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Of public wifi networks and DNS servers
SteevLWhat can I do for you?Registered Userregular
I work in a public library and we offer free wifi. The way it is supposed to work is pretty simple: a patron brings in their laptop, they connect to our access point, and then open up an internet browser. Once they agree to the terms of service -- always the first thing to appear in the browser -- it'll take them to their default homepage.
It works pretty well for the most part, but occasionally I'll have a patron approach me and say they cannot connect to the internet. Usually they're on Windows Vista or 7. Up until recently, I couldn't figure out why, and our IT people aren't really allowed to touch the public's private laptops for legal reasons. What was weirder is that they said they had no problems connecting to wifi anywhere else, be it Starbucks, McDonald's, home internet, etc.
Anyway, I figured out that usually the problem was in their wireless connection properties, under Internet Protocal Version 4 properties, they would usually have it set to use a specific DNS server. Once I had them click on "Obtain a DNS server automatically" they had no further problems with our wifi. However, since I don't know very much at all about networking, I really don't know how this will affect their ability to connect to other networks. In the few cases where I've done this, I made them write down the specific DNS server address and showed them where to type it in if they have problems outside the library.
So basically, my question is am I screwing up their connection at all? This is pretty advanced stuff for the average person coming into the library and I don't really feel comfortable making these changes, so I rarely do it.