ENABLEnet – Free wifi at the State Library of WA

While it has not been publicly launched, ENABLEnet has been up and running for the past two months. Being open to discovery and word of mouth has resulted in over 150 sessions a day in the past few weeks. As many people use the service on Fridays, weekends and public holidays when the library is open for fewer hours as they do during the week.

There is an interesting mix of devices connecting, the majority being laptops. However, over 10% are a collection of ultra portable PCs, PDAs, phones (including a large number of iPhones), iPod touches and PSPs (PlayStation Portables).

The biggest surprise from the statistics is the language of the devices connecting, a third are English, a third Chinese, 17% Korean, 8% French, 3% German, 3% Japanese and the remaining 3% other European languages. This is due to the large number of international students who use the library to study and that the library is close to a number of backpacker hostels. One of our regular users can even connect from her hostel room.

To connect it is a simple case of starting your wireless adapter, finding the SSID of ENABLEnet, connecting to it and opening a browser and going to any page on the internet. You will be redirected to the ENABLEnet home page, where you have to agree to the terms and conditions, you will then be logged in and directed to another page. From there you can navigate away to another web site or use any other internet tools.

There have been a few issues. A couple of times there has been power issues which have caused problems with the uplink, which means while the ENABLEnet appears to be working, it does not connect you to the network (it does not give out an IP address). Unfortunately because of the intermittent nature of the fault and the location of the devices, they problem may rear it’s ugly head again.

If you happen to be using Microsoft Windows Vista, on occasions it appears only connect to ENABLEnet but not the internet and any attempt to open a web page quickly returns an unable to connect error. The solution appears to be to type the URL http://slwa.wa.gov.au/wifi/start.html into the browser. The start page will open and once you accept the terms and conditions, you will be logged in. and be able to access the internet even though Vista say you are not able to.

Sometimes, you will be logged in but you end on MetroMesh landing page or a inn.roamad.com page saying you have successfully logged in. This appears to be a random problem, but do not worry, you have been connected to ENABLEnet and can browse away.

There is a problem with the login in process when using a Windows Mobile device and Internet Explorer, which prevents the device from logging in correctly and accessing the service. This is an issue with Internet Explorer as Opera Mobile on Windows Mobile does connect, and is being addressed. Opera Mini and similar mobile browsers which require a connection to a proxy, do not work.

The library can not provide technical support for clients computers. We will assist by providing instructions for most common operating systems. We can not make changes to your configurations or setting or guarantee that you will be able to connect to ENABLEnet. The great majority of laptops have connect without problems, unfortunately a small number just will not connect.


3 thoughts on “ENABLEnet – Free wifi at the State Library of WA

  1. Pingback: Free wifi access @ SLWA | open the door...

  2. Pingback: Librarians Matter » Blog Archive » Demographics of early adoptors

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