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Posts tagged with: CITRT

Site to Site Streaming without breaking the bank – Test 1

About this time last year we were preparing to open our campus in Galesburg, IL.  Since the opening last spring this Campus has been using the recording of Saturday night’s teaching during their 11 am service on Sundays.  This solution has been a fairly stable, but has hasn’t operated without issues.  Additionally our pastor has really wanted to be able to teach the Galesburg campus live but we have multiple limitations… the distance between campuses is 50+ miles, our Peoria Campus is about 3-5 miles from any internet connections that can provide more than 10mb upload and any ISPs offering more speed has wanted nearly 6 figures in construction costs, and point to point connectivity is way more than we can afford.

In addition to the current limitations the locations we are evaluating for future campuses don’t improve limitations on the list above.. in fact, they might be even more challenging.  Yet, being live is a huge desire from our leadership, so our quest continues.

Since Fiber isn’t an option at either of our campuses (but hopefully soon), we are limited to 50×10 cable modem in Peoria and a 16×2 cable modem in Galesburg.

our requirements for site to site streaming needs to:
-  provide 1080i display in the remote locations
-  not rely upon a private point to point connection
-  not require more than 10 mb upload from the sending location
-  be a solution that is easily reproduced for future sites in smaller towns with limited connectivity
-  be easily powered up and down by volunteers (not a 30 step process between multiple platforms).

We have demoed the Haivision Mako encoder/decoders and while the encoded video they produce is pretty amazing.. the pricetag is way to high to “not break the bank” not to mention  too high for for a “test environment” as we figure out what “live streaming” really means to our organization.  (However, you should at minimum demo their gear.. the Haivision gear gives a great benchmark for anything else you test.)

So we have been doing some testing with various other streaming solutions and thought we might share our mileage.

For our testing / phase 1 project we decided to try several pieces of gear:
-  Marshall VS-102 Encoder/Decoders
-  Wirecast and Wowza Streaming to a Roku
-  Marshall VS-102 and Zixi.com Hybrid

Our Media director thru the Church Technical Leaders and our peers at Willow Creek came across a encoder/decoder hardware (Marshall VS-102) made by the Display Monitor company Marshall Electronics (and Marshall USA).  We had heard that people were having good success using the VS-102 on the LAN but the device was capable of WAN streaming site to site.  The hardware is also able to additionally stream bi-directional Audio… (hmm maybe ClearCom in addition to the video’s audio?) This device across a LAN some pretty awesome results!  I came into the test expecting YouTube quality and was amazed.  If you are looking for a way to extend your HD/SDI video infrastructure this is a device you should checkout.  I don’t know of many hardware encoder/decoders in this price point … let alone something that can provide such a quality signal.

After a local LAN test, We quickly configured the boxes and streamed from site to site over our hardware VPN connections.  Remember we are using cable modems for our internet.. and the streaming at 1mb was solid.. but video quality was lacking… moving much above 2.5 mb we started to get a lot of jitter and audio drop outs.  If you have more than 10 mb upload.. I suspect you would have much better results, but those are just suspicions since we weren’t able to do such testing.

Next enter Chris Kehayias and his teaching us about Zixi.com.  Zixi is an internet based “private CDN” (Content Delivery Network), their strength is delivering HD video content over the public internet, including higher latency connections without the receiving end dropping frames or loosing quality or dropping audio.  The really awesome piece of the puzzle is the ability to stream from Zixi to a Netgear 550 Media Player.. (a endpoint and decoder for under $100 similar concept to roku).

So with all this new knowledge we started some field testing in Galesburg, so I thought I would share what we have tested and what our results were.

