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Using MLS with Hotspots

Posted: Wed Apr 14, 2021 12:12 pm
by richphillips
I am a Stake Technology Specialist and one of our buildings lost internet service almost seven weeks ago, and AT&T still will not tell us when the service will be restored. An alternate ISP is cost prohibitive.

The FM area manager has promised to put hot spots in by this Sunday, at least for each of the two clerks. We have been using member hotspots with ZOOM to keep going with webcasting Church meetings.

However, MLS will not transmit tithing reports when using a hotspot to connect to the internet, I assume because the hotspots are not on the Church WAN. Clerks take photos of the printed reports and email them to SLC; I assume SLC inputs the data by hand.

Is it possible the hot spots that the FM office can get, can be somehow registered or identified and allowed to connect so tithing data can be sent by the MLS program. When I talk to the staff at the FM office, they say they don't know.

Is there a way to get MLS talking with SLC without wired internet service to the firewall?

Thanks in advance for your response.

Re: Using MLS with Hotspots

Posted: Wed Apr 14, 2021 12:19 pm
by richphillips
Is it possible to establish a VPN and do this. I know some phones now have VPN capabilities.

Re: Using MLS with Hotspots

Posted: Wed Apr 14, 2021 12:41 pm
by danpass
Some access points/WiFi extenders have an Ethernet port, to which you could connect a client. I'm wondering if you were to establish a wireless connection to a hot spot from such a device and then connect the meetinghouse firewall WAN port to the Ethernet port of the extender, that should give the firewall Internet access.

If you have an old router, you could configure it as an access point.

But I would think that the hot spot that the FM group is providing probably has one or more Ethernet ports. So you would just connect your firewall WAN to one of those.

Re: Using MLS with Hotspots

Posted: Wed Apr 14, 2021 3:39 pm
by russellhltn
I agree, the best plan is probably to connect the hotspot to the firewall.

I would turn off all the building wifi so members don't jump on the hotspot and slow it down.

Re: Using MLS with Hotspots

Posted: Thu Apr 15, 2021 1:00 pm
by richphillips
I recall several years ago, when we had FM techs, they could use a Cisco VPN and connect to the facilities subnet with their laptop from home. Seems like they needed the VPN software and a token (I assume pre-registered) to connect. I wonder id VPH software in the hotspot would be needed or whether that is all built into the firewall now.....?

Re: Using MLS with Hotspots

Posted: Thu Apr 15, 2021 1:36 pm
by lajackson
When our stake center was first built, it had no Internet. (Another story, another time.) So the FM Group installed what was called a hot spot by one of the local carriers. The firewall plugged into it and it was our connection to the rest of the world.

Because everything went through the firewall, everything was happy. I don't think the receiving end cares how the firewall is connected to the Internet, as long as it sees the firewall.

Re: Using MLS with Hotspots

Posted: Thu Apr 15, 2021 1:41 pm
by lajackson
richphillips wrote:MLS will not transmit tithing reports when using a hotspot to connect to the internet,
Perhaps this is a recent change? Several months ago our ward clerk sent the deposit from MLS over his unlimited data iPhone hot spot for several weeks after lightning took out the pole behind the meetinghouse.

Re: Using MLS with Hotspots

Posted: Thu Apr 15, 2021 1:55 pm
by russellhltn
richphillips wrote:I recall several years ago, when we had FM techs, they could use a Cisco VPN and connect to the facilities subnet with their laptop from home. Seems like they needed the VPN software and a token (I assume pre-registered) to connect. I wonder id VPH software in the hotspot would be needed or whether that is all built into the firewall now.....?
It's in the firewall.
lajackson wrote:
richphillips wrote:MLS will not transmit tithing reports when using a hotspot to connect to the internet,
Perhaps this is a recent change? Several months ago our ward clerk sent the deposit from MLS over his unlimited data iPhone hot spot for several weeks after lightning took out the pole behind the meetinghouse.
Quite possibly. I know years ago, MLS could detect if it was on a authorized network or not. A switch may have been thrown from "log" to "enforce".

Using an alternative network means the church computer is no longer protected by the church firewall.

Re: Using MLS with Hotspots

Posted: Sun Jun 06, 2021 5:57 pm
by schestev
I realize I am late coming to the dance, but wondering if MLS just needs to be "re-registered" using the hotspot with Salt Lake during the outage. They will see a new IP Address that doesn't match what was being used before. If that is part of the registration process it could explain why connections/transmissions fail through the hotspot. Although the firewall may indeed play a role, it does not create the external ip address. That is either assigned or negotiated with your Router and the ISP. Since this thread's last post was several weeks ago, I would be interested to learn what the resolution was/is. Thanks!