Networks in libraries, especially wireless

Updated August 2011 – This section is an archive and will not be updated again.

Segmenting your public network, to protect your staff network

Giving a printer or server a static IP address

WebJunction article on Wireless networking in libraries

Is there better internet service available?
Find out which internet providers are available in your area, and what their advertised speeds are, by entering your address into this tool.

Making the most of what you have

What is the speed of my internet connection?
A common question I hear is “How fast is the connection we have in our library now?”  This is really two questions – what kind of connection are you paying for, and how fast is that connection in actual practice…especially once the kids at the local junior high school get to your library to “do their homework” on YouTube and game sites.

To answer the first question, contact your internet service provider, or consult a recent bill for your internet connection.  Here is a good site that explains various connections,, and this chart is especially helpful:

  • DSL – 64 k­ilobits per second
  • ISDN – Two DSL lines plus signaling (16 kilobytes per second), or 128 kilobits per second
  • T1 – 1.544 megabits per second (24 DSL lines)
  • T3 – 43.232 megabits per second (28 T1s)

The second question (“How fast is our connection now from this PC?”) is more interesting to answer.  This website has a fun tool, as well as some explanations of broadband, how these speed tests work, etc:

A hint from Denise Carter at Lake Whitney Public Library:
“Laptops that come in the library are not all setup to connect with your wireless settings. It is important to have the IP address OBTAIN AUTOMATICALLY.  Not very many people know about this!!”

Setup for wireless laptops:

  1. Click wireless connection at both right of screen.
  2. The box that comes up – Properties
  3. Next box Internet Protocol TCP/IP
  4. Properties – IP address Obtain Automatically

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