Meetinghouse Network Troubleshooting Guide

Last Updated: 15 May 2020 at 10:11

The meetinghouse network is an important tool for local leaders and members to advance the work of the Lord. When the network is properly installed and configured, it will deliver enough bandwidth to enable the basic functions of the Church to perform effectively. When the basic networking features exhibit problems, there are many potential failure points which must be evaluated in order to restore the network to proper function. Please consider each of the following recommendations to improve network performance.  

1. Check with the ISP for more bandwidth at the same cost. 

  • Work with the physical facilities representative (PFR) and facilities manager (FM) to determine if more bandwidth is available from the internet service provider (ISP) for no additional monthly cost.  Sometimes ISPs wait to change out updated equipment or provide increased bandwidth speed until the user asks.  
  • Ensure the ISP provides reliable, consistently accurate data speeds to the meetinghouse network.
    • Check internet speed at the modem to ensure it matches the contracted bandwidth (advertised rates don’t always apply).
    • Check the ISP modem to ensure it is the most current model of modem used by the ISP and provides the best throughput.  

2. Train members to be aware of and follow these best practices.

  • Strive to save the Church money by reducing internet usage costs. This is especially true when the internet has a metered connection or when there are data caps in place.  
  • Turn off Wi-Fi on personal devices unless it is needed for specific Church-related activities.
  • The stake technology specialist should turn off wireless network activity during high-volume events (for example, webcasting).

3. Use filter policies (managed, moderate, strict).

  • Maximize the proper use of internet bandwidth by selecting the filter policy which best meets the needs of the building. See the filter policy description on MHTech.
    • By selecting a more restrictive filter, fewer people can use the network for personal or non-Church-related activity. This frees up the network for more Church-related activity.
    • It’s been found that Churchwide 20 percent of network bandwidth is consumed unbeknownst to the users of the network. This is due to the automatic updating of apps when a Wi-Fi connection is made to hundreds of personal devices simultaneously. When connecting to moderate or strict policy filters, users are unable to connect to YouTube or the iTunes App Store or Google Play Store for app updates. This will reduce overall use of the internet.

4. Update old equipment to current Church standards.

  • The Church has made specific recommendations for equipment to be used in meetinghouse networks. Current meetinghouse network equipment standards include the following:
    • Firewall = Meraki MX64
    • Wireless access points = Meraki MR33 
  • Ensure that your equipment matches these recommendations for the best possible performance.  Note that if your hardware is no longer supported by the Church, it is usually out of support from the manufacturer as well. Please disconnect all nonstandard equipment from the Church network.  

5. Confirm wireless access points are properly mounted.

  • Follow the instructions provided in the Wireless Best Practices page on mhtech.ChurchofJesusChrist.org. Some of these best practices include the following:
    • Ensure the network has enough wireless access points (WAPs).
    • Ensure the WAPs are properly placed around the building.
    • Ensure the WAPs are properly mounted.
    • Ensure you have only MR33s throughout the building.

6. Check the meetinghouse network configuration.

  • Ensure the network is properly set up:
    • Remove unauthorized firewalls and subnetworks.
    • Ensure the building has been properly grounded and all cables have been properly terminated.
    • Ensure cables are at least CAT5 and that connectors are securely connected.

7. Confirm the meetinghouse has 5–10 MB/s up and 10–20 MB/s down.

  • Ensure that you have enough bandwidth. This can be difficult to determine based on how the internet is being used in the building, the number of simultaneous users in the building, and the filter policy which has been assigned. But assuming a typical use case of the building, a ward size of 200 active connections, and a ‘moderate’ filter policy activated with 5–10 MB/s upload speeds and 10–20 MB/s download speeds, the building should have enough bandwidth to support the following moderate use cases:
    • Webcast of stake conference (two times a year)
    • Administration of tithes on MLS
    • Administration of clerk and membership data on LCR 
    • Streaming 3–5 videos simultaneously
    • General conference streaming
    • Browsing internet for Church-related content
    • Family history work
    • Self-reliance site searching
    • Personal videoconference with members of ward council
  • Meetinghouse internet should not be expected to support huge family history events without modification to the AP configuration (borrowed from an FM) and a bump in bandwidth, which can be temporarily rented from the local ISP. 

8. Purchase additional bandwidth from a reliable ISP.

If all of these low-cost or no-cost network factors have been properly evaluated and maximized and you still have poor internet performance, or if you have unique use cases where more internet bandwidth is required for regular use, work with the local FM to consider upgrading your ISP service to get more internet bandwidth.