Today was my first experience using the wireless network since the library has reopened. I didn't ask anyone for instructions and just assumed I'd figure it out knowing that at least Windows XP would scan for available SSID network ids. Using my little WiFi Finder I discovered that the Periodical Room had the strongest signal at full strength, and the study in the corner beyond the Emerson statue had good reception but less than the periodical room. In the remainder of the library I could not detect a signal at all, including the Thoreau Room and the Rotunda. I chose to read in the study since I was looking for the quietest area and there are several walled desks lined up across the wall to limit visual distractions.

I'll spare you the detailed description with getting on the wireless network, but here's a few hightlights:

Windows XP

  • Upon logging in to my account, Zone Alarm personal firewall did not start and the associated TrueVector Service did not start.
  • Windows XP scanned the network and detected only one SSID called Public.
  • Windows acquired a network address by DHCP, yet when viewing available wireless networks Public was listed as not connected.
  • Running ipconfig from the command line revealed I had a 10.5.x.x IP address
  • Pinging as a test failed (ICMP ping requests not forwarded to the internet)
  • Pinging the Gateway server worked (ICMP ping works on intranet only)
  • Telnet to on port 80 worked (emulating a Web page request)
  • Opening my Thunderbird email client failed to login to either my gmail or my yahoo email addresses (Pop/SMTP/Other ports blocked)
  • Opening a Firefox browser and requesting failed with no warnings, no messages, nothing. (did not trace)
  • Opening a MSIE browser (unwillingly) and requesting worked... sort of.
  • A popup warning for an untrusted SSL Certificate displayed
  • I viewed the untrusted SSL Cert details and then accepted it
  • My browser was redirected to a Bluesocket login page requiring me to enter my email address before permitting me to use the network
  • Submitting the request showed a brief paragraph about having logged on successfully as guest.
  • Browser then redirected to the Concord Library web, not the originally requested
  • Re-requesting worked. Yay! All web page requests ok.
  • Browsed for a while longer on MSIE and discovered by internet connection had failed.
  • A Windows popup alert for Repair Wireless Network Connection allowed me to renew my IP address.
  • I requested another webpage and was presented with the untrusted SSL Cert again.
  • I accepted and was redirected back to the Bluesocket login page.
  • After being redirected to the Concord Library page again I went back to browse the web.
  • A few minutes more I lost my connection. The Repair alert opened again. SSL Cert, Bluesocket, and Concord website again.
  • I lost my connection every few minutes forcing me to go through the whole login problem each time.
Fedora 3 Linux
  • Booted into Linux
  • Created new wireless profile for the Library SSID Public.
    cd /etc/sysconfig/networking-scripts/
    cp ifcfg-eth1 ifcfg-library
    vi ifcfg-library (to change SSID)
  • Started network - ifup library
  • ifconfig showed I had acquired an IP address
  • Instead of ZoneAlarm, I use the built in firewall iptables on Linux, and it works fine
  • This time I went write to Firefox browser and requested
  • Redirected to the Bluesocket login
  • Logged in by checking box and entering my email addr
  • A new browser popped up with the Concord Library Wireless Network Policy. Rules, regulations, etc. This did not happen when I was on Windows with MSIE.
  • After being redirected to Concord Library page, I am free to browse the network.
  • I continue to browse the internet without any problems and without losing my internet connection regardless of how long I'm idle or using the web.
  • Thunderbird still doesn't work.

So there you have it. In the future, I'll be using Linux while at the library and using web based email not my email client Thunderbird.

Below is a list of screenshots in case you run into the same problem and need to confirm what's going on.

Zone Alarm fails to start
True Vector Service has encountered a problem and needs to close
Zone Alarm Fails: True Vector Service has encountered a problem and needs to close
Security Alert
Security certificate was issued by a company you have not chosen to trust
Security Alert - Security certificate was issued by a company you have not chosen to trust
Bluesocket Login Required
Thank you. You are now a guest on the system.
Thank you for signing in.
Click here to continue browsing the web.
To log out of the system, please return to this page and log out.
Bluesocket Login Required
Repair Wireless Network Connection
Windows could not finish repairing the problem because the following action cannot be completed: Connecting to the network. For assistance contact the person who manages your network
Repair Wireless Network Connection - Windows could not finish repairing the problem because the following action cannot be completed: Connecting to the network.  For assistance contact the person who manages your network

Here is the Concord Library wireless policy which I never saw when using Windows and MSIE, but only received when using Linux and Firefox ...

Welcome to Public Wireless Internet Access @ Concord Free Public Library

Public Wireless Internet Access is provided for users already familiar with this type of service. You must have DHCP enabled on your laptop, PDS or other device. Six users at a time may access the Web through this service. Please note that bandwidth is limited. By logging in as a guest user, you acknowledge that you agree to the Concord Free Public Library Internet Use Policy posted below.

Privacy Protection Please READ!!!!!!!

Please be aware that, as with other public web access networks, your personal files may be available to other users to be seen, altered, or deleted. To ensure the privacy of the files, please disable File Sharing on your device.

Concord Free Public Library Internet Use Policy

The Internet, as an information resource, enables the Library to provide information beyond the confines of its own collection. It allows access to ideas, information and commentary from around the globe. While it offers access to a wealth of material that is personally, professionally and culturally enriching to individuals of all ages, it also enables access to some materials that may be offensive, disturbing, illegal, inaccurate or incomplete. Users will have to evaluate the validity of information accessed via the Internet as they do information from any source.

All users of electronic information resources such as Public Wireless Internet Access must use these resources in a responsible manner, consistent with the educational and informational purposes for which they are provided, and must agree to follow the librarys rules and regulations.
  • I will use these resources for educational, informational and recreational purposes only but not for unauthorized, illegal or unethical purposes. I will respect the privacy of others by not misrepresenting myself; by not attempting to modify or gain access to files, passwords, or data belonging to others.
  • I will not seek unauthorized access to any computer systems, or damage or alter software components of any network or database.
  • I will be respectful of other patrons rights to a quiet and private environment in which to use the Internet.
  • I will make only authorized copies of copyrighted or licensed software data.
  • I will not send, receive, or display test or graphics which may reasonably be construed as obscene.
  • I will not attempt to make any changes to the setup or configuration of the software or hardware.
  • I recognize that the Concord Free Public Library (CFPL) and the Minuteman Library Network assume no responsibility for loss of any of my data or my user privacy sustained while using the Library equipment or network. Backup of data and personal security are my own responsibility.