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Adventures with a modem in Europe

technofile  by al fasoldt

Columns and commentaries in a life-long dance with technology

Simple gray rule

Adventures with a modem in Europe

June 17, 1997

Dear Al,

Well, I am back from my week in Europe, and would like to mention a few experiences:

I armed myself with a modem protector, modem patch kit, and a modem mate. All are available from Magellans ( I also had multiple AC outlet adapters for the UK and the continental countries, along with phone adapters. All were available at Radio Shack or Magellans.

I recently switched my local ISP to IBM Globalnet. I had success connecting everywhere except Germany. Connections were solid and reliable. I did not try dialing up AOL; I used TCP/IP to check there via IBM Net.

Germany has the worst phone system I experienced. Apparently, their phone systems were government run until recently, so there was not much progress. Touch-tone dialing is a new thing. I even had to take a phone apart (an old rotary type) in order to try and pulse dial. Could not, but I think it was due to the phone system in the quaint little hotel we stayed in.

Also, it seems that German modems use a different protocol. A buddy of mine in South Africa confirmed this (he travels there frequently.) his IBM laptop automatically adjusts, but my Motorola Montana modem did not.

All in all, it was very successful, save Germany. I also noted that the phone calls must be metered—prices were rather high form the hotels (not just $1 per call, for instance).

Thought you might like to know.

Don Zvareck

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