Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Wireless Plans

Michael Hill and Chris Phillips from Sennheiser came to visit us to do a full campus frequency sweep. Since we are about to upgrade 95 channels of wireless gear across all our campuses and about 60 channels just at the main campus, they came to help do the frequency coordination. I was able to watch a while and learn a bit more about the process. I was very impressed with the thoroughness of Chris and Michael. They spent considerable time walking the entire building checking for rogue frequencies and also put transmitters in every room we will have new systems and checked all the other rooms to see if there was any crossover between rooms. Chris made a matrix showing all the potential places where there can be signals from other rooms. It’s not an easy process to track down enough frequencies in our facility. I am very glad that we are using some of the new 3732 systems that can reach a 90Mhz bandwidth.

Climbs on box and pulls out large drum.

Once again I want emphasize to you the need to have a plan in place to be ready for the disappearing 700Mhz band. Despite some well known periodicals saying there is still hope, the auction of the 698 – 806 Mhz range is over and those frequencies will be used by companies like ATT and Verizon among others. If you have any wireless gear in that range I highly recommend you find replacements. While you may be able to find a few unused frequencies, the question you must ask is at what cost? How would you feel if during a powerful moment of your service, it is interrupted by noise coming threw one of your wireless systems? Imagine the people in your congregation, both long time members and first time guests, jumping from their seats from the terrible sounds they are suddenly bombarded with from your system.

What is the cost?

The Sennheiser Evolution series is only about $550 for either a lapel mic or a hand held. There are some other even less expensive alternatives as well. Certainly worth the small investment.

No one really knows when you may have problems. I can’t even say for sure you will, but I know that I would hate to be sitting there trying to explain to my senior leadership why things went so terribly wrong knowing I could have fixed the problem with a bit of planning. I completely understand the fact that money is tight. Try replacing 95 channels at once, but the alternative is far worse in my mind. I will sleep better knowing that when February 2009 rolls around, we are ready.


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