We first started streaming site to site with the two VS-102 units, with similar results to our pretesting, dropping frames and audio if we went above 3 mb.  Next we tested a roku streaming via the Amazon EC2 services but had stability issues even at 1 mb.  The quality of the video, when stable was pretty good, but couldn’t get it dialed in to keep a constant connection.  Next we configured the VS-102 encoder to stream a TS-Mpeg stream rather than the default streaming VS-102 to VS-102.  It streams to the Zixi “sending” application on a PC on the same network.  This PC is responsible for applying the Zixi goodness to the stream and sending it to their cloud.  Then at the remote campus we configured a Netgear 550 Media Player, pointed it to the stream and we have video.  We let the stream ‘chew’ for over 2 1/2 hrs, never dropped a frame or received the audio garbled.

The only real test we couldn’t get working was to us the VS-102 decoder rather than the Netgear 550.  This was because we couldn’t get the VS-102 to receive what the Zixi receiver was pushing across the LAN.  We are working with Marshall support and expect to test this part soon.  Our motivation to getting the VS-102 to be the end point in Galesburg, 1 is the output of HD/SDI but also hopefully an improved video output beyond the Netgear Media Player.

After a fairly strong showing in Galesburg on Friday, we took the advice of Chris Kehayias, testing the stream during service to see the impact when our Wi-Fi is most populated and everything is buzzing… So during the Sunday Am services we tried streaming from the Peoria Campus to my house via Zixi, first 2 hrs total fail.. too much chewing thru our upload… and after smacking around a dropbox upload we were able to get a stable connection to Zixi and from there smooth sailing… even while the Sending Zixi software reporting having to recover over 50k dropped packets.  On the receiving end, you wouldn’t have known that Zixi was working so hard to keep the stream stable.

Overall I have been impressed by the flexibility of the VS-102, however their support has been limited.  The service of Zixi has been pretty amazing..  keeping a stream rock solid even with pretty poor ISP conditions.

Top Ten Reasons to attend the Church IT Roundtable 2012

The 2012 top ten reasons to attend the Church IT RoundTable in Dallas Texas April 18th – 20th.


10. You have a project you need to finish by May 1st and don’t have a clue how to do it… nothing like 100+ free consultants to help you.

9. BBQ (nuff said)

8. North Texas spring thunderstorms are awesome!

7. LAN Party (Throw back to an old school LAN party) Bring your own DEW.

6. In & Out Burger AND Chick-Fila AND Hard 8 BBQ in the same city!

5. Free Workshops on Networking/Vmware, VOIP, Wifi and Exchange.  Yes I said FREE!

4. Trying out some of the cheapest most promising site to site streaming gear.

3. Building relationships with some of the most committed partners (aka vendors) serving the Church IT market who are ready to make your ministry shine.

2.  Because everyone else is going.. and you’ll be sad if you aren’t.

1. Hundreds possibly Thousands of Dollars worth of training and peer learning for only the cost of admission $75!

Don’t wait Register NOW!

National Church IT RoundTable 2012–Dallas Texas


I can’t believe that it’s that time of year again, but registration officially opens today for the National Church IT RoundTable (CITRT) April 18-20, 2012

The National CITRT  is one of those events that I plan to make every year… Thankfully 3.0’s release date is early March so I won’t feel TOOO guilty leaving my wife at home with a newborn and a 31/2 yr old.

The Church IT Round table gatherings are a great time to reconnect with old friends, meet some great new friends and learn from some of the great minds in Church IT.  I am already making my list of things I plan to learn while in Dallas.

Make plans now to join us at Watermark Church in Dallas.  This is going to be a can’t miss event!

JUST $75 includes most meals and the event registration for the 2 days (and optional training day).

This year we are adding a optional Pre-Event Training day that will include workshops on:
- Exchange
- VMWare & Networking
- and more

Also NEW this year, we’re making a focused effort to involve Church Web/ChMS developers and integrators, this is an important group of peers to our community, so this year we are building a track for web/dev.  We want our web/dev peers to benefit from an event like we have had over the past 6 years. The web/dev track will have breakout sessions to geek out about code, APIs, ChMS integrations, tools and best practices. These breakouts will be lead by web/dev heads David Drinnon (Second Baptist Houston) and Chris Kehayias (Calvary Chapel Melbourne). So go now and invite your web/dev peers on staff to join you this spring.

