What is Wi-Fi?
Wi-Fi (short for Wireless Fidelity) is a technology that includes the IEEE 802.11b standard that uses radio waves in place of wires to transmit data. Gulfport Wireless Wi-Fi Service uses this standard to offer our citizens a high-speed wireless way to access the Internet at the City Marina.
Can I connect to my email or company network?
Yes. the GWIZ supports connections for companies that allow their employees to access corporate information through the Internet, and the most common method for this access is through a VPN (virtual private network). You can check with your company's help desk or IT manager to determine if your company offers a VPN or secure tunneling client software connection to receive and send e-mail or allows remote Internet access into the corporate network.
Please refer to your corporate e-mail policy or your company's help desk if you have difficulty accessing your corporate email.
What security features protect the transmission of my personal information on the Gulfport Wireless Wi-Fi Service?
None. You should always be careful about sending any passwords or credit card information over the Internet, whether you are at home or in a public area. The City recommends installation of firewall software on your computer.
When I use Wi-Fi can someone pull information from my computer without me knowing it?
Yes, but… The risk of someone capturing information sent to or from your computer is independent of how you connect to the Internet. The City of Gulfport strongly encourages and supports certain customer-provided security solutions, such as virtual private networks (VPNs), but does not provide these to its Wi-Fi users and is not responsible for their effectiveness. The City of Gulfport also encourages users to observe standard security practices such as ensuring that computer hard drives are not shared.
Please visit WECA (Wireless Ethernet Compatibility Alliance) at http://www.weca.net/ for additional information on security, standards and information on Wi-Fi.
Can people read my e-mail (and watch me browse the Internet) when I use Wi-Fi?
Yes, but… Wireless communications can be intercepted by equipment and software designed for that purpose. Unless you are using a VPN (Virtual Private Network) or encryption software, your e-mail (or the web site you are browsing) could be copied and read at many nodes that are part of the public Internet. This can happen no matter where you are, even at home. The only additional vulnerability from Wi-Fi is it is possible that someone sitting near you can "see" your e-mail (or the web site you are browsing). To do this they would need a special computer system and be close enough to you to capture your radio signal. Furthermore, many web sites transmit sensitive information submitted by you via SSL, which provides additional protection from eavesdroppers regardless of the type of Internet connection.
What is WEP?
WEP is a form of data encryption, primarily used to limit specific users on a private network. WEP data encryption may prevent (i) access to the network by "intruders" using similar wireless LAN equipment and (ii) capture of wireless LAN traffic through eavesdropping. WEP allows the administrator of a private network to define a set of respective "Keys" for each wireless network user based on a "Key String" passed through the WEP encryption algorithm. Access is denied by anyone who does not have an assigned key assigned by that administrator.
What equipment do I need to connect to service?
All you need to access theGWIZ is a laptop with embedded Wi-Fi or a laptop or handheld device with a Wi-Fi compliant (IEEE 802.11b) wireless network interface card (see network card information below).
Where can I purchase the wireless network interface cards needed to access the GWIZ?
Wi-Fi Network Interface Cards (NICs) are available from major networking vendors such as Lucent, Nokia, Cisco, 3Com, Intel, Sony, Symbol, Xircom and Buffalo. In addition, you can purchase a NIC from your favorite computer or electronic stores. NICs are also available through many on-line vendors. The GWIZ works with most major Wi-Fi manufacturer's Wi-Fi cards.
Notebook computers with wireless-integrated Wi-Fi (802.11b) standards are also being offered by vendors such as Dell, Compaq, IBM, Toshiba, and Apple.
Do I have to change my network settings?
The GWIZ Service utilizes Dynamic Host Configuration protocol (DHCP). DHCP is a protocol for assigning dynamic IP addresses to a device on a network. Most users will not require any additional network setting changes to use the GWIZ.
Do I have to configure the SSID on my Wi-Fi client or software?
SSID stands for Service Set Identifier. The SSID differentiates one WLAN network from another. For wireless network access on the GWIZ, configure your SSID setting for your network card to gwiz. (The SSID is case sensitive.)
Instructions on how to configure your laptop or PDA may vary. Please refer to your wireless card documentation for specific instructions.
Why am I unable to connect to the network when I can see an available signal?
Signal strength may be too weak from where you are. Signal strength from the wireless access point may not be strong enough to allow reliable connections. Not every access point provides a signal that is strong enough for users to connect from a substantial distance. Physical location of the access point also plays a role determining how close you must be for a reliable connection to occur. The wireless access point is a radio antenna similar to the cellular systems with which we've become so familiar. The available signal strength and associated connection reliability is directly related to your position relative to the access point antenna. The closer you are and the less obstructed your line of vision to the access point, the higher your chances of success will be.