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WiFi Access

Wireless Internet access is available to all patrons of the Library System of Lancaster County.

To use the Library’s wireless network, you will need the following:

  • A laptop computer or PDA with a wireless network card/device that supports the 802.11b or 802.11g protocol.
  • A valid library card from any public library in Lancaster County and the last four digits of your telephone number. If you don’t have a phone number on file with the library, a substitute number can be created for you.
  • A charged battery in your laptop or PDA. While some electric receptacles may be available, there is no guarantee one will be available if your battery runs out of power.
  • Headphones compatible with your computer/PDA if you plan on listening to audio files.
  • A signed Acceptable Use Policy on file with a public library in Lancaster County.

To access our wireless Internet services, follow these steps:

  1. If your wireless card/device requires that it be switched to on, make sure you have done so prior to attempting to access the network.
  2. Typically, your computer should automatically detect our network and attempt a connection.
  3. Open a web browser on your laptop or PDA.
  4. You will be prompted to accept a security certificate from the Library’s network. You must click YES to accept the certificate in order to proceed.
  5. On the left-hand side of the screen, you will see a prompt for USER NAME and PASSWORD. Enter your library barcode in the USER NAME field and the last four digits of your phone number in the PASSWORD field.
  6. Click the box to accept the Terms of Service.
  7. Click LOG IN and you will be taken to the Library’s home page. You are now on the Internet.

If you are unable to connect to the network, please see troubleshooting advice below.

Please note that library representatives are not trained or permitted to troubleshoot or configure your device for you.

Basic Troubleshooting Information

If your laptop or PDA can not access our network,

  1. Verify that your device can “see” our wireless network.
  2. Configure the TCP/IP settings of your laptop or PDA to use DHCP to acquire a network address and DNS entries.
  3. Ask a library representative for the wireless network handbook to view other troubleshooting tips.

Disclaimers

  • Library representatives are not allowed to directly or indirectly configure users' laptop or handheld computers, install any devices or software on patron owned computers. Please contact the vendor or manufacturer of your laptop or software if you need assistance with these issues.
  • The Library's wireless network is not secured against potential electronic eavesdropping; therefore the Library cannot guarantee the privacy of any data you transmit across our wireless network.
  • The end user is responsible for all aspects of computer security when using their own equipment to access the wireless network. This includes antivirus, privacy protection and system integrity.
  • The Library assumes no responsibility for any alterations or interference with a laptop's configuration, operation, or data files resulting from connection to the Library's wireless network.
  • The Library is not responsible for any changes you make to your computer's settings.
  • The Library assumes no responsibility for damage, theft, or loss of any kind to a user's equipment, software, data files or other personal property brought into or used at the Library.
  • The Library cannot guarantee that the service will be available at any specific time or that the connection will have any specific quality or speed; there is no guarantee that you will be able to make a wireless connection.
  • By clicking on the "Log In" button to connect to the Library's wireless network, users are agreeing to abide by the Library’s Acceptable Use Policy. This service has been partially funded with federal Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) funds administered by the Office of Commonwealth Libraries.

FAQs about using our wireless network

Can library staff help me setup my Laptop or PDA to use your network?

Due to the enormous variety of software and hardware combinations, plus liability issues, library staff can not help you setup your device. Please contact the company you bought the device from or the manufacturer.

What equipment do I need to access the wireless network?

You need a laptop, PDA or web capable cell phone that supports the 11Mbps 802.11b or 802.11g wireless standards. Many new laptop computers have wireless built-in, older models and many PDAs require an additional card to support wireless connectivity. If you are not sure what your equipment supports, check with the manufacturer for your options.

Please insure that your laptop battery has enough charge to support your activities while in the library. Electrical outlets may not be available in case your battery dies.

Please use headphones compatible with your equipment if you intend on listening to audio while in the library.

Do I need a username and password to access the wireless network?

To access the Library’s wireless network, you will need a valid library card from one of the 16 public libraries in Lancaster County, the last four digits of your home phone number (if you do not have a phone, we can enter a fake number for you in our system) and you must sign an Acceptable Use Policy governing the use of our computer networks.

