YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan – Yokota’s library began offering the base’s first free wireless Internet connection Monday, according to 374th Services Division officials.

In an e-mail response to a Stripes query, Jeffrey B. Conner, Yokota’s library director, said the overall effect “will be better customer service” that “provides the library with the best way to meet changing customer technological needs.”

In other words, just bring your own laptop to the library and there’ll be no more waiting in line at the library for a wired computer and no more time limits because other people are waiting.

Conner credited John Iosefo, library systems administrator, for getting the system running.

Iosefo said the wireless connection is “fast,” with a maximum capability connection speed of 54 megabits per second.

By comparison, the 11 Internet-wired computers in the library run at about a 10 mbps connection speed.

Iosefo said he’s running two of the library’s desktop computers off the wireless connection and “it works great.”

He said people should be able to access the signal from within about 150 feet of the router, located at the library’s front desk.

The University of Maryland pays for the Internet service at the library as a service to the base community, base officials said.

Conner said the feature was very popular, even before the wireless connection was made available this week.

Staff Sgt. Tyrell Phew, 374th Maintenance Squadron, was in the library with his laptop during lunch Tuesday afternoon.

“It’s the best thing they’ve done here in a while,” he said of the service. “It’s a great service to the community.”

He said his wife is taking online college classes and the limited access with the wired computers “could be a hassle.”

While the library staff is glad to offer the service, they cannot offer technical assistance, according to a Services Division news release, and those wishing to access the signal must have wireless access already installed on their computer equipment.

The release also warned that some disadvantages exist, including that walls, conflicting signals and distance can disrupt wireless signals; printer access is unavailable; and wireless connections can leave a user’s computer vulnerable to unwanted access.

Call the library at DSN 225-7490 or DSN 225-8893 for more information.

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