If you only go to one training/convention/workshop this year, CITRT2012 is the can’t miss event.. CITRT2012 will make you a better IT Pro, help you build relationships with others doing the same projects you are working on, and improve the ministry you support!

Check out the event info here: http://www.churchitnetwork.com/spring2012/

If you are a vendor with focus on serving the Church market and would like to partner with CITRT to help with this even or have space at the vendor expo check out the “Become A Partner” tab: http://www.churchitnetwork.com/spring2012/

National Church IT RoundTable 2/24-2/25

The Spring 2010 Church IT RoundTable is just a few weeks away in Sunny Florida!   If you haven’t registered go on over to www.citrt.org.  This event will be our best yet!  Where else will you find a event for under $100 that Includes tours of Northland Church in Orlando and an “Up Close and Personal” Tour of the Kennedy Space Center.. and that’s just the pre-event agenda! (Both tours are included in the event registration.)

One of the great aspects of the CITRT National events is meeting up with IT Peers you already know and meeting new peers too!  Where else can you meet up with Church IT professionals who do what you do at ministries all over the country, all with the same goals to learn from others experiences or to share things learned over the last year. 

If the peer learning wasn’t enough, there are some great event sponsors participating and are ready to give you the necessary help or information to roll out those big projects for the coming year.  We will be again having the Vendor Bazaar were CITRT partners can share, demo, explain etc the technology and tools they sell.

Maybe there is already one of those “would it be possible…” projects on your list and you don’t know how to get the solutions.. I am sure someone at the RoundTable will have an answer or know someone who does.

If you are joining us at the RoundTable but you haven’t invited a colleague from your town to join you what are you waiting for, make the call and allow someone new to experience CITRT this spring!

See you in Florida!

Serving & Security Best Practices Web Event

Check out this web event Hosted by ACS Technologies.  Angus Davis has great insight on Volunteer and Children’s security and you should check out the web event. Register by clicking one of the options below. 



Note: NON-ACS Customers, when registering Enter “CITRT” as your ‘Site Number’.




vmware Midwest Users Group

For those in central Indiana or the Midwest this is a FREE event you might want to plan to take in.


The Indianapolis VMUG invites you to join us for our 2nd Annual Midwest "Back to School" Demo Days 2009 on Thursday, August 6th at the University Place Conference Center and Hotel (on the campus of IUPUI).

Join other VMware users for this FREE knowledge-packed day as we network, share ideas and learn how to get the most out of your VMware solutions. There will be live demos and presentations throughout the day!


07:00 – 08:00am – Registration

08:00 – 08:30am – Keynote / Opening Remarks

08:45 – 11:45am – Demonstrations & Presentations

12:00 – 01:00pm – Lunch and Expo

01:00 – 04:00pm – Demonstrations & Presentations

04:00 – 05:00pm – Reception (open bar & hors d’oeuvres)

We’ll also be featuring:

  • Hands-on labs using VMware View and Wyse Thin Clients
  • Wii Lounge
  • Course Offerings Onsite by Avnet Technology Services
    (for an additional fee)

The VMUG Team

Register Now

GCC Church IT Roundtable session 4


  • What are you buying when you buy a SIP Trunk
    • Voice dial tone over the data connection rather than a PRI
  • Bandwidth.com
  • Many are seeing cost savings in the $1k’s
  • Make sure your PS/ALI (911) is compatible
  • Do you need to keep copper for Fire, Elevator, etc…
    • In some areas this can be done wireless
  • What about Hosted PBX
    • Bandwith.com can be trusted for this.
    • Response point is second possible solution

Gapps or Exchange or hosted exchange

Approachability – Friendly IT

  • Users have to be able to approach IT
  • How do you help your users ask questions when they should be asking question?
    • Use a Ticketing System they can ask for things they might not think to ask when chatting in conversation.
      • Zen Desk
  • Ask for meeting times be proactive don’t wait
  • Set appropriate expectations for the users when you will be able to respond.


