Check List for safe dialing from different locations whether they are Domestic or International

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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.


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Help with world electrical plugs and phone adapters
Here's where you find out what electrical plug you need, what telephone line adapter, and other information you need to make the most of your laptop while On the Road.


Roaming Internet Access Providers
Services to obtain Internet connections that can be used while traveling around the world.

  • EUnetTraveller Internet Access EUnetTraveller offers Internet access for those travelling through Europe and North America. Use one user name and one password while making connections from any one of 298 dial-up numbers in 25 countries.
  • IBM Internet Connection Connections to the Internet from nearly 1100 IBM Global Network local dial numbers in 52 countries, including over 570 in the United States and Canada.
  • iPass - True Global Internet Roaming By hooking into this network of ISPs, travelers can use 1,300 local phone numbers in 158 countries to access the Internet.
  • AimQuest Internet Roaming GRIC offers the world's largest Internet roaming and Internet faxing networks, claims the company.
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Internet Cafes and Business Centers
Directories and databases of cyber cafes, business centers, and other places around the world where you can rent a computer to go online.

  • CyberCafe Database Search Reliable info on over 1,500 currently operating Internet cafes around the world, verified semi-weekly, browsable, and searchable by internet cafe name, city, state, or country.
  • Cyber Cafes in Europe Lists over 700 Internet cafes in Europe with a clickable map to help you find what you're looking for.
  • Internet Café Guide Nearly 900 cafes from Europe and around the world, including some 150 in Japan.
  • Business Center Search There's a search function at this site that helps you locate business centers around the world, as well as other travel information.
  • HQ Business Centers Network of 150 business centers around the world and many sites within the US.
  • Diners Club Airport Lounges A directory of Diners Club airport lounges found in major airports around the world.
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Internet access providers
Directories and databases of Internet Access providers around the world.