Industry: Religious Organization
Bluewave Services: Strategic Sourcing
Southeast Christian Church, based in Louisville, Kentucky, is known across the country as one of the leading church bodies in North America with thousands in weekly attendance across in-person and online services. The Church was founded in 1962 and has grown into a unified multi-site community. They currently have 14 campuses serving the specific needs of the areas in which they are located, while receiving centralized teaching from the Blankenbaker Campus in Louisville, KY.
Having a large church community means that reliable internet and security is incredibly important to the church. Southeast had been utilizing a Layer 2 point-to-point network for many years, but in 2019 the IT team realized that they had outgrown the solution. They didn’t have local subnets at each of their locations; additionally, they needed a more scalable solution that would grow with them. The church IT staff was adding more IP-based equipment at each new location but managing this across multiple campuses had become impossible with the Layer 2 network. Knowing they would be opening additional satellite campuses in the future, the church realized they needed a solution to leverage over-the-top bandwidth, placing a device at the edge to bring traffic back to HQ. After consulting with Bluewave and exploring the options, a Versa Networks SD-WAN solution from VergX was the answer to their problems.
“One of the things we liked about VergX is that they do all the configuration and management of the SD-WAN platform for us, but they also let us get into it ourselves and tweak or change things if we need to. So, if it’s something simple, we don’t have to put a ticket in and wait for them to respond.” — Hezekiah Barnes, IT Director
Security is a high priority for the church, specifically regarding web-based internet browsing. The church wanted to ensure that all devices using the wi-fi could only access sites that were appropriate for its community. Additionally, the church wanted improved up-time and network redundancy. Bluewave was able to implement a solution that leveraged primary dedicated fiber and broadband with the Versa SD-WAN device at the edge to ensure the up-time.
The new system was put to the test on Sunday, December 27, 2020, following the bomb explosion in downtown Nashville, Tennessee, on Christmas day. The church had planned to stream all the services live in place of in-person services. With networks down across the southern United States, hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses were left without internet. However, with the new SD-WAN solution from VergX, Southeast Christian Church’s new diverse network and automatic failover meant they didn’t have to do anything to get back online – they never lost connection. When the primary dedicated fiber connection went down following the explosion, the SD-WAN automatic failover switched to the broadband connection. Online service streaming went smoothly, and nobody on the other end of the screens knew any difference.
“It’s been great since we started implementing the service. On the first campus we nailed down details and the engineer understood exactly what I wanted to do. He listened very well and when I threw out suggestions, he was able to translate that and make that work on the platform.”
Besides the disaster recovery benefits of the diverse circuits, Southeast Christian Church found a sizable number of additional benefits from their new SD-WAN and internet solution.
- The church IT staff could rapidly deploy the technology at new campuses.
- Dedicated fiber at each location provided them with individualized IPing.
- Secondary internet broadband ensures a consistent internet connection with no downtime.
- The church can leverage the VergX local and campus firewalls to filter internet traffic.
- They have reduced round-trip traffic by allowing local activity to flow through the individual location firewalls, rather than routing everything back to the headquarters location.
- The church also chose to move more applications to the cloud, as the new VergX solution allowed them to accommodate this extra traffic.
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