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Can I use a regular computer modem to call a TTY?

Almost all TTY conversation among deaf people is done through Baudot, which is incompatible with ASCII. Software will not give a computer Baudot compatibility. A Baudot/ASCII modem, or TTY modem, is necessary to do the conversion. (A list of manufacturers of these modems and related software can be found by clicking here.) These products turn your computer into an excellent TTY, but they are more expensive than ordinary data modems, and most operate at only 300 baud, which means you would not use them as data modems. (Some new products may be exceptions.)

If you have a conventional data modem and want to communicate with a TTY user whose TTY has ASCII, you MAY be able to do it using conventional communication software. However, because the TTY user may not be used to the ASCII feature and because these devices are not standard in terms of default settings in ASCII, you may find that you are unable to connect. Also, the deaf person may answer in Baudot; if the TTY does not automatically switch between Baudot and ASCII, you will not connect.

Another problem you may encounter is that your new conventional modem does not support 300 baud--and therefore will not connect with most TTYs that have ASCII.

The future, we hope, will see the resolution of these compatibility problems.

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