What matters in IT when you have a Portable Church?

We are planning to launch a portable church next year. I’ve never had experience with this type of environment.
Have anyone who experiences or gone through or managing this type of environment? Setup for the service will be done every week and tear down every week as well as all IT gears too. I would like to hear anything regards to this. Thank you everyone as always.

I’m sure it will depend on what IT gear this portable church/campus will have. At our Queen Creek campus – which has been a setup/tear-down at a local High School – over the past seven years we’ve had several different sets of IT gear (for the purpose of children’s check-in and for volunteer check-in/name-tags) ranging from:

  • A portable cart with two label printers connected to a Cisco router mounted on the interior.
  • One year the router had a 3G card that VPN tunneled back to our main campus
  • Another year the router had a cord that we plugged into the High School’s network and it VPN tunneled back to our campus
  • In the recent years, the router was connected to another router – a portable 4G LTE broadband router https://www.verizonwireless.com/home-office-solutions/4g-lte-broadband-router-with-voice/ – and the Cisco router still just built a VPN tunnel back to our main campus.

That was the extent of our IT gear.

Would be good if you can use some network equipment like Meraki that doesn’t require your IT Team to be onsite to set up, and allows you to monitor and troubleshoot all the different networks from a centralised location.

You can use color labels or stickers to make it easier for any onsite staff to connect the cables to.

1/ If you can operate an effective manual method instead of relying on IT, do it (our parents managed it!).

2/ If you can operate a wireless solution, use that, but bear in mind the security implications and tie down the wireless access as tightly as possible. Make sure everything is pre-configured off-site, so you can just turn up, deploy, power up and it works.

3/ If you must use cabled equipment, nail the cables down (and I mean that literally!). I used to run a company deploying temporary voice and data communications in exhibition centres and festivals. Ethernet cables are far more fragile than microphone cables, etc. and break easily. Whilst they are cheap enough to replace, fault-finding minutes before a live, non-negotiable deadline time is one of the most stressful experiences you can ever have, so do everything you can to avoid it. Where cables are necessary between equipment, put it all in a common flight case back at base, cable everything in correctly, test it, then tie down all the cables so they cannot move or shake loose, so the whole system can be deployed as a single unit.

4/ train your team off-site to practice deployment so that everyone knows their task. Work out the most efficient method of deployment and document. If necessary coordinate with other teams such as those putting out seating, PA, etc. to allow you to deploy what you need, in the right order, without falling over each other or having someone disconnect/damage something without realising.

All good information. Thank you!

One of our mobile sites meets in a convention center. The cost for their hard lined wired internet service was $250 per day. We ended building a ventilated case that contained aWaaV airbox which allowed us to bond multiple LTE carriers (Verizon/ATT) with a Unifi UAP-HD at a fraction of the cost. It just required someone to unpack it and plug it in.

If you’re looking for a vendor to help talk through all the aspects for a portable campus, check out these guys, https://www.portablechurch.com/ They can help walk through IT, production, as well as lobbies, classrooms etc. They’ve seen every scenario possible. Plus good ministry driven dudes.

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