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Computers, Internet, and Wireless Access

Wireless Networking (WiFi) @ Pratt Libraries

WIRELESS NETWORK ACCESS POLICY

The Enoch Pratt Free Library (EPFL) offers free wireless access for library customers to use with their own Wi-Fi enabled laptops and other portable devices. Note: printing is not available on the wireless network (see Printing).

By clicking "I Agree" on the screen to connect to the Library’s wireless network, you indicate that you understand the EPFL policies and conditions and agree to comply with them.

Wireless Network Services
Wireless connection-laptop-cellphoneThe Library’s network services are unsecured, filtered to comply with the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA) regulations, and governed by EPFL's Internet Use Policy.

The Library provides two Wi-Fi networks to the user: an open network and an encrypted network. The Library does not guarantee the security of either network (see Security). Both networks broadcast their presence, so a user’s device can detect and attach to either network. The open network is accessed by a user’s device scanning and connecting. The encrypted network is accessed similarly with additional configuration on the user’s part to set the shared (public) security key.

Security
Because wireless networking involves transmitting information through the air where it may be intercepted by other wireless users, the Pratt Library cannot guarantee the security of our wireless network. Therefore the users of our wireless network assume all risk and responsibility for any personal information which they transmit (credit card numbers, passwords and any other sensitive information) while using any wireless "hotspot." Users are also responsible for protecting their laptops or wireless devices from Internet threats such as viruses, worms, hackers, spyware, adware, etc. The Library is not responsible for any compromised information, or for damage caused by a user’s hardware or software due to electric surges, security issues or consequences caused by viruses or hacking. 

Connectivity
Wireless connections use radio waves. Anything that can interfere with radio waves can also interfere with wireless connections and cause the signal to be interrupted or weakened. Some cordless telephones and microwave ovens that operate within the frequency range of the Library’s wireless network can cause interference. Distance from the access point may also affect the strength of the signal. Since a wireless network is a shared network, the number of people using it may result in slower connections .

Printing
Printing is not available on the wireless network. To print, save your work and email the files to yourself, login to a wired library workstation and send jobs to the public printer.

Troubleshooting
Library staff cannot provide technical assistance in configuring your portable device or troubleshooting wireless access problems. For information on this, refer to your device’s documentation. There is no guarantee that your wireless device will work with the network. The Library assumes no responsibility for the safety or security of your laptop or wireless device or for information stored on your equipment resulting from the connection to the Library’s wireless network.

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HOW TO CONNECT TO THE EPFL NETWORK


woman using a laptopYou will need a computer or device:

  • With a wireless interface supporting IEEE802.11b, IEEE802.11g, or IEEE802.11n
  • A charged battery. Electrical outlets may not be easily accessible in the library.
  • Headphones, if you plan to use audio files.

Configure:

  • Your laptop or device to connect to the network using the Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP).

Connect:

  • We offer two networks: epfl-wpa, which is encrypted and epfl, which is not. While encryption offers additional security by encoding any information you send, the Library does not guarantee the security of either network.
  • Scan for the network of your choice, select it to connect.
    • For epfl, select to connect and open up a browser to start surfing
    • For epfl-wpa, select the network for connection, supply the public (pre-shared) key: epfl-wpa. Open a browser to start surfing.

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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

ladies by laptop in libraryWhat do I need to access the wireless network?

You need a computer or device:

  • With a wireless interface supporting 802.11b or 802.11g.
    Some locations support "n" availability.
  • To configure the wireless interface for DHCP.
  • Do not configure proxy use on the browser.
  • A charged battery. Electrical outlets may not be easily accessible in the library.
  • Headphones, if you plan to use audio files.

What services do you offer?
The Pratt Library offers two wireless networks — an open and an encrypted network.

How do I connect to the open network?
Scan for the network epfl, select to connect and open up a browser to start surfing.

How do I use the encrypted network?
Scan for the network epfl-wpa, select the network for connection and supply the public (pre-shared) key epfl-wpa. Open a browser to start surfing.

Do I need a login or password?
No, but when you open the browser, you need to accept a statement that you will abide by the rules of the Pratt Library in using the network.

Can I print from the wireless network?
Printers are not available on the wireless network. To print, save your work and email files to yourself, login to a wired library workstation and send jobs to the public printer.

Is the wireless network secured?
Like most public access "hotspots", neither of the Library's wireless networks is secured.

Can I access the Library's catalog and electronic databases through the Wireless Network?
Yes, access to the Library catalog and electronic databases is available through the Pratt Library's web site (prattlibrary.org). A library card barcode number may be required to access some electronic databases.

I can’t get a Wi-Fi signal, but the person next to me can.
Not all wireless cards are the same. The quality and configuration of your card versus your neighbor’s can be quite different.

Do all PDAs support wireless?
Some PDAs support wireless. Check with the manufacturer for your options.

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

Can a cell phone interrupt my connection?
A cell phone probably won't interrupt your connection. Some cordless phones and microwave ovens operating in the frequency range of the Library's wireless network (2.4 GHz) can cause interference.

What if I have problems? Can Library staff assist?
Library staff cannot provide technical assistance in configuring your portable device or troubleshooting wireless access problems. For information on configuring or troubleshooting your wireless connection, refer to your device's documentation. There is no guarantee that your wireless device will work with the network. The Library assumes no responsibility for the safety or security of your

  • Laptop or wireless device, or
  • Information stored on the laptop or wireless device resulting from the connection to the Library's wireless network.

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