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2008 WiFi Connectivity Grant Setup

Congratulations! You've been approved for the Gates WiFi Connectivity grant. Soon you will be receiving your equipment. One box contains a Linksys WRT54G Wireless-G Broadband Router. The other contains either a Samsung Q1 Ultra (Q1) or a Dell Inspiron 1525 laptop (Dell). Although you may be tempted to start unpacking everything and plugging things in, please take a moment to read through this complete document first as it contains important information that you should know before offering WiFi to your patrons.

Q1 Untra Linksys WRT54G Dell Inspiron 1525
(images not to scale)

Here's what the Commission has done to your computer

ClamWin Logo
OpenOffice Logo
Firefox Logo
Windows Live Logo
Steady State Logo

  • Both have been setup for you including the first-run, software updates, and software installations.
  • A basic anti-virus program (ClamWin) and office suite (Open Office) have been installed on the computer. You are free to replace or augment either of these with other programs as you see fit. However, if you choose to install another anti-virus program you MUST uninstall ClamWin first.
  • Firefox 3 and Windows Live Photo Gallery have also been installed.
  • The Softex OmniPass software, which controls the functionality of the Q1's fingerprint authentication control, has been disabled because this machine needs to be made available to the public.
  • Two accounts have been created: one for staff (you have been e-mailed the password for that account) and one for the public (which is not password protected). Both have administrative privileges.
  • Windows Steady State has been installed. This program is similar to Centurion Guard which came on previous Gates computers. Any changes made while logged in as "public" will not be kept. Changes made while logged in as "staff" will be kept. Access to SteadyState has been blocked from the public login. (Refer to the section on Windows Steady State for further details.)
  • The library is responsible for installing future software/security updates.
  • Michael Sauers at the Commission is generally available to assist with technical support issues regarding the Q1 and the Dell laptop for 60 days. However, we strongly encourage you to take advantage of any local tech support resources you may have before contacting him.

WiFi Router Hardware Setup - Step 1: Initial placement

IMPORTANT: There is no need to install the software that comes on the CD in the box. Please ignore the CD and Linksys' instructions. Also, just peel the warning sticker off the back of the router and discard.

  1. Unpack the router and extend the antenna.
  2. Connect the power cable to the back of the router and a wall outlet.
  3. Choose one of your public access desktop computers and unplug the Ethernet cable from the wall. (Leave it connected to the computer.)
  4. Using the blue wire that comes in the Linksys box, connect one end of the wire to the "Internet" outlet in the back of the router.
  5. Connect the other end of the wire into a public LAN jack that your desktop computer was connected to.
  6. Plug the desktop's Ethernet cable into outlet "1" on the back of the router.

Setting Up the WiFi Router Software

On the desktop computer open a browser (Firefox or Internet Explorer).

  1. In the address bar type and press enter.
    Linksys 01
  2. The first time you log into the router the username and password are both admin.
    Linksys 02
    If your browser offers to remember this password for you say NO or you may be giving access to your router to any member of the public that uses this computer.
  3. You will now be on the Basic Setup screen. Change the Time Zone setting and click the Save Settings button. (Each time you click Save Settings you will probably see a screen informing you that the settings are being saved. This is ok and when the router is finished you'll be returned to the settings screen you were on.)
    Linksys 03
  4. Next, click the Wireless link at the top of the page. Once there choose the Wireless Network Name (SSID) for your router. This is the name that users will see when they look for signals. Feel free to use something more specific than Library as I have done in the example. Once you have picked a name, click Save Settings.
    Linksys 04
  5. Now click the Administration link at the top of the page. Here, choose a new password for logging into your router. THIS IS IMPORTANT! Keeping admin/admin as you router's login credentials is just asking for someone to come into your library and cause trouble. Also, be sure to record the new password in a secure location as unlike many Web sites there is no simple way to recover it. You will also want to change the UPnP setting to Disable. This will prevent certain types of software on user laptops from automatically changing router settings. Once finished, click Save Settings.
    Linksys 05
  6. After saving the settings this time you will be asked to re-login to the router with your new password. (The username is still admin.)

  7. The final step is to close your browser to log you out of your router. If you skip this step, the computer's next user may be able to access your router's settings even without the username and password.

To test your router turn on your laptop (or Q1) and have it display available networks. You should see the name of your WiFi network listed. Select your network and connect. If everything is working correctly you should now have full Internet connectivity. (Refer to the Connecting to WiFi with Vista section for more details.) If you do not, start over and double-check your settings. If you are still having trouble connecting refer to the Troubleshooting section below.

It is recommended that you now disconnect the router from the computer and the wall, reconnect the desktop computer to the wall LAN jack, and relocate the router to a new location in your building. (See the next section.) All of your settings will be remembered even though the router has been disconnected from a power source. You will not need to repeat these steps after you've moved the router.

