Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Do you charge for this service?


How do I connect?

Ask for login information at the Main Desk or the Reference Desk.  In most cases, you will need to do nothing more than open your browser.  This will load the Library’s login page.  After reading the Library’s wireless access guidelines, login using the form at the bottom of the page . Details of configuring your computer for wireless networking will vary depending on the specific models of laptop, operating system, and wireless network card, and are therefore beyond the scope of this brief pamphlet.   You can find some helpful information here.

Must I register?

Ask for login information at the Main Desk or the Reference Desk.  These logins will be changed periodically.  If your login is invalid, visit one of the desks for the latest login.

Why are you providing this service?

Wireless access allows Library users to bring their own computers to the Library and to get Internet access as part of the Rochester Public Library's commitment to provide educational, intellectual, cultural, and recreational resources and services.  Wireless is an additional method for the Library to provide access the Internet's vast array of unique and diverse resources for information, ideas and commentary from around the world.

What is WiFi?

WiFi is radio wave technology which allows an appropriately equipped device to access the Internet and Library resources from within the Library without physically plugging  into a network via Ethernet or a phone line.

What can I do with it?

When you are connected to our wireless network you have a high speed connection to the Internet so you can:

Do online research.
Check the Library catalog.
Access the Library's databases.
Check your e-mail.

Where is it?

The wireless access point is located on the second floor of the Library, in the Reference area.

What do I need?

You need a laptop equipped with an IEEE 802.11a, b, or g compatible wireless network card. Some laptops have wireless cards built-in, for most others you can purchase a compatible card to plug into your computer. Installation of the card and its associated software will vary depending on specific computer, card, and operating system.

What if I don't own a laptop?

If you don't own a laptop you can't use the wireless network but you can access the Internet using the Library's public access computers.  See the Main Desk for details.

Can the Library help me configure my computer?

Library staff are not permitted to provide direct assistance configuring laptops. The Library cannot be responsible for any changes you make to your computer's settings. You are responsible for knowing how to configure your own equipment.

Some helpful tips are included on this page. If you need additional help, reference librarians can assist you in locating local computer stores or other information resources or you may need to contact the manufacturers of your hardware or software.

Does the number of people using the wireless network effect the network speed?

Yes, the larger the number of concentrated users the slower the speeds will be.

Can I download large files?

The bandwidth available for the wireless Internet connection is shared with all others in the Library. To show consideration for others' needs, we ask that you not download excessively large files or access streaming audio/video.

Can I print from the wireless network?

Yes, there is a black and white printer configured on the wireless network.  Please ask for details at the Reference Desk.  Printed pages cost 10 cents apiece.

I can connect to the Internet, but how do I get help finding the information I'm looking for?

If you have questions about accessing the Library's reference databases or about finding specific information on the Internet, you should ask at the Reference Desks.

What if I have problems?

Library staff is not able to provide detailed technical assistance, and no guarantee can be provided that you will be able to make a wireless connection. The Library assumes no responsibility for the safety of equipment, or for laptop configurations, security, or data files resulting from connection to the Library's network.

Is it safe?

Yes. Wireless networking uses very low power signals in the same frequency band as many cordless phones, and manufacturers design their equipment to fall well within industry safety guidelines. Experts generally agree that WiFi technology is very safe when used appropriately.

Is the WiFi network secure?

No, but wireless networks are not unique in that respect; on all shared networks, whether wired or wireless, users can potentially eavesdrop on each other's data, though it is not usually likely that they will. Whenever it is appropriate and practical, you should use additional methods to secure your data. If you are transferring confidential information (passwords, credit card numbers, online banking information, health data and so on) you are strongly encouraged to use secure web sites (SSL) or other techniques (SSH, VPN) to safeguard your confidentiality. The Rochester Public Library is not responsible for insuring the privacy of information you transfer over our network.  Due to the fundamentally insecure nature of public computer networks, the Library does not recommend the use of its terminals for online shopping, ordering merchandise, or electronic banking. The Library does not prohibit these activities, but (1) does not ensure the provision of secure connections to support them; (2) does not provide support or troubleshooting for any electronic financial transactions; and (3) is not liable for these personal financial transactions.

What about viruses and hackers? Is the information on my laptop safe from hackers while I am connected?

Connecting your computer to the Internet via our wireless network can expose your computer to the same viruses and other security risks as any other Internet connection. You are responsible for ensuring that your computer is protected against such threats: you use the Library's wireless network at your own risk.  Utilizing virus protection, personal firewall, and other measures to protect the information on your laptop is highly recommended.

Do you collect or log data about my session?

The Library’s wireless management device temporarily stores your computers unique MAC address.  This is purged daily.  No personal information is collected, stored, or shared.

Advantages of Rochester Public Library WiFi access:

No waiting for a free public PC.

Fast broadband connection.

Download files.

Save files permanently to your own device.

Limitations of WiFi:

A WiFi network is less secure than a wired network.

Signal strength varies within the Library.