This is the archive for May 2008. Recent posts can be found at the main blog page.
The public library of Amsterdam, i.e. the Openbare Bibliotheek Amsterdam (Wikipedia entry, check out the pictures!) not only offers a enormous amount of books, cd’s and several reading and conference rooms inside their great building, but also offers free access to their wireless network, so that you can access the internet.
Before I start, a few words to help people find this blog post using Dutch query terms: Dit artikel beschrijft hoe ik onder Linux het draadloos internet in de Openbare Bibliotheek Amsterdam aan de praat heb gekregen. Het draadloze netwerk werkt goed, maar alleen als je weet hoe je het moet instellen!
First, you need to register an account. Instructions can be found at various places in the building, and you should activate it by showing your ID at the reception desk near the entrance.
Then you need to configure your computer. However, only instructions to set up the wlan in Windows and Mac operating systems. Linux users like me are left in the dark.
Important note: This section is written for Network Manager 0.6.x. See below if you are using 0.7.x.
It took me quite some time to get it to work, mostly because none of the Network Manager configuration options worked for me. That is, none of the options provided in the popup window that asks for connection authentication tokens and the security setting (WEP, WPA, and so on). I’m using version 0.6.6, by the way. The trick is that you need to use the connect to other wireless network option instead of just picking the right network from the menu:
The next step is to configure the network settings. Choose WPA Enterprise, fill in the network name, specify PEAP and Dynamic WEP, and fill in your username and password. The screenshot below shows the result:
Hit the connect button and a connection will be made. That’s it: happy surfing! The internet connection is quite fast and pretty much unrestricted, e.g. you can use SSH without trouble, for instance. This is definitely not always the case, e.g. you can’t in the Public Library of Den Haag (The Hague).
For Network Manager 0.7.x you can mostly follow the instructions for Network Manager 0.6. However, you should make sure that you set the PEAP version to 0 (1 does not work), and that you specify MSCHAPv2 for inner authentication.
(Thanks to Ed for sending me this updated information.)
For completeness, here’s an alternative, manual way (hacky and ugly) if you don’t (want to) use Network Manager. You may stop reading here if you’re using Network Manager (I heartily recommend it). Beware, the next few paragraphs require you to know how to work with a shell and how to edit system configuration files properly! Only proceed if you know what you’re doing!
You will have to edit the
/etc/wpa_supplicant/wpa_supplicant.conf configuration file manually (create it if it’s not there already) to be able to connect to the OBA Hotspot Service wireless network. The relevant snippets you need can be downloaded here: wpa-supplicant-oba-amsterdam.conf.sample. Make sure you fill in your username and password!
Now that you have the configuration file in place, it’s time to connect. I’m using a simple shell script (a really ugly hack) to get it to work on my machine. You might need to change the wireless interface name (it’s
eth1 for me) and perhaps the option passed to the
-D parameter to match your wireless card. Here is the shell script (not specific for the Amsterdam library, I use it at the university as well): wireless-network.
You will be asked for your user password. This is the password for your local machine, not the one for your wifi account! Run the script as
root if you don’t use
sudo). Some debug spew should appear and your internet access should work. Hit
Ctrl-C to disconnect.
Of course Debian-based systems can skip all these shell script tricks (you still need the settings in
/etc/wpa_supplicant/wpa_supplicant.conf as described before). The Debian way is to create a stanza in
/etc/network/interfaces instead like this:
iface oba inet dhcp wpa-driver wext wpa-conf /etc/wpa_supplicant/wpa_supplicant.conf
Now you can use e.g.
sudo ifup wlan0=oba (replace
wlan0 with the name of your wireless card).
Wouter Bolsterlee, also known as uws, a postmodern geek living in the Netherlands. Read more about me…
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