WiFi Router Hardware Setup - Step 2: Final placement

Wireless access pointNow that your router is set up you should disconnect the router, plug the desktop back into the wall directly, and move your router to a better location. The Nebraska Library Commission cannot guarantee that this single Linksys Wireless Router will provide access throughout your whole building. Factors such as your building's square footage, number of floors, and construction material will affect the signal's range. Keeping these things in mind we offer the following suggestions for where to place your router:

  • Try to place the router centrally to where you wish to provide access. As radio signals radiate out in all directions from the transmission point, a central placement is best.
  • If you have a specific area in your library where you think users would like to use their laptops, feel free to consider that space when placing your router. For example, if you have a seating area at one end of the building, and no seating at the other end, you may want to place the router closer to the seating area instead of in the middle of the floor.
  • Physical security of the router should be something you consider. For example, the chance of the router walking out of the building is significantly reduced if you place the router behind the reference desk. Also, you can probably attach the router high on a wall using some strong Velcro or by installing a small shelf.
  • Considering the location of an available LAN jack will always be important. The LAN cable that comes with the router is not that long. However, you can always purchase a longer cable (CAT-5) to extend the distance from an outlet you can place your router. If you wish to invest a little, you could also get a new LAN jack installed in the location of your choice. Please keep in mind that for security reasons, do not plug the router into a jack into which you would connect a staff computer. (If you do not delineate between staff and public LAN jacks, then this should not matter to you.) Please keep the router connected only to outlets to which you would connect a public computer.
  • Placing the router in the plenum (the space between the ceiling and the floor/roof above) is not recommended as this placement will quickly degrade signal strength and quality. Keeping the outer antenna out in the open will allow for greater signal strength.

Photo examples of WiFi Router placement. Some are better than others.

Connecting to WiFi with Windows Vista

Your new laptop or Q1 that came with this grant is running Windows Vista and you may not be familiar with how to connect it to a WiFi signal. Here are the basic instructions.

  1. Boot the computer and log in as either staff or public.
  2. Look for the connectivity icon in the system tray near the clock. The icon should be of two computer monitors.
    Connectivity icon
  3. Click on the connectivity icon and select "Connect to a network".
    Connect to a network
  4. When the Connect to a network window appears, the computer will search for available WiFi signals. It should find yours and show the Network Name (SSID) that you set up in your router. The bars to the right of the SSID indicate the signal strength. The closer to your router you are the more bars you should receive.
  5. Select your Network Name (SSID) and click the Connect button.
    Connect to a netowrk
  6. Since you are running an unsecured connection you will receive a warning to that effect. Click Connect Anyway to confirm you wish to connect.
    Connect anyway
  7. Now give the computer a chance to connect to the network. This should take about 10-15 seconds.
  8. You will be given the option to Save this network. Be sure this is checked. This way, in the future, your computer will always connect to this signal whenever it can without requiring you to repeat this process.
    Successfully connected
  9. You should now be connected to the Internet and the connectivity icon will include a small globe.
    Connected Connectivity Icon
  10. After a few moments you may be asked to set the location type of this connection. Choose "Public". This disallows others using your WiFi connection from being able to see items on this computer from across the network.

If in the future you lose connectivity try one or more of the following troubleshooting steps on the computer:

  • If available, test another WiFi enabled device. If it works, it's probably your computer. If not, it's probably the router. (Refer to the Router Troubleshooting section of this document.)
  • Click on the connectivity icon and choose Connect or disconnect... Select the WiFi signal you're currently connected to and click Disconnect. They try reconnecting to the signal.

  • Manually disable and re-enable the WiFi antenna on your computer.
    • Dell 1525
      There is a WiFi switch on the right side of the laptop toward the front. Slide the switch toward you to turn off the WiFi antenna. Slide it away from you to reset the antenna.
    • Q1
      Press the Menu button above the right side of the screen. Using your stylus, tap the on-screen "Off" button for Wireless LAN. Wait 10 seconds then repeat the process tapping the "On" button. (See page 15 of the Q1 Getting Started Guide for screenshots and button locations.)
  • Reboot the computer and try reconnecting to the signal.

If none of these steps worked, try troubleshooting the router.

WiFi Router Troubleshooting

When WiFi routers work, they work great. When they don't work, there's not much you can honestly do. If your patrons are having trouble seeing the SSID, getting a solid connection, or seem to be surfing more slowly than usual there's generally just one thing you can do: unplug the router's power (from either the back of the router or the wall), wait 10-15 seconds, and plug it back in. After about 30 seconds, the router should reacquire the information it needs from your network and be ready to start providing access to wireless devices again. If this doesn't solve the problem, please consider these other relevant issues:

  • If the library's Internet connection is down, your router will not be able to provide WiFi access.
  • WiFi connections are slower than cabled connections. While your desktop computers are most likely getting speeds up to 100MBPS, your WiFi router will only supply a connection up to 56MBPS. Both of these are also affected by the number of concurrent users. So, two patrons using your WiFi access at one time will have faster connections than when there are 10 users at one time.
  • Sometimes they just don't want to reset immediately. Try leaving it unplugged for a longer period of time (maybe 30 minutes) and try again.
  • Lastly, you can try resetting the router to the factory settings. To do this, use a pen or pencil to hold down the reset button on the back of the router for approximately 15 seconds. If you do this you must immediately redo the setup steps listed at the beginning of this document.

