Heal Your Church WebSite


Teaching, rebuking, correcting & training in righteous web design.

Is wireless networking too complex for most churches?

Ever wonder why your church hasn’t gone WIFI yet? Flummoxed with the fact that you can’t get to your Google aps from a committee meeting? Still exchanging documents with the church office via sneaker-net? Perhaps the answer isn’t one of cheapness, but rather complexity – as explained in this recent Ars Technica report entitled ‘Home networking still too complex for most users.’

In this article, Jeremy Reimer writes:

Home networking is “pretty dismal for the average consumer,” and complexity and DRM issues are limiting the growth of the market …

… Gartner Research VP Van L. Baker believes that most consumers are unwilling to deal with the complexities of setting the SSID or enabling WPA encryption on their wireless router. He says that most consumers have a basic idea of what they would like to do with their home network, which includes sharing music and movies among various computers and devices. Baker calls the complexity of setting up a home network to share files, music and videos “the elephant in the room that no-one wants to talk about.”

Emphasis mine for a point well made. After all, when was the last time you talked WIFI with your pastor? In fact, why would you even talk the benefits of WPA versus WEP with your pastor? Sure he leads the bunch, but isn’t his expertise in other arenas?

Especially when such technologies are so poorly documented! Case in point, I’ll quote myself from an article I posted earlier this week entitled ‘Dean recommends the Netgear WGPS606 Wireless Print Server:’

… my work laptop can now print to both even from the back porch … but not without first re-writing the installation steps …

… It all works great, now if Netgear would only improve the installation instructions – as a documentation-induced failure in installing the first print server nearly had me returning the unit!

That was until I re-wrote the install process as follows …

Nearly returned the unit, moi, a guy with 25 years of experience in the field that includes some rather hairy networking and development. Once can only imagine what a church secretary and/or summer staff member goes up against! Or as Mr. Reimer reports:

“Technical complexities are typically problems that can be overcome with better software, …”

And I would add to better software:

  • better documentation,
  • better service,
  • better blogs,
  • better online FAQs,
  • better WIKI s;
  • and better BBS forums.

Such complexities also lead me to think that this is why there is also still such a great could of witlessness out there with church websites, church blogs and church email.

You’re mileage and experiences may vary – be sure to document them here in the form of a comment!

2 Comments

  1. Wireless? Not in our 75 year old building. I can’t even get a cell phone signal anywhere except, oddly enough, in the sanctuary. I took a Monday (church secretary was off) and drilled holes and strung cable the old-fashioned way.

  2. Rich has a point, some buildings just don’t do wifi. I know as I’ve been helping to setup commercial wifi for 5yrs now.

    Good article Dean but why would we discuss benefits of WPA against WEP with our pastors? Surely we’d just discuss the benefits of wifi with them without the techno jargon.