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Wireless Service at VPL

Wireless Service at VPL
Wireless Network Access Notice
Wireless FAQ

Wireless Service at VPL

Wireless service is now available in all branches of the Vancouver Public Library. This service is available from the time the library opens to the public until 5 minutes before closing. This service allows you to connect your laptop to the VPL network and the Internet without a network jack.


  • You will need a VPL card to login. If you don't have a library card you can get an Internet Access Card.
  • You must provide your own laptop and, because VPL cannot supply power for all laptop users, a fully charged battery.
  • Open up a browser. When you try to access an online page your browser should come to a page entitled "Welcome to the VPL Wireless Network". You must login with the barcode and PIN from a VPL library card. A wireless guest access card is available for visitors.
  • Enter the requested data and click the "I agree" button to begin your wireless session.
  • After you agree, you will see a certificate, signed by VPL. Click "Yes" or "OK" to proceed.

Wireless Network Access Notice

Brochures with basic information on how to connect to this network are available at public service desks. Users are responsible for ensuring their equipment is functioning, properly configured, and has a fully charged battery. Staff cannot provide any technical help with configuring user equipment.

It is the user's responsibility to protect their equipment against any potential abuse such as viruses, malware and breach of privacy as well as against physical theft or damage. VPL assumes no responsibility for the user's equipment or for any direct or indirect damages arising from the use of its connection to Internet services.

Because this is a shared resource, the speed of connection may vary depending on, but not limited to, factors such as your distance from the access point, the number of users currently connected, the status of your own equipment, etc. Users' uplink speed is limited to a maximum of 512Kbps.

The library network is provided for access to the Library catalogue and Internet resources only. It is not permitted to run a server, to use the Library's network for illegal, actionable, or criminal purposes, or to seek access into unauthorized areas. Infringement of copyright is prohibited. The full text of the Library's Internet access policy is available on this page.

The Library uses intrusion detection software in order to protect its network and users. The Library reserves the right to terminate a connection at any time without further notice. In extreme cases, the Library may withdraw, at any time and without further notice, all wireless services.

Wireless FAQ

What do I need to use the VPL wireless network?

  • Device with a wireless network card running 802.11 a, b, or g
  • Charged battery
  • VPL library card
    • Local residents will be issued a VPL card with full privileges
    • Visitors can get a card for Internet access only
  • Information about your device
    • How to turn on wireless
    • How to connect to a wireless network
    • How to configure your machine for DHCP
  • The name of VPL's network - VPL

Why do I have to login?

  • VPL's network resources are shared. For this reason, it is our policy to authenticate the individuals who will use our network.

Is the VPL wireless network secure?

  • Wireless is an insecure type of connection.
  • VPL does not offer any extra security protection on the network. Even while using VPL network, be aware that you are using an insecure transit mechanism and take appropriate precautions.
  • The name of the VPL wireless network is VPL. You may well be able to receive signals from other wireless networks while on VPL premises. Some other networks may be more insecure because they have been set up by individuals specifically to capture personal information.

I see other networks whose names begin with VPL. Are they safe to use?

  • vpl_staff is a network for vpl staff only, and is not available for public use.
  • vpl_children is a network for individuals with juvenile cards only,  and is not available for general public use.
  • Other networks named vpl are not offered by VPL and should not be trusted.

Does VPL filter the Internet connection?

  • VPL's Internet connection is not filtered.

What about physical security for my laptop?

  • Unfortunately, thefts do happen. Patrons are responsible for the security of their possessions. Please do not leave your laptop (or other valuables) unattended.

What performance and speed can I expect from the network?

  • Wireless is a shared network, based on radio signals. Connection speed and reliability of the connection will vary depending on, but not limited to, such factors as the number of other users connected; your distance from the access point; and radio interference.

What is DHCP?

  • DHCP stands for dynamic host connection protocol.
  • To use VPL wireless, the wireless device must be configured to use DHCP to request an IP address.
  • DHCP allows your computer to request an address on the network to which you are connecting. That address is then used while your computer communicates with others on the Internet through the VPL wireless network. On each network you connect to using DHCP, your machine receives a different address.

What is an IP address?

  • IP stands for internet protocol. The IP number is your computer's address on the Internet.
  • Your IP number changes when you connect to different networks.

How can I get more information about my device's IP address?

  • In a DOS window, type ipconfig /all.

What is 802.11?

  • 802.11 is the common standard that your computer and the network both use to establish a connection and pass information such as search requests and web pages over the network.
  • 802.11 is the number of a IEEE standard for wireless networking. 802.11 a, b, and g refer to the use of various frequency bands and connection speeds.

Does the VPL public wireless network support 802.11 n?

  • VPL equipment does NOT support 802.11 n. If possible, try setting your device for 802.11 b or g.

Why does the library not provide power for laptops?

  • Many locations do not have electrical outlets located where cords can be managed safely. In some branches, the existing power could become overloaded if more devices were plugged in. In addition, power outlets may be connected to a circuit which is shared with a device which will cause interference such as a photocopier or a fan. Please bring a fully charged battery when you bring your laptop to the library.

Can I use my VPN over the VPL wireless network?

  • VPL's network does nothing to block VPNs. The user must still have the appropriate software installed and the information on how to connect to their home office.

Can I send print jobs from my laptop to VPL's printers?

  • There are no printers accessible from the wireless network.

Can I move my laptop without having to login again?

  • Each branch has one wireless access point (AP). If you move out of range of the radio signal, you may lose your connection.
  • At the Central Library, the wireless access points are configured to support roaming. However, there is no guarantee.

I logged in successfully, but my Internet has stopped working. Why did this happen?

  • VPL has tools to monitor the network for dangerous network behaviour. If your computer exhibits dangerous network behaviour, it will be quarantined.

When is the wireless network available?

  • The wireless network is available from the time the library opens to the public until 5 minutes before closing.

Who can help me configure my device for wireless?

  • The company you purchased it from.
  • Personal computer support from family, friends, or a commercial support company.
  • If it is a corporate laptop, your company's IT department.

Are there health issues in using the wireless network?