So your church wants to host a website training event?

By Dusty Merrill

Network Infrastructure Recommendations for Hosting Web Training Events

So, you want to host a website training event? That’s great news! However, there are some things to consider about your wireless network. The router provided to you by your cable or internet provider is a Consumer Grade Router, and is not designed to function the way you need it to.

Speed Believe it or not, your connection speed doesn’t matter as much as you think it does. The bandwidth required to perform the tasks that you will be doing during one of these training events is minimal. The minimum recommended connection speed for this purpose should be no less than a download speed of 30 mbps (megabytes per second) and an upload speed of 5 mbps. This is typical of an average lower tier cable internet data package.

Active Hosts The term “Active Hosts” refers to the number of devices connected to your network. This is where the rubber meets the road. Sometimes these events can have as many as 30 people or more attending. If everyone brings their own computer, and has a cell phone in their pocket, that means there are at least 60 devices trying to send and receive information to and from the internet. A Consumer Grade Router, that you purchased yourself or received from your internet provider, is not capable of this kind of data distribution. Attempting to connect this many devices to your wireless network will ultimately result in a crash.

Medium-Sized Business Router is capable of providing a fast and reliable connection to hundreds of devices simultaneously. These devices range in price from several hundreds of dollars to less than $2000 depending on features. What you will need depends on your situation and your needs should be assessed by a professional before making a purchase.

Access Points A variable of the effectiveness of your wireless network that is unknown to many is that the distance of any particular device from the wireless router can effect your network speed. As your router sends and receives data from your computer or mobile device, it determines the distance between you and itself based on the amount of time elapsed between data packets. As you move away from your router the speed of your entire network has to be throttled back to ensure a reliable connection to your device, thus slowing the transfer speed for every device connected to the network.

Now in plain English – your entire network will only be as fast as it is for the device that is the farthest away from the router. The solution to this problem is simple and inexpensive. You need to place Wireless Access Points around your building to ensure that everyone remains in an acceptable range.

Recommended: Access Point 
These access points must be connected via ethernet (CAT5 or CAT6) and can be powered by a receptacle or via Power Over Ethernet. Most Medium-Sized Business Routers support Power Over Ethernet, but if you already have a sufficient router in place you can purchase an additional piece of equipment that injects and electrical charge into your ethernet cables.

Conclusion If you don’t have a reliable connection, a Medium-Sized Business Router, and Wireless Access points, some small investments will need to be made. (Also recommended but not required – a firewall. )

One last thought: It is highly recommended that a professional be hired, or someone who has experience with networking solutions perform the installation. A network of this caliber will serve your community well for years to come and give you extra potential to use technology to create disciples.