data port data ports hotel laptop modem internet Macintosh PowerBook PPP phone connecting dial-up dialup dial up calling card ISP road warrior business traveller

LinkedResources Teaching Pages

Using Hotel "Data Ports" and A T & T Calling Cards with MacOS

It's a perpetual frustration. You're hundreds of miles from home and want to check your e-mail, but you're clueless about how to use the hotel phone to connect to your ISP. And their long distance charges - ouch! But fret no more. Here's the "how-to" for you.

Many hotels now offer "data ports," which are nothing more than analog modular phone jacks built into the phone. Even without these, you may find that, in many cases, you can just unplug the phone and plug the line into your laptop (but be aware that digital phone systems - PBX - can fry your modem; bring along a cheap phone or buy a tester, and test the line for a dial tone before plugging in your modem.). If you detect a dial tone, you're set.

  1. Open your Remote Access (or PPP if pre-MacOS 8.5) control panel. Duplicate the setting you use to access your ISP (I'm assuming you have a dial-up plan; this doesn't work for xDSL, cable modems, LAN, or ISDN - you're not in Kansas anymore!).

  2. Enter this string in the "Number:" box:



  3. Click command-k to save your changes. Rename this new configuration to suit you, and make it active.

  4. Make sure your TCP/IP control panel is set to use your ISP.

  5. Connect as needed.

Depending on your calling card provider, some variation and experimentation may be necessary. The key is to provide adequate delays by using the "," character in the number string.