Do I need to worry about security when I use the wireless network?

YES! Anytime you connect your computer to a network, including the one operated by the Library, you should be aware of the potential security risks posed by viruses, worms and hackers. We recommend you use a personal firewall on your PC as well as up-to-date virus detection software. For more information, go to http://www.jiwire.com/wi-fi-security-traveler-hotspot-1.htm

Is the Internet filtered on the wireless network?

All Internet access provided by the Library either via the Library’s public access computers or via the wireless network is filtered per the requirements of federal law. The filter on the wireless network can not be disabled. If you need to access a web site that is filtered, and accessing that site does not violate the Acceptable Use Policy, you will need to access the site via one of the Library’s public access computers. Library staff can temporarily disable the filter on those machines.

The web page says I have been quarantined and now I can’t get to the Internet on the wireless network.

The wireless network includes equipment that is designed to protect the network against hacking attempts. If the network detects an apparent hacking attempt, it will quarantine the computer responsible for 24 hours. During that time, the computer will not be able to access the network. If the same computer is quarantined several times, it will permanently be barred from accessing the network.

If your laptop is quarantined due to suspicious behavior, it could be because your machine is infected with a virus which causes the machine take actions which are against our policies. These actions could be mass emailing (spamming) or network scanning, i.e. looking for other machines to infect on the local network. If your laptop is quarantined, please have your local library contact the Library System’s technology department.

I can't get a WiFi signal, but the person next to me can.

Not all wireless devices are created equal. The quality of your wireless card versus your neighbor's can be quite different. Try moving to a different location in the building. Bookcases, walls, etc. can and do affect the quality of the signal and your device may not function well with a weak signal.

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, we do recommend that you have up-to-date drivers for your wireless device. This can prevent many connection problems. The drivers included with the card may be several generations old. Updates are usually available on the manufacturer’s website.

Can I print web pages or files from my laptop using the Library's printer?

No, our network does not support printing to Library printers from your personal computer.

I don't have a laptop computer or a PDA. How can I use the network?

Some libraries provide laptop computers for loan to registered patrons. Check with library staff to see if this is an option.

How long does my connection last while I'm in the library?

At the current time, the system will disconnect your session after two hours. You may log back in immediately after that. This time limit will be adjusted as we gauge the demand for this service.

Why can't I use my copy of Outlook/Outlook Express/Eudora/Pegasus Email/AOL or other e-mail clients to send e-mail from my laptop while I'm connected to the Library's WiFi network?

Sending e-mail using a client such as Outlook requires that we open up certain ports on our network. We have decided not to do this because people may try to send "spam" from our library and unfortunately, it will look like it was coming from us. If this happens, some Internet providers could block traffic coming from our networks. Please check with your ISP to see what their web-mail site is and use it to send and receive e-mail while you're on our network.

Do I need to update Windows for wireless access?

You may not need to update Windows specifically for wireless access 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 network connected to the Internet). Microsoft recommends that you install all of the "service packs." Visit http://www.microsoft.com/athome/security/default.mspx for more information.

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 to work after installing SP3. Microsoft Knowledge Base article 327947 http://support.microsoft.com/?kbid=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.

Does a wireless card reduce battery life?

Wireless cards do place an additional drain on battery life in a laptop or PDA. The amount of the drain depends on the device and the wireless card. Please make sure you have adequate an battery charge when using our network.

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 Library network, it's important that you turn off proxy servers. The wireless network cannot allow unauthenticated connections to external proxy servers for security reasons.

While these instructions may vary depending on what version of Internet Explorer you are using, for the most recent versions: 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.

Why does the wireless network data transfer rate vary?

There are several possibilities including:

  1. Your distance from the Access Point (wireless antenna). As you get further from the Access Point (AP), the signal strength weakens and the data transfer rate drops.
  2. 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 e-mail. It is strongly recommend that all users have virus protection and personal firewall installed on their laptops.


This page was last modified on March 18 2011