Connecting Your Computer
If you are traveling or relocating internationally and taking a computer with you – whether it's your home computer or a laptop – there are several issues related to getting it connected that you must address before leaving your home country. There will be some questions relating to power supply and others, which need answering if you use a modem to connect to the Internet or E-mail services. You will need to resolve these issues and the following questions in order to connect your computer and make it compatible with the local system before you leave home:
- What are the electrical voltage, current, and plug configuration in your destination country? Does your computer have a built-in voltage adapter? Can you obtain the necessary plug adapters? Should these be grounded?
- What is the design of the telephone plugs locally? Are telephones hard-wired directly into the wall? If so, traveling with an old-fashioned acoustic coupler may be the best solution. Can you obtain a telephone plug adapter? Should you take an extra telephone cord?
- Do the local telephones use digital technology? You can use a "line-tester" to find this out when you arrive. Modems do not work through digital exchanges, although an adapter can be obtained to overcome this.
Other questions to consider include:
- Is the power supply reliable? Is a surge protector or back-up power supply recommended?
- What is the quality of telephone service? Are telephone lines delivering clear and uninterrupted information?
- Are there "tax impulses", high frequency "beeps" that interrupt data transmission? If so, you should obtain a filter, or some modems can be reset to ignore momentary signal interruptions.
- Is the dial tone different from your home country and, if so, will your modem recognize it? Is dialing performed using "pulse" or "tone" dialing? You can set up your modem before you leave home so that it will ignore the dial tone: consult your technical manual or vendor.
- Not all modems are approved for use in all countries. Check with your modem manufacturer or supplier for which countries your modem is approved.
There are several strategies you can adopt to cope with connectivity problems, including:
- Learn the workings of your modem and its related software ahead of your departure.
- Learn dialing strategies to bypass local dial tones and avoid having to teach your modem the full range of international access codes.
- Practice connecting manually through your modem, bypassing the modem's automatic dialing and using modem software to complete the connection.
- Use a phone card to overcome inflated hotel telephone charges.
- Find a local Internet Service Provider (ISP).
Your relocation consultant, local office, or building management may be able to answer some of your questions. Other issues will need to be addressed to your computer, modem, and software technical help services, or to your Internet Service Provider – ISP.