Friday, May 1, 2009

Wireless and NetAccess

From the Library Suggestion Box:

The laptop network connectivity after the 'upgrade' is farcical... - wireless network drop outs are common (library building excepted). After a drop out computer reconnects, but often fails to grab dns settings. - opening (ie. https://jet.jcu.edu.au/jcu/portal/login?__dest=google.com.au/) takes ages. strangely if you use non secure version (http) it redirects back to https and displays a page in less than 30 seconds... - ... but then need to re-authenticate often. This is the most serious issue. In the last 15 minutes I was trying to check my banking, was de-authenticated 5 times and I gave up!! - this rises another issue: if you come to library and first thing you try is to open a https connection to, say, a non-jcu webmail. The page will not load, zonk, no information whatsoever. You load a non-https page like google, then you get a login portal, only then you can use secure connections. follow up on that: when browsing https pages and de-authentication occurs there is no notification, while normal connections cause the authentication page to pop up. - closing a popup displaying connection status (which by the way is normally not allowed by firefox) logs you out of the network. Why? Who cares about seeing 400Mb quota left (which is not updated live anyways)? It doesn't give information that you have been logged out either. really pointless. - having a 'jcu network' wigdet/gadget which allows login/quota checking would be awesome. Regards Marcin PS: i got logged out of the network twice while writing this post (was watching ping google.com in the background). epic fail.

Library Response:

Information about the NetAccess system can be found at http://www.jcu.edu.au/netaccess

The purpose of the NetAccess pop up is so that users are aware that they are authenticated for off net access and will not accidentally incur quota usage, hence closing the pop up ends your NetAccess session. The pop up also informs users of their remaining balance at the beginning of their Internet session so they are aware of how much quota they have left to use. If a user is being constantly de-authenticated it is most likely that either another site is opening a pop up and replacing the NetAccess window, or that a browser plug in is interfering with the pop up (closing it or forcing it to refresh) A possible solution to this is to authenticate using one browser then browse with another. (e.g. Auth using IE then browse with FireFox)

As for wireless connectivity dropping out, especially if only happening in some locations first check the coverage maps at http://www.jcu.edu.au/old_library/Wireless/coverage.shtml and make you are in a wireless coverage zone. If signal strength is low try moving closer to the centre of the areas marked as covered. Since this is the only report of connectivity issues we have received, there may also be an issue with the wireless drivers on your laptop. You should try grabbing the latest version of the wireless drivers from your laptop manufacturers website and see if this improves connectivity.