Working remotely requires more than software'so hang in there

Working remotely requires more than software'so hang in there

When you're on the road, remote access software for your trusty notebook PC is essential for communicating with the mother ship.

Users debate the value of a portable that has a built-in modem versus one with which you supply the modem via a PC Card device. In either case, making sure the modem is both high-speed'56-Kbps'and internationally capable, if you're off to an overseas assignment, are good ideas.

Many notebook PC makers, such as Hewlett-Packard Co., build in globally certified modems. On the PC Card side, perhaps no other company has more experience building modems for international communications than Xircom Inc. of Thousand Oaks, Calif. Either way, take care of communications questions before your departure.

Proper power

Another handy accessory for global computing is the proper power adapter to connect to electrical outlets overseas. Some use an American-style plug, but other countries are far different.

In my experience'which recently included trips to South Korea and Nairobi'the company now known as iGo Corp. of Reno, Nev., has no equal for providing the right connectors for both electrical outlets and telephone lines.

Products on iGo's Web site, at, cover an expansive range of new and recent notebook PCs, cell phones and other devices. Especially useful is a phone line tester that can keep your modem from being fried by too powerful a line.

Factor this

If your work is more stationary'say, you're working regularly from home or another fixed, remote location'there are other considerations. A second telephone line might be necessary so you can accept and make voice calls.

Some phone companies and other providers offer Digital Subscriber Line service'a fast data and voice network connection'at reasonable prices. DSLs feature continuous Internet connections and the ability to make voice calls on the same line as you surf the Web or are connected to your office network.

Similarly, more communities are gaining access to broadband modem service from their cable TV companies.

These lines, too, feature an always-on Internet link, but are limited to upstream and downstream data connections.

Perhaps the most important thing a remote user will need'whether in the field or at home'is a good supply of patience.

Years of teleworking from all sorts of places has shown me that things don't always work as intended the first time, and that means trying alternatives until you get your connections right.

'Mark A. Kellner

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