Before you plug in your laptop/computer modem, follow these important steps to ensure a successful connection. This procedure will ensure a safe connection to the phone system to protect your modem from being "blown" and the accompanying cost/time element to replace it.Step 1: Test the Phone Line - Is it Analog or Digital?
Digital lines contain dangerous over-current and are not compatible with analog modems. Use the IBM Modem Saver to quickly determine if the phone system is analog or digital.
Step 2: Identify the Best Way to Connect
If you have identified the system as a digital PBX you should connect using a digital converter or an acoustic coupler. For analog systems with detachable wall jacks, the best method of connecting is using the appropriate telephone adapter for your location. If the phone is hard wired you should connect using a different set of adapter instructions for hard wired phones.
Step 3: Check for Pulse or Touch Tone Dialing
Before attempting to dial with your modem, you should check if the phone system uses rotary (pulse) or tone dialing. Pick up the handset and dial a few digits. Listen carefully - do you hear clicks (pulses) or touch tones? Depending on what you hear, set your software dialing setup option box to Pulse or Tone.
Step 4: Setting Your Modem to Ignore Dial Tone (ATX1)
Dial tone frequencies vary from country to country. The 'No Dial Tone' error is a result of your modem failing to recognize a foreign dial tone. Always configure your software to ignore dial tone through the Windows 95 Modem Control Panel, Properties window or by adding the X1 command to your software's modem initialization string.
Step 5: Check Your Dial-up Networking Connections
Any Windows application utilizing the Windows 95 telephony interface (API or 32 bit) will use the dialing information supplied for the last location used. Check your Connections Dialing Properties for the correct outside line prefix, international outside access and country code before dialing from your modem.
Step 6: Check for Tax Impulsing Signals
Local telephone exchanges in many European countries use high frequency signals (pulses) to meter local phone calls. These signals will cause modem connections to retrain and disconnect. Make a local call and listen - if your hear beeps or tones at regular intervals, the system may be using tax impulsing, so connect to the phone line using a tax impulse filter. The following countries are currently using tax impulsing at the listed frequencies: Austria 12KHz; Belgium 16KHz but Not mandatory; Czech/Slovakian Rep. 16 KHz; Germany 16 KHz; Spain 12 KHz but Not Mandatory; and Switzerland 12 KHz.
Step 7: Check How Much the Call Will Cost
Hotels and resorts in many countries often add on expensive surcharges for providing access to your long distance provider. Always check the hotel phone rates. If none are published, call the reception desk and ask for a rate sheet. If in doubt, use an international AT&T, MCI or Sprint calling card. If you are using an online service such as SpryNet, Compuserve, or America Online, make sure you are dialing into your service provider's local node. Not only will this save you money, it will also ensure the best possible connection. You may also save money by making shorter calls and less frequent calls, using a direct toll-free access program, such as AT&T Direct, or prepaid international phone cards.
Step 8: Verify Remote Modem Phone Number is Valid
Dial the number of the remote modem from the telephone touch pad, carefully noting the exact digits you need for the country you are calling. Wait for the remote modem to answer before hanging up. You have now verified the correct telephone number and that the remote modem is answering your call.
Step 9: Check if Your Software Needs Comma Pauses
Dial the remote modem or server from the telephone touch pad. Listen carefully for the entire dialing sequence to determine if there are pauses between the time the internal phone system gets you an outside line and the connection to the outside line and/or the international access and country code. If so, you may need to add commas to various areas of your dial string (each comma is a two second pause). Example: ,9,001,4089651400
Step 10: Check if Manual Dialing is Needed
While traveling, you may spend more time and effort setting up automatic dialing for use with your calling card than actually using the modem. Will an operator be needed to place your long-distance call? Are you going to be using a calling card? If so, you may want to consider manual dialing from the telephone touch pad and transferring the call to your modem.
Step 11: Connect Your Modem and Dial
Connect your modem to the telephone system using the most appropriate product and method for your location. Whenever possible leave the telephone connected in parallel with the modem (i.e., your phone and your computer plugged into the US RJ-11 doubler), allowing for manual dialing with your calling card and/or operator assistance. Instruct your software to dial, listen and take note of the entire dialing process.
The following resources/information are offered to help you stay productive while traveling abroad with a laptop computer.
with world electrical plugs and phone adapters