Technical Assistance and Troubleshooting

Each computer is unique, and we’re sorry that we are not able to offer personal technical assistance with your configuration. However, we do provide this webpage of technical assistance to help you with the most common issues.

----- |Network Settings | Troubleshooting | More on WiFi |-----

Network Settings   ...jump to troubleshooting

Network Settings for Windows XP, 2000

  1. From Control Panel, select "Network and Dial- up Connections" or "Network and Internet Connections."

  2. Right-click on "Wireless Network Connection" or "Local Area Connection" and click "Properties."

  3. Locate the internet TCP/IP protocol and get into its Properties. If more than one TCP/IP protocol is listed, look for the one associated with your wireless adapter.

  4. Select "Obtain and IP address automatically" and "Obtain DNS server address automatically."

  5. For XP, right-click on "Wireless Network Connection: and select "View Available Wireless Networks." Select the name of the wireless network available (check with your library for the network name or "SSID") at the library and click "Connect."

Network Settings for Windows NT

  1. From Control Panel, double click on "Network."

  2. Locate the TCP/IP protocol and double click on "Properties." If more than one TCP/IP protocol is listed, look for the one associated with your wireless adapter.

  3. Select "Obtain an IP address from a DHCP server" and click "OK."

  4. From the Control Panel, select "Internet Options" then click on the "Connections" tab. If you also have a dial-up connection, it should not be set to "Always dial my default connection." LAN Settings should be "Automatically detect settings." And leave the Proxy server settings blank.

Macintosh Network Settings (OS X):

  1. Select Apple Menu, then System Preference, then Network button.

  2. Select TCP/IP tab and configure "Using DHCP."

  3. Above the TCP/IP tab, you may need to configure via "AirPort" or other wireless (WiFi) Ethernet.

  4. Leave Domain Name Servers and Search Domains blank.

Troubleshooting  ...jump to top

Troubleshooting Windows NT, XP, and Windows 2000 Systems
  1. Go to Start, Run and type: CMD. Click OK. 

  2. A command prompt window will appear.

  3. Type the following in the command prompt window:

    1. ipconfig/all    (Displays the full configuration information)

    2. ipconfig/release  (Releases the IP address)

    3. ipconfig/renew  (Renews the IP address)

Troubleshooting Windows 95 and Windows 98 Systems
  1. Go to Start, Run and type: WINIPCFG

  2. Click OK.

  3. The IP configuration window will appear.

  4. Click on the More Info button.

  5. If you are having an IP conflict, click on the Release All button to release the current IP and then click on the Renew All button.

There is more information on using winipcfg at:

Troubleshooting Apple Macintosh Powerbooks or iBooks

  1. Your laptop must have the MacTCP Control Panel installed.  This control panel comes with recent versions of the system software and should be pre-installed.

  2. If you have other MacTCP configurations that you would like to save, MacTCP Switcher is a useful utility for storing several set-ups.

  3. To configure your MacTCP, choose to Connect via Ethernet.

More FAQ's on WiFi Networks  ...jump to top

  Why can't I get a WiFi signal, but the person next to me can?
  Not all Wireless cards are the same.  The quality of your card versus your neighbor's can be quite different.    Check the wireless card manufacturer's Web support page by using a Library public Internet workstation or check your wireless card manual.   To find links to product support sites, visit The Certified Product Listing provided by Wi-Fi Alliance.

  Do all PDA's support wireless?
  While not all PDA's support wireless, several manufacturers have adopted wireless standards, and wireless cards are available.  For more information, check out this article from

  Will my Macintosh work with wireless in the Library? 
  Yes, as long as it supports 802.11b or 802.11g wireless standards.  If you have successfully connected to other public wireless networks, or if you connect at home using Apple's Airport Express or Airport Extreme, you should be fine.

   Do I need special software or drivers to connect?
  While you won't need special software, if you are using a wireless card and are experiencing connection problems, you may have drivers which are out-of-date.  The drivers originally included with your wireless card may be several generations old. Check your vendor's website for updated drivers which can be downloaded and installed on your laptop or PDA.

   What kind of wireless card do I need?
  You need an 11Mbps 802.11b or 802.11g Wireless Network Card.  Many new laptop computers have wireless capabilities built-in.  Check with your laptop manufacturer for your options.

