Wireless Internet

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MPL Wireless FAQs

Manhattan Public Library offers wireless (WiFi) access to the Internet for library card holders with wireless-enabled laptop computers, tablet PCs or PDAs. The Library's Internet and Computer Use Policy applies to all Internet access in the building.

General user responsibilities
How do I get access?
What do I need to connect to the wireless network in the Library?
My laptop doesn't have a wireless card.
Is it difficult to connect to the wireless network?
Where are the wireless "hotspots" in the library?
I can't get a Wi-Fi signal, but the person next to me can.
I got this message when I tried to access your wireless network: "WEP connection required."
How secure are my wireless sessions?

Is the wireless network filtered?
How do I connect to your e-mail server to send e-mail?
Do all PDA's support wireless?
Will my Macintosh work with wireless in the Library?
Do I need special software or drivers to connect?
What is the difference between 802.11a, 802.11b, 802.11g, etc?
Is technical support available from the Library staff?
When can I use the Library's wireless network?
How long does my connection last?

Is there a charge to connect to the wireless network in the Library?
May I recharge my laptop from a library wall outlet?
Can I connect to the printers and other software via the wireless network?
What do all the acronyms mean?
I don't have a laptop computer. How can I use the wireless network?
Does the wireless network pose a health hazard?
Will Bluetooth transmissions interfere with my Wireless connection?
Can a cell phone interrupt my connection?
What else can interrupt my connection?
Why does the wireless network data transfer rate vary?
I think I got a virus from your Hotspot.
I have a question that is not answered here.

Please be advised that:

  • Due to insurance limitations and warranties, Library staff is not allowed to configure users' laptop or handheld computers or install any devices or software on those computers. Library staff is not able to provide technical assistance for laptops, cards or configurations. If you need assistance, contact the manufacturer of your laptop or software.
  • The Library's wireless network is not secure, and the Library cannot guarantee the safety of your traffic across its wireless network. Information sent to or from your laptop can be captured by anyone else with a wireless device and appropriate software, within up to three hundred feet.
  • Anti-virus, security, and privacy protection is the responsibility of the user.
  • 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.
  • The connection shall not be used for illegal or capacity-hogging purposes, nor shall it be used in such a way to violate library policies.
  • Users must click on the checkmark box next to the "I accept terms of service" statement to connect to the Library's wireless network and by doing so, users are agreeing to abide by all Library policies. If you successfully connect, you will be taken to the Manhattan Public Library's website.

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How do I get access?
You must have a valid library card to use the library's wireless network. Wireless access is a privilege offered by the library under the Internet and Computer Use Policy. This policy states the terms of access and your responsibilities for using access through the library.
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What do I need to connect to the wireless network in the Library?
You need an 11Mbps 802.11b or 802.11g wireless network card. Many new laptop computers have wireless built-in. Check with your laptop manufacturer for your options. You will also need to have a valid Manhattan Public Library Card.

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My laptop doesn't have a wireless card.
If your laptop computer or other wireless device does not include wireless networking, you may be able to purchase a variety of external laptop wireless PC cards or USB devices. The manufacturer or supplier of your equipment, or a local computer supply store can help you find the right product for your device. The library is not responsible for any changes you make to your computer's settings. It is recommended that you copy or make a note of any settings before you change them.

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Is it difficult to connect to the wireless network?
Not usually. Most laptops that come configured for wireless access can automatically pick up the wireless signal. If yours does not, you will have to know how to use your wireless device's configuration software to connect to the wireless network.

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Where are the wireless "hotspots" in the library?
Wireless access is available in as many spots of the library as possible, but you may encounter some "dead" spots where reception may be limited. If you have trouble accessing the Internet or staying online, please move to a different location within the library.

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I can't get a Wi-Fi 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.

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I got this message when I tried to access your wireless network: "WEP connection required."
Our wireless network does not require a WEP key to connect. A user in the Library might see a list of several available wireless networks in the neighborhood; some are secured (and need a WEP key) and some are unsecured. The library's wireless network is unsecured. The user may need to select the library's network from the list. The SSID (or name) of the Library's network is "Library Wireless"

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How secure are my wireless sessions?
The library's wireless network is NOT secure. Information sent to and from your device may be captured by anyone else with a wireless device and the appropriate software. The library is not responsible for the safety of personal equipment, device configurations, security or data files resulting from connection to the library's wireless access.

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Is the wireless network filtered?
Yes. We use the same Kanguard filter that we have on our library computers. For unfiltered access you must be 17 or older, have a library card and use the library's Public Access computers.

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How do I connect to your e-mail server to send e-mail?
For several reasons including security, we do not support public access to our e-mail server from either our wireless or wired public networks. Please check with your e-mail provider to see if they have a web-based interface option available for access to your email account.

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Do all PDA's support wireless?
While not all PDA's support wireless, several manufacturers have adopted the 802.11b standard.

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Will my Macintosh work with wireless in the Library?
Yes, as long as it supports 802.11b or 802.11g wireless.

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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.

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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 48Mbps, 36Mbps, 24Mbps 18Mbps, 12Mbps, 9Mbps, 6Mbps) 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.

The Library's wireless network supports 802.11a, 802.11b and 802.11g.
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Is technical support available from the Library staff?
No. Technical support from the library staff is not available. You must be familiar with your device and know how to set it up for wireless access. No guarantee is made that you will be able to make a wireless connection. If you need assistance, please contact the manufacturer of your wireless device or software.

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When can I use the Library's wireless network?
Wireless Internet access is available to users during the hours that the Library is open.

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How long does my connection last?
We have not implemented any sort of time limit presently; however, we reserve the right to do so at a later date.

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Is there a charge to connect to the wireless network in the Library?
There is no charge for using the Library's wireless network with your wireless-capable device. You will, however, need to be a library card holder.

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May I recharge my laptop from a library wall outlet?
Yes, the public may use wall outlets in the public area for that purpose. However, library equipment or fixtures may not be unplugged, and people may not enter staff areas or create an obstruction to traffic.
Several tables in our second floor Reference and Business areas have power strips on them or floor plugins located beneath them.

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Can I connect to the printers and other software via the wireless network?
No, the wireless network is not connected to the library's public printers nor does it offer access to any other software.
If you need to print, save the data on your computer to print it from home or work, or save your work to a disk or flash drive, then log on to a Public Access Workstation and send your print job(s) to a library printer. Library Card Holder print charges are 10 cents/each for B&W Laser prints and 50 cents/each for Color Inkjet prints

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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
WI-FI – Wireless Fidelity
WISP – Wireless Internet Service Provider
WLAN – Wireless Local Area Network

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I don't have a laptop computer. How can I use the wireless network?
Unfortunately, the library does not have laptop computers for loan. You are welcome to use one of MPL's Public Access Workstations.

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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.

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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.

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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 Library's wireless network (2.4 GHz and up) that can cause interference with the connection.

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What else can interrupt my connection?
Wireless connections use radio waves. Anything that can interfere with radio waves can also interfere with your wireless connection. Wood, people, walls and book shelves can all cause the signal to be interrupted or weakened. If you experience a connection problem try moving to a different part of the Library.

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Why does the wireless network data transfer rate vary?
There are several possibilities including:

  • Your distance from the Access Point and/or obstructions that might be in the way (see above).
  • The number of people using the connection. Since a wireless network is a shared network, if several people are using the network then users might see slower connections.

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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 anti-virus protection and a personal firewall installed on their laptops.

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I have a question that is not answered here.
For general questions about the Library's wireless network, email webspinner@eoly.ru. For specific questions about your hardware or software, contact the manufacturer.
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