect the ISP modem to a power source. If you identified a small closet for the modem, but there is no power source for the modem, you will either need to get power run there or look for another location.
- Convenience. You will need to connect the ISP modem to the meetinghouse firewall, and then to other locations throughout the building. Choose a location that will allow you to most easily run cables to the places you will need it.
Примечание: ISPs will often rent you a modem as part of their service. If offered a choice between a modem with or without wireless capabilities, choose the option without wireless. If your ISP doesn’t give you a non-wireless choice or you want to look into saving the rental fee, you may choose to purchase a modem (either from your ISP or from an outside vendor). Make sure to get one that is compatible with your type of connection. If your only good option ends up being a modem with wireless capabilities, make sure the wireless features are turned off so that people cannot use it to bypass the meetinghouse firewall.
5. Record important configuration information
After you set up your meetinghouse Internet connection, record important information about the connection. Important information to know includes:
- Name of service provider
- Contact phone number for service provider support
- Office hours when support is available
- Account number
- Account password
- Connection type
- Advertised down and upload speeds
This information will be helpful for setting up the meetinghouse firewall and troubleshooting connectivity problems later on.