  • Tracking ticketing time
  • How much does a new staff member cost?
  • Do leadership make Technology a priority?

GCC Church IT RoundTable Session 3

Admin or Not to Admin cont.

What happens when they have admin rights and things go bad

  • If you allow Admin access you "Must" have standardization and images of each "flavor" of workstation.
  • What do users "need"?
  • Does Software and Hardware get purchased Centrally?
  • Some applications get un happy when they don’t have local permissions

Spyware Removal

  • Malwarebites.org

Application Deployment/Virtualization


  • Ewallet
  • SecretServer – Multi User
  • How Frequently do the passwords change

What is the burden on IT of the "pitfalls" of Social Media

  • Leadership has to decided assisted with by the direction of IT what the orgization’s going to "Use" social media for… then IT has to come along side with the vision/mission
  • We have to digest social media for our leadership so they "get it"
  • Find an advocate for IT on staff… find someone who can digest Technology on your behalf.

GCC Church IT RoundTable Session 2

Revisit SLA of DR with Executive Team

Computer Emergency Response Team Cert – http://www.cert.org/

StorageCraft – http://www.storagecraft.com/


  • Allow/Block?
  • Content Filtering -
  • Open DNS
  • Dan’s Guardian
  • Sonicwall Content Filtering
  • Untangle
  • IPCop
  • Estro

PC and Mac Solutions for Mac remote clients

  • Not Blocking IM – But Archiving it?

Why do IM?

  • Step between email and a phone call
  • Reduce Email Ping Pong

Why Not do IM

  • File Transfer conduit

Colaboration Tools

  • Live Mesh
  • Groove
  • Adobe Connect
  • Skype
  • FreeConfrencecall.com
  • Callaflower.com
  • Mobile Content Filtering
  • Convenient Eyes – Accountability Software


  • Postini – $1500 min
    • Resellers are a little more $$ but they provide support direct from Google doesn’t
  • Barracuda
  • Sonicwall
  • ExchangeDefender

Inbound and Outbound filtering

  • Catching outbound emails containing credit card information

Data (PCI) Compliance – how are you managing data on laptops etc.

  • Policy /Guidelines
  • Enabling TPM
  • Cornel Spider – Searches computer for security numbers http://www2.cit.cornell.edu/security/tools/
  • If its important enough to keep from people seeing it… its important enough to have backed up centrally
  • Make the Network Work and make the network Secure… those two are mutually Exclusive… there has to be balance.

Admin or not to Admin (locally)

  • Why Local Admin – Super rapid growth couldn’t support locked down machines

ACS Pre-Convention Day (Roundtable & Checkpoint 201)

Today we had a great crowd at the ACS Church IT Roundtable.  As always I got really jazzed and fired up from the peer learning and community that are parts of all CITRT events.  There were a lot of new people to meet, and I also enjoyed getting to know some CITRTers I had talked with but never met…. Like Jeff Suever Great to meet you!

The conversation was great and I even got to shamelessly plug CITRT.org for those who haven’t’ heard of it… thanks Dean.

The afternoon consisted of the Checkpoint 201-Launching Checkpoint Successfully in your Church pre-convention workshop… This was a great group and we had a lot of fun sharing our experience and hearing how others are planning to launch Checkpoint for their ministries.

As I noted in the workshop we are more than happy to share anything we have learned or produced during our Checkpoint launch that you might be able to use for your ministry.  Most of today’s content is now listed below but we’ll continue to add and update items as time goes on (Download Content Updated June 9th to include additional content).

If you have questions about launching Checkpoint or would like to share your story with us we would love to hear from you.

  • Workshop Power Point (PDF)
  • Registration form (PDF)
  • Program Insert (PDF)
  • Website FAQs (Web)
  • Training Documents (PDF) (DOCX)
  • Self Service Kiosk Instruction Pannel (PDF) (JPG)
  • Self Service Kiosk Instruction Pannel – Draft 1 (PDF)
  • Self Service Kiosk Signage (PDF)