Since 1904 when Brother Nichols sold the Megiddo Steamer and located permanently in Rochester, about an acre of land in the middle of the buildings has been committed to a community garden.
Across the center of that garden area is a path. Nothing official, but it is the shortest route from one side of our premises to the other, and I choose it daily,or several times a day, as the simplest way to get from here to there or back.
Now the same beaten path looks different. Very different. Ever since the day our church decided to install a fiber optic line across it. The line was designed to connect our servers and allow faster transfer of our files.
We tried a surface line a couple of years ago, but it had continual problems with maintenance and had to rely partially on VPN, which is slow, cumbersome, often stalling. Installing a fiber optic line under the ground looked like the solution.
The project broke ground on October 8, right through the garden. Already the end of the season, there wasn’t much to lose or damage.The trench digging began on the morning of October 8 at the back of this building. The trench: 24 inches deep and 6 inches wide.The trench goes all the way across the center of the garden area. The conduit containing the line would be placed in the bottom of the trench and connected to equipment at both ends.
This is the conduit ready to be placed in the bottom of the trench – by the end of the same day, October 8. That same night the trench was filled in and packed down.
Now as I walk the path, you can see why it has meaning.
Laying the conduit and pulling in the fiber optic line was only the beginning of the project. Beyond this, there were dozens (maybe hundreds?) of changes configuring it all to work together—with servers, network switches, hard drives, firewalls and devices. And software! I would not venture to even generalize—it was all in the hands of Brother Steve, who in a few days had it functional!
God has blessed us to have his expertise on board, figuring out step by step what was needed to make it work—much being done even REMOTELY. During this long time of shut down, the advantages to all of us are that much greater and more appreciated. We feel that we have been blest, much more than hindered, by Covid19.
The result of it all is hard for you to appreciate—there are still “rocks” in our streaming, and interruptions, and parts that fail “without notice,” but when I hear how other churches and businesses and the local schools and universities are making out with their on-line work – with 14 minute delays here, and classes postponed an hour or more, and unplanned cancellations of meetings because something wouldn’t work—in places much larger than ours, where they have teams of professionals backing them up!—we thank God for what we are able to do!
Now a look at the real benefit of the change?
This “path” across the garden is no longer just a path. It has become a high speed lane traveled by all our lessons, songs, sermons, research, Bible studies, archives, website files, stored communications, everything that comes and goes with us either current or past. All take the same route from server to server, inside that fiber optic line that is in the conduit, 2 feet down.
Did we say high speed? It is lightning speed. It is a fiber optic line. That means transfer is via a beam of light. Yes, our data bits are traveling under the garden between our servers at the speed of LIGHT!
I asked Brother Steve for some kind of comparison of the speed in actual use, and he provided this. Putting it in everyday terms helps us make more sense of it.
I was looking at the MP3 files of a typical hymn.. 3 minutes of recorded music is a digital file size of 1 MB. (that means 1 million Bytes)
1MB (MegaByte or 1 million Bytes) is 8Mb (MegaBits or 8 million Bits) – we talk about our internet connection transfer rates being 50 or 100 Mbps – 50 or 100 million bits per second)
A bit is the smallest increment of data on a computer. Bits are usually assembled into a group of eight to form a byte. A byte contains enough information to store a single ASCII character, like “h”.
The fiber link can handle 1000Mb/s (MegaBits per second). Divide 1000 by 8 and you can transfer 125 three-minute Hymns in 1 second.
or 6.25 hours of songs in 1 second.
Of course this is theoretical. So Brother Steve explains:
Now, there’s about a 10% overhead in managing the connection and neither the NAS hard drives at #1 nor your desktop computer can keep up with that kind of speed, so as a single user you’ll realize about 40% of that speed.
But that is tremendous! You wouldn’t have had those video clips today without the fiber optic line.
Do you see why that path—now and evermore until the Lord returns—has meaning?
The Lord is providing for His work even while He mercifully has stretched-out the time for us.
It is all His provision, things we retrieve and stream to be spiritually refreshed, reminded, revitalized.
2 Peter 3:9, 11 9The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. 11Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness.
It is all making it possible for us to help ourselves and others toward the Kingdom.