What is "Roaming"?
Have you ever wanted to be able to log in to VFR's internet service from other locations to check your mail or browse the web? Now you can do so.
VFR is proud to announce the availability of a new service which will allow you to log into VFR from almost many places throughout the United States and the world. We call this service "roaming service. Through an aliance with other internet service providers (called "GRIC" - Global Reach Internet Connection) we can now offer you the ability to check into our system from many places, world wide.
To find out more about GRIC, click on the GRIC logo at the top of this page.
How does it work?
More details will be given below but in substance you log in to another system, identify yourself as (youruserid)@vfr.net, and you're on. It's that simple.
From where can you log in?
The list of potential sites is much too big to post here but it is available on the internet. If you know where you are going you can check the list in advance and make a note of the local phone numbers.
How much does this service cost?
It costs $3.50 for the first connect per month plus 6 cents per minute.
Keep in mind you are not logging in by calling an 800 toll-free number. You are actually calling another internet service provider's number whereever you are. This is why the rate is so much cheaper than you could ever get using an 800 number. And the rate applies even if you happen to travel overseas. The rate is 8 cents per minute wherever you may go: Reno, New York City, London, Hong Kong or any place else.
The cost for roaming service is in addition to your normal monthly service cost. You only incur the additional roaming costs if you log in through another system. You can think of it like the bill for your telephone. You have a basic cost for the phone each month. But, if you make long distance calls, the cost goes up. Same thing applies here - if you don't use the service, there is no charge other than your standard monthly account charge.
Can I use it now?
No. In order to use this service your account must be reprogrammed to show proper authorization. If you are in a hurry we can program your account today after you sign up (see below).
How do I sign up?
From the nature of the service we can only invoice you for the service after it has been provided (the same way the phone company can only bill you for long distance calls after they are made). Therefore, we are only offering this service to those customers who pay by credit card.
If you already pay by credit card and want to be able to use the service, send us an e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org). let us know you want to use the service and we will reprogram your account. Thereafter, should you use the service, we will charge this service to your credit card along with your normal monthly charge.
If you don't pay by credit card but want to use the service, then call us and give us a Credit Card number which we can use for charging this service.
I want the technical details. How does this work?
When you know you are going to be traveling, go to the GRIC phone book and copy the local dial in numbers for your destination.
If you are using a laptop computer (or a friend's computer at the remote location) your login changes slightly.; Let's say your userid and login is "fubar." When you travel your login becomes email@example.com. Your password remains the same.
The remote computer will contact us and, if you are authorized to use this service, you are granted access. We have installed special software to run this service.
From that point on it works just as though you are logged into our system. If you turn on your e-mail program and tell it to get your mail, it will retrieve it from our system. Frankly, if you didn't know you weren't at home you could not tell that you weren't logged into our system.
You can then browse the web, look at newsgroups and do all the functions you normally do at home although you should remember that a clock is running.
To minimize costs, you can prepare your e-mail messages in advance and queue them in your computer. Then, when ready, log in, download the incoming mail and upload the outgoing mail. Then disconnect. It will only cost you 20 cents plus whatever time is involved at 8 cents per minute. You can read your e-mail off line.
How do I configure my computer to use the roaming service?
- Make sure that we have set up your account as an authorized user of the roaming services.
- You will need to know the local dial-in phone numbers of wherever you may be traveling. There are two ways to do this:
- Go to the following URL and download the "phone book" so it resides on your computer. Then you can simply look up the number each time.
Or, if you know from where you will be logging in, go to the "phone book" and look up the local phone numbers for those particular cities.
- When you are on the road you will need to do the following to log in:
For Windows 95:
- When the "connect to" box comes up (when you first start dialing), insert the local telephone number to dial instead of the number you call from home. You shouldn't need to enter the area code since it is, presumably, a local call.
- Also in the "connect to" box revise your username so that it is in this format - firstname.lastname@example.org. For example, if we were traveling with our vfr username, we would put "email@example.com" (we would not include the quote marks, just the information between them).
- Do nothing to your password. Your password remains the same and is not affected by this process.
- Now connect as you normally do. You will be connected to the network and you won't be able to tell any difference from when you use the machine at home. If you want to use e-mail, just start your e-mail program and download your mail. If you want to browse the web - start up your web browsing software. Nothing else needs to be modified.
For Windows 3.1:
- If you are using trumpet as a dialer, start trumpet by clicking on the icon. Right after it starts (just before or even while it is dialing) hit the "escape" key to stop it. Then click on "dialer" and then "1. Setup.cmd".
-- The first category that comes up is the phone number. Insert the local phone number at this point. Then click on "OK".
-- The next category shown is your username. Put your username @ vfr.net (i.e. for us it would be firstname.lastname@example.org - see example in Windows 95 above). Then click on "OK".
-- The next category shown is your password. You do not need to do anything to your password. Click on "OK".
- Click on "dialer" and then "bye". Wait about 5 seconds.
- Click on "file" and then "exit."
- Click on the trumpet icon again and it will dial the local number and log you in.
- Once you are logged in use everything just like you do when at home.
Don't forget when you come home to set everything back like it was before you left.
- If you install the GRIC phone book, you can install the phone book such that it will automatically insert the proper dial-up number for the city you are in. Please follow the instructions that come with the dialler software.
The list of sites from which you can log in is constantly growing. Therefore, to assure you have the latest information we suggest you look up your destination in the GRIC phone book and/or update your GRIC phone book software just prior to leaving on a trip.