How do I connect to the WiFi signal?
Find a setup and troubleshooting guide at Free Wireless Computing at CPL.
I can’t get a WiFi signal, but the person next to me can.
Not all wireless cards are the same. The quality of your card versus your neighbor’s can be quite different.
Do all PDAs support wireless?
While not all PDAs support wireless, several manufacturers have adopted the 802.11b standard.
Will my Macintosh work with wireless in the Library?
Yes, as long as it supports 802.11b or 802.11g wireless.
Do I need special software or drivers to connect?
While you won’t need special software, up-to-date drivers have remedied many connection problems. The drivers included with the card may be several generations old. Updates are usually available on the vendor’s website.
What is the difference between 802.11a, 802.11b, 802.11g, etc.?
- 802.11a (aka Wi-Fi5) – Theoretical speeds up to 54 Mbps (with a fallback to 48 Mbps, 36 Mbps, 24 Mbps 18 Mbps, 12 Mbps, 9 Mbps, 6 Mbps) in the 5 GHz band, however, not compatible with 802.11b.
- 802.11b (aka Wi-Fi) – Theoretical speeds up to 11 Mbps (with a fallback to 5.5 Mbps, 2 Mbps and 1 Mbps) in the 2.4 GHz band, most popular standard with the majority of hotspot locations and equipment utilizing this.
- 802.11g – Theoretical speeds up to 54 Mbps (with a fallback to 48 Mbps, 36 Mbps, 24 Mbps, 18 Mbps, 12 Mbps, 11 Mbps, 9 Mbps, 6 Mbps, 5.5 Mbps, 2 Mbps, 1 Mbps) in the 2.4 GHz band, extremely fast AND compatible with 802.11b.
What do all the acronyms mean?
- AP – Access Point
- ISP – Internet Service Provider
- SSID – Service Set IDentifier
- VPN – Virtual Private Networking
- WEP – Wired Equivalent Privacy
- WiFi – Wireless Fidelity
- WISP – Wireless Internet Service Provider
- WLAN – Wireless Local Area Network.
Can I print web pages or files from my laptop using the Library’s printer?
No, the wireless network is not connected to the Library’s public printers.
I don’t have a laptop computer. How can I use the network?
Laptop computers are currently available for use in the Library at the following locations: Coleman, Logan Square, Roosevelt, Thurgood Marshall, Toman and Uptown. Please contact these library locations for more information.
Does the wireless network pose a health hazard?
No, the wireless network does not pose any health risk. It uses radio signals within the spectrum of safety. While there will always be controversy over the safety of exposure to radio signals, it is something we are exposed to whether we have a wireless network or not.
What kind of wireless card do I need?
You need an 11 Mbps 802.11b or 802.11g wireless network card. Many new laptop computers have wireless built in so you will want to check with your laptop manufacturer for your options.
How long does my connection last while I’m in one of your libraries?
The Library has not implemented any sort of time limit presently; however, the Library reserve the right to do so at a later date.
Why can’t I use my copy of Outlook/Outlook Express/Eudora/Pegasus Email/AOL or other email clients to send email from my laptop while I’m connected to the Library’s WiFi network?
Sending emails using a client such as Outlook requires that the Library open up certain ports on the CPL network. The Library has decided not to do this because people may try to send “spam” while at the Library, and unfortunately, it’ll look like it was coming from the Library. Please check with your ISP to see what their webmail site is and use it to send and receive email while you’re on the CPL network.
Do I need to update Windows for wireless?
You don’t need to update Windows specifically for wireless, but it is always a good idea to keep your software fully patched and up-to-date. You need to make sure that Windows remains safe when you are on the wireless network (or any Internet-connected networks). Microsoft recommends that you install all the “service packs” for your version of Windows. Visit update.microsoft.com for more information. Make sure that you have anti-virus software and that personal firewall software is running on your machine.
I can’t get XP to connect with your wireless.
Two very common problems are:
- On some XP laptops with both wireless and wired (Ethernet) connectivity, vendors ship with the “Network Bridge” turned on. You may need to delete this (under Control Panel, Network Connections).
- Numerous problems have been reported with Windows XP Service Pack 1 that are resolved by Service Pack 2.
I can’t use your wireless with Windows 2000.
A machine with an integrated wireless card and running Windows 2000 might stop working after installing SP3. Microsoft Knowledge Base article 327947 states that Windows 2000 SP3 turns off PCMCIA-to-PCI IRQ routing, which causes problems for integrated Lucent/Orinoco wireless adapters. You need to follow the instructions in the Microsoft Support document to re-enable the card.
Will Bluetooth transmissions interfere with my wireless connection?
It is unknown whether Bluetooth transmissions will interfere with wireless connections at this time. Bluetooth does transmit in the same frequency range as wireless so it is possible that the transmissions may interfere with each other.
Does a wireless card reduce battery life?
The wireless card does use the battery more since it is constantly radiating a signal to the access point.
I have problems connecting with Internet Explorer (IE).
In some cases, the proxy server setting is present in your browser. On a public network like the CPL network, it’s important that you turn off proxy servers. The wireless network cannot allow unauthenticated connections to external proxy servers for security reasons.
- To check proxy setting, go under Internet Options, Connections tab, verify that the Dial-up and Virtual Private Network settings are set to “Never dial a connection.”
- Under Local Area Network (LAN) Settings, uncheck each of the following: “Automatic Detect Settings,” “Use Automatic Configuration Script” and “Use a Proxy Server for your LAN.”
I own a Cisco, D-Link, Linksys, Netgear, Nortel or SMC a/b/g wireless card and am having throughput (slow connection) problems.
Check with the manufacturers for resolution. Some cards are more problematic than others, but upgrades are regularly available for the popular cards.
Can a cell phone interrupt my connection?
A cell phone probably won’t interrupt your connection, however, there are cordless phones and microwave ovens that operate within the frequency range of the CPL wireless (2.4 GHz and up) that can cause interference with the connection.
What else can interrupt my connection?
Wireless connects using radio waves. Those things that can cause interference of radio can also interfere with your wireless connection. The largest offenders, however, are those things containing water. Wood, people, fish tanks and walls can all cause the signal to be interrupted or lessened. If you experience a connection problem, try moving to a different part of the room or within sight of the wireless access point.
Why does the wireless network data transfer rate vary?
There are several possibilities including your distance from the access point (AP). You can see variable rates ranging from 45 Mbps to 1 Mbps depending on how close you are to the AP. Since a wireless network is a shared network, its data transfer capability depends on how many users are using the same AP. If more people use the same AP, then users might see slower connections.
I think I got a virus from your hotspot.
Hotspots do not produce viruses. They come from the Internet, often as attachments to email. It is strongly recommend that all users have virus protection and personal firewall installed on their laptops.