In the end, this equipment will not last forever and if none of this worked, you may need to replace it.

WiFi Policy Issues

Here is a short list of items that should be in your library's policy regarding public-access WiFi.

  • Introduce the service
    Use your policy as a marketing tool. Start out by pointing out all of the benefits of the service before you focus on the limitations.
  • Technical requirements
    What will your patrons need to get connected?
  • Disclaimer of liability
    It’s their equipment, if they want to use it, they’re responsible for whatever happens to it.
  • Security issues
    Open WiFi connections can be intercepted by others with the right equipment and software. Your patrons need to be warned of this.
  • Limits of staff assistance
    Unless your whole staff is knowledgeable enough to be able to assist your patrons with their equipment, make sure to specify that they should not expect such assistance.

More complete explanations and examples of each of these points can be found in the Web Junction article "A Library Policy for Public Wireless Internet Access" and the MaintainIT article "Now that you have wireless, how about a policy?".

Regarding CIPA and your new Mobile Computer

FCC LogoIf you are currently filtering Internet access in order to fulfill certain requirements of the Children's Internet Protection Act (CIPA) then there may be certain additional steps you may need to take regarding your new mobile computer:

  • If you are filtering at the network level then you need to perform no additional steps. Since your new mobile computer is connecting to that network it will also be filtered. This will also filter the public's equipment that is connecting to your WiFi signal.
  • If you are filtering through the installation of software on your public access computers you will also need to install that software on your new mobile computer. This will not filter the public's equipment and it is our understanding at this time that you are not required to filter equipment not owned by the library.

Equipment Loaning Policy Issues

As part of this Gates Foundation grant libraries are required to make the computers (Q1 or Dell) available to the public. Here are policies that we suggest your library should implement in regards to this requirement:

  • Mobile computers checked out by the public are not allowed to leave the building.
  • Photo identification should be required to check out a mobile computer. It is also suggested that you keep the photo identification during the length of the checkout period.
  • Establish a time limit for checking out a mobile computer.
  • Have staff shutdown or reboot the computer immediately after it is returned. This will remove any changes made by, or files left by, the patron.

Promote Your WiFi

WiFi ZoneMake sure your patrons are told that you now have free WiFi! Here are a few ideas to get you started:

Windows Steady State

Steady State LogoWindows Steady State is a free Microsoft product that allows computer administrators to lock down many features of Windows. It has been installed on both the Q1 and the Dell as a means of security. Only two features have been enabled in these installations:

  1. Account locking
    This feature is set to remove all changes made while logged in to the public account. Public users will see an on-screen warning of this when the log in.
  2. Program Blocking
    Set it and forget itSteady State allows an administrator to block certain users from running certain programs. The only program that has been blocked on these computers is Steady State itself for the public account.

There are many more settings available. If you are interested in finding out more about the options Steady State offers please refer to the Steady State Support page on the Microsoft site. However, please consider carefully any additional restrictions you put on these computers as each additional restriction can significantly impact usability of the computer.

Also, the staff login will have access to the Steady State program via a desktop icon (and via the Start menu).

Updating your Mobile Computer

By default, Windows Steady State will remove any changes you make to the computer. However, this is a problem when you wish to do things like install/remove software and run updates. Here are the steps to make computer-wide changes and updates  to your computer without Steady State causing problems:

  1. Boot the computer
  2. Log in as staff.
  3. Perform all your changes/updates rebooting if/when necessary making sure you log in each time as staff.
  4. Log out of the staff account or shutdown the computer.

If you wish to make a change specifically to the public account (set up desktop icons, change the sidebar widgets, etc.) you will need to take a few more steps:

  1. Log in as Staff and run Steady State.
  2. Open the Public account via the icon on the right side of the Steady State window.
  3. Uncheck the lock profile option and click OK and close Steady State.
  4. Log out of the Staff account.
  5. Log in to the Public account.
  6. Make your changes.
  7. Log out of the Public account.
  8. Log in once more to the Staff account and run Steady State.
  9. Open the Public account, check the lock profile option and click OK.
  10. Close Steady State and log out of the Staff account.

A few more configuration issues

Reference Links

If you're looking for additional documentation, drivers, or updates they can be found through the following links:

For more information, contact Michael Sauers.