Library Wi-Fi or Internet Down? Here's What to Do

When your library's wireless / Wi-Fi access or Intenet connection is down, here's the information you need to troubleshoot the problem.

Note: this post is targeted to libraries in the Winnefox Library System that are on our shared network.  If your library is located outside of Winnefox, you'll need to check with your local IT staff for their recommended procedures.

By the way, you might want to print out this information and keep it with your "what to do when you're down" documents, emergency procedures manual, and Winnefox Contact List (because you know... if the Internet's down at your library, you might not be able to access this post.)  So to get the print-friendly version...

... just click What To Do When You're Down to get the PDF document.  I've also added this information to a new Wi-Fi or Internet Down? page on the Extranet.

Wireless / Wi-Fi down?

  1. If the problem started on a patron’s device, is just one patron having trouble connecting? The patron may need to troubleshoot or reset the device’s network settings:
    a. Is the device’s wireless card / adapter or built-in technology turned on?
    b. Have they rebooted their device?
    c. Are they connected to the libraries’ wireless access point?
    d. Have they tried more than one website?
  2. If more than one patron is unable to connect to Wi-Fi, check to make sure your library’s network internet connection is still working:
    a. Is WorkFlows still able to connect to the SirsiDynix Symphony circulation database?
    b. Is a staff workstation able to access a non-library website?  (Choose a website you haven’t been to before, to ensure the browser isn’t just showing you a cached copy from a previous visit.)

If you’ve determined your library’s wireless / Wi-Fi is down (but your network Internet connection is up) follow these steps:

  1. wireless router image courtesy of Wikimedia CommonsRestart your wireless access point (it’s the one with the antennae, like the one pictured here.)
  2. Wait 5 minutes.
  3. If after 5 minutes your wireless is still down, restart your Raspberry Pi or wireless statistics computer.
  4. Wait 2-3 minutes.
  5. If after following these steps your wireless is still down, contact Pete Hodge or Jody Cleveland.

Internet down?

  1. Check to see if it’s really all of Internet, and only Internet that is having problems:
    a. If the problem is happening on a public workstation, try using a staff computer to go to the same website the patron tried (the website they tried might simply be down.)
    b. Then try a different non-Winnefox website on a staff machine. (Choose a website you haven’t been to before, to ensure the browser isn’t just showing you a cached copy from a previous visit.)
    c. Can you get to Winnefox-related websites like the Extranet or another library’s website, but not other websites outside of Winnefox? Then the problem is out in InternetLand somewhere, and there’s nothing we can do. If WorkFlows and Circulation works but the Internet doesn’t, chances are the problem is beyond your control.
    d. If Internet works on the staff machine but not on a public machine, treat that public workstation as an individual PC – that is, check the machine’s network cable connection to the wall jack, etc.
  2. Call WALS, or Oshkosh Public Library's Reference Desk at 920-236-5203 or 920-236-5205.

If Circulation works, but Internet doesn’t, chances are the problem is beyond your control.  Call WALS or Oshkosh Public Library Reference after hours, or a neighboring WALS library to confirm that they are also down. Have them try going to some of the websites that you couldn’t get to.   If still unresolved, call a WALS staff at his/her home or cell phone number.

If Circulation, the Internet and Wireless are all down, there may be a problem with the library’s main network connection:

  1. Check your networking equipment to make sure it all has power.
  2. If your networking equipment has power, but things aren’t working, call WALS.
    a. If it’s after WALS hours, and you have a cable modem, pull the plug on it and plug it back in after 20 seconds.  Wait 5 minutes to see if things come back.  If not, call Charter Cable at 800-314-7195.  Give them Pete’s phone number (920-236-5273) and your library’s address.
    b. If it’s after WALS hours and you have a TEACH/Badgernet connection, call Badgernet at 888-955-2638.
    c. If you have a Foxnet connection (Oshkosh PL, Menasha PL, Neenah PL) call WALS staff at home.

And now for some comic relief: College Humor's "Wifi's Down: The Sketch".  Enjoy:

• Many thanks to WALS staff Pete Hodge for proofreading & editing the draft of this post, to Jody Cleveland for unsolicited advice, and to Melissa Klein for unearthing the pre-2001 version of the original document on which this post is based.
• Image of First World Problems Lady from Cheezburger
• Image of the wireless router from Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository