MPL Wireless Network FAQs

Q: Where can I use the MPL wireless network?
A: The network is accessible from anyplace in the library, including the outside patio and the downstairs conference room.

Q: How do I connect?

  1. On your laptop or mobile device, locate the wifi network "Menlo Park Library" and connect
  2. Open a web browser to view and accept the library's wireless usage policy. (If the wireless usage policy does not load, then navigate your web browser to an Internet web page such as www.yahoo.com which will trigger the wireless usage policy to load.)
  3. Accept to continue. Once you click on "Accept", you will then be given access to the library's wifi network and you will be redirected to the library's website. From here you are connected to the library's wifi network and can access the Internet.

Q: What if I can' connect?
A: Please try the following steps:

  1. Does it work for others in your area of the library? If yes, continue with #2 . If no, please tell library staff. You may have to move to another part of the library where reception is better, until the problem is fixed.
  2. Check that your wireless card is set to use automatic addressing (DHCP) (It may not be set this way if you use other specific wifi network settings when at home or work.)
  3. Check that your wireless card is turned on. Many laptops have an on/off switch for the wireless card.
  4. Check if Windows is preventing you from automatically connecting. Windows may detect the network, but will not connect until you tell it to do so. (This is especially true when it detects an "unsecured" network, like at MPL.)
  5. In Windows Network Connections, if you see an IEEE 1394 connection, try disabling it (Right click - disable).

Q: Why won't my apps work when I'm on the library wireless?
A: Users must accept the library's wireless policy via a browser in order to connect the device to the wireless connection. Once connected your apps will begin to work.

Q: I connected to the Wi-Fi network but when I open my browser I don't see a landing page. What is wrong?
A: Load a website on the Internet, for example, www.yahoo.com or any website you haven't been to recently. Sometimes the web browser will cache the user's home page locally so it won't attempt to connect to the Internet on start up. The splash page won't come up if the web browser doesn't attempt to connect out to the Internet.

Q: Why do I need to accept the policy?
A: To confirm understanding that the wireless connection is wide open, meaning is not secure. It also confirms acceptance and understanding of rules and regulations of wireless use

Q: Do I need to accept the policy every time I start a new connection?
A: The policy must be accepted once a day per device. By accepting the policy, it protects both you and the library by reminding the user the wireless connection is not a secure connection

Q: What do you mean the wireless connection is not secure?
A: The library wireless network is an "open", or "unsecured", network, and does not require passwords, certificates, or applications to connect. Thus it does not protect the information on your laptop from malicious users on the same network, nor does it protect information transmitted when using the Internet.
Gathered from various Internet sources, here are some tips to make your use of an unsecured wireless network safer:

  • Install firewall sofware to guard against incoming network attacks
  • Install and frequently update anti-virus software, preferably one that scans Internet traffic as it passes to and from the host system
  • Install anti-spyware sofware
  • Avoid checking confidential accounts or making personal transactions online when using a wireless connection.
  • If you do check confidential accounts (including web-based email) or make transactions, be sure the web site uses a secured (https://) connection.
  • If using POP3 to check your email, contact your email provider and see if they support an SSL connection.
  • Minimize the amount of time you are exposed to network threats, by disconnecting from the wireless network when you're not using it.
  • Consider a VPN service, which creates an encrypted connection to the service, and routes all your internet traffic through that.

Q: Is the wireless landing page compatible with all devices and browsers?
A: Yes, it has been tested with various devices and browsers on laptops, tablets, and smartphones.

Q: Why was this implemented, what was wrong with the previous wireless access points?
A:. The greatest benefit is better hardware for increased performance and range. The previous access points are 802.11g (54Mbps) with one 2.4 GHz radio. These new access points are dual concurrent (2.4GHz and 5GHz) 802.11n 3x3 with three spatial stream MIMO (450 Mbps per radio) and also provides features like roaming and load balancing.

Q: What does "Laptop-friendly table" mean?
A: It is a place with an electrical outlet nearby, in case you need to plug in your laptop.

Q: Do you filter web sites or web content?
A: No.

Q: If there are too many users, will I be blocked from using the wireless network?
A: No.

Q: How fast is the Internet connection at MPL?
A: The connection is comparable to average DSL/Cable modem service, but your speed will vary, depending on traffic from other wifi users in the library and beyond. MPL access points operate at up to 54Mbps (802.11g); and the library has a fiber optic connection to the Internet. The wireless network has been allocated a portion of this connection, which is shared among users. You can see your current connection speed by going to http://reviews.cnet.com/internet-speed-test/

Q: How was the wireless network funded?
A: MPL wireless network equipment and setup costs were kindly funded by the Friends of the Menlo Park Library. The Friends is an organization of volunteers dedicated to enhancing the library, its resources and services. Activities include sponsorship of events and efforts to promote literacy, as well as raising funds through the sale of donated books. To volunteer, or for more information, call 330-2521.

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