Mobile Internet Connection:
EUnet Traveller simplifies Internet access in Europe, US

International calls home to check your Email can be hugely expensive, but it can be equally expensive (not to mention time-consuming) to establish an account with an Internet Access Provider in all the countries to which you regularly travel.

If you are a CompuServe or AOL user, you’ve been able to tap into an established network of local phone numbers around the world. Now, similar services are also available for Internet access.

To see how these services work, Roadnews.com recently arranged with EUnet, a major Internet access company in Europe, to test drive its EUnet Traveller service while on a recent trip to Europe. We used the service in Switzerland, three locations in France and in the US. The results were pleasing.

EUnet Traveller allows you to establish a single account that provides you with Internet access in about 30 countries in Western and Eastern Europe, as well as in the US.

Will I have to use a new Email address?

No, what you get is dial-up access to the Internet. You are assigned a username and password that gets you connected. Once online, you can surf the ‘net, ftp, or whatever. But when it comes to Email, you use EUnet to retrieve mail from your regular Email address. There’s no need to have yet another Email address to remember — although you can get one from EUnet if you want, at an additional charge.

Do I need special software?

No, you set up your connection through Windows or on a Mac. Detailed, but lengthy, instructions are provided. Once you have the basic configuration saved on your computer, you only have to change the phone number dialed to match the city or country from which you are calling.

To check Email, you can use whatever software you normally use at home. If you are already using a dialup account, you probably won’t need to make any changes to the way it’s configured. If you’re normally on a network, you’ll need to find out your POP User Name and the addresses of your SMTP Server (for outgoing mail) and POP Server (for incoming mail).

Are there local numbers?

Depends on the country and your location within each country. In the US, a toll-free number covers the entire country. In the UK and France, there are single national numbers that let you dial from anywhere buy pay the price of a local call. There are varying numbers of Points of Presence in other countries, providing local call access, naturally, in the larger cities and towns.

Does the system work?

By following the instructions provided, we setup our connections without difficulty in Windows. In the US we connected without a problem. In Switzerland there are local numbers in about 18 locations. We were not in one of these, so we dialed long distance to Lausanne. It was faster to retrieve Email than send it, which is odd. Upon inquiry, EUnet suggested not using our usual SMTP server to send Email. For faster service, one can use an SMTP server specific to each country. These server address are clearly indicated on materials provided by EUnet.

In France we traveled to the Pyrenees, Provence and the area outside Geneva. There are no local numbers for these areas, so we incurred toll charges. The national number in France would have saved us money, but it is necessary to configure Windows to present a dialog box during login so that two additional codes can be entered. We did eventually find directions on EUnet’s Web site on how to do this, but not until after we had returned home.

We found that dialing to Paris brought faster and more reliable service than connecting through a smaller city. Toll charges to Paris didn’t seem to be that much more expensive than more regional long distance calls.

What special consideration do I need to keep in mind?

Be sure that your modem doesn’t get held up waiting for a dial tone. When it does, you get a "No Dial Tone" error message. Most modems purchased in the US won’t recognize a European dial tone. (For instructions on how to get around this, see the article on waiting for dial tones, this issue)

What does it cost?

To set up an account, it costs US$39.95. This gets you your password and an initial 90 minutes of usage. After that, you only pay for connect time at a rate of .11 ECUs a minute. At current exchange rates, that’s about US$.12/minute. Arrangements can be made to be billed in a number of currencies; some value-added taxes may apply. Charges are billed to VISA or MasterCard. Your usage can be monitored online via EUnet’s Web site. Accounts expire after one year of non-use, or when your credit card expires, whichever comes first.

Is there technical support?

EUnet Traveller is a network. It is comprised of EUnet offices in each country, or through arrangement with other ISPs. Each ISP provides its own technical support, giving you local access to a help desk. Help desk assistance is available in English in each case, as well as the local language. General assistance is also available from a central office in Belgium.

How does one register?

Registration can be handled online through a secure server, or by contacting EUnet’s Call Centre in Belgium.

EUnet Traveller: Web site: https://traveller.eu.net (Jul'02)

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