   What is the difference between 802.11a,  802.11b,  802.11g, etc?
  • 802.11a  – Achieves speeds up to 54 Mbps in the 5 GHz band.  Very short range, mostly used in educational institutions, closed networks, and labs where range and signal obstruction is not an issue.  Not often used for public hotspots.  Not compatible with 802.11b.
  • 802.11b  Achieves speeds up to 11 Mbps in the 2.4 GHz band.  Very popular standard used by many HotSpot locations, but quickly being replaced by 802.11G which is faster.  802.11 B and G are compatible with each other.
  • 802.11g Achieves speeds up to 54 Mbps in the 2.4 GHz band.  Quickly becoming the standard for hotspots.  Extremely fast AND compatible with 802.11b.

   Does the wireless network pose a health hazard?
  The 2.4 GHz band that the wireless network broadcasts on is the same frequency used by many wireless telephones, and poses no known health risk.

   Do I need to Update Windows for wireless?
  You do not need to update Windows to connect to a wireless network,  however, it is a good idea to keep your software fully patched and up-to-date.  Microsoft recommends that you install all the "service packs"  for your version of Windows.  Updates are available at

  Why am I having a problem using the wireless network?  I'm running Windows XP.
  Two very common problems with laptops running Windows XP are:
  • On some XP laptops with both wireless and wired (Ethernet) connectivity, vendors ship with the "Network Bridge" turned on. You may need to delete or disable this (under Control Panel, Network Connections).  Instructions for disabling the network bridge are available from this Microsoft website.    Instructions for removing the network bridge are available from this Microsoft website
  • Numerous problems have been reported with Windows XP Service Pack 1 that are resolved by Service Pack 2 (SP2).  Please check to make sure you have installed Service Pack 2.  If you need to install SP2, we recommend consulting David Pogue's helpful article on how to successfully install the update.

  Why am I having a problem using the wireless network?  I'm running Windows 2000.
  A machine with an integrated wireless card and running Windows 2000 might stop to work after installing SP3.  Microsoft Knowledge Base article 327947  states that Windows 2000 SP3 turns off PCMCIA-to-PCI IRQ routing, which causes problems for integrated Lucent/Orinoco wireless adapters.  You need to follow the instructions in the Microsoft Support document to re-enable the card.

   Will Bluetooth transmissions interfere with my Wireless connection?
  No, both Bluetooth and WLAN can co-exist.  Since Bluetooth devices use Frequency Hopping and most wireless networks use "Direct Sequence Spreading techniques" they each appear as background noise to each other and should not cause any significant problems.

  Will use of the wireless network reduce my laptop's battery life? 
  No, accessing the wireless network does not increase the use of your battery.

   I have problems connecting to the wireless network with Internet Explorer.
  In some cases, a proxy server setting is present in your browser.  To access the wireless network you will need to turn off proxy servers.   To check proxy setting, go under Internet Options, Connections tab, verify that the Dial-up and Virtual Private Network settings are set to "Never dial a connection".   Then, under Local Area Network (LAN) Settings, uncheck each of the following:
  • "Automatic Detect Settings",
  • "Use Automatic Configuration Script", and
  • "Use a Proxy Server for your LAN"

  I own a Cisco, D-Link, Linksys, Netgear, Nortel, or SMC a/b/g wireless card and am having throughput (slow connection) problems
  Check with the manufacturers for resolution. Some cards are more problematic than others but upgrades are regularly available for the popular cards.

  Can a cell phone interfere with my connection to the wireless network?
  A cell phone probably won't interrupt your connection, however cordless phones and microwave ovens operate within the frequency range of the network (2.4 GHz and up) and it is possible for them to cause interference with the connection.

  What else can interfere with my connection?
  Since wireless networks consist of radio waves,  things that can cause interference with a radio or cordless phone can also cause interfere with your wireless connection.  If you experience a connection problem try moving to a different part of the room or within sight of a wireless access point or router.

  Why do my signal strength and data transfer speeds vary?
  There are several factors affecting signal strength and transfer speeds including:
  • Your distance from the access point (AP). You can see variable rates ranging from 45Mbps to 1 Mbps depending on how close you are to the AP.
  •  Because your wireless connection takes place on a shared network, data transfer speeds will change depending on how many people are using the network, and whether or not they are downloading large files.

  I think I got a virus from the library's hotspot.  What should I do?
  Connecting your computer to the Internet via our wireless network does not increase your risk of exposure to viruses and other such risks.  Wireless hotspots do not produce viruses, which are most often transmitted as attachments to email.  It is strongly recommended that all users install and run a virus protection program.

Funding for the wireless hotspots was provided by the South Jersey Regional Library Cooperative and the New Jersey State Library, an affiliate of Thomas Edison State College.
For more information
, contact SJRLC at 856-346-1222 or email Peter Bromberg, SJRLC Program Coordinator