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Archive for the 'Telephone' Category

GSM

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2009

GSM stands for Global System for Mobile communications and is the the mobile phone standard common in many parts of the world.  It has been the main standard in Germany since the middle of the 1990s.

The two GSM frequencies in Germany are known as D-Netz and E-Netz.

The standard also covers features such as SMS (Kurznachrichten), which started out as a by-product and is now one of the most popular ways of using a mobile phone.

To hear a simple explanation and a short discussion in German, listen to the podcast:

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Amtsleitung

Wednesday, April 15th, 2009

The word Amtsleitung has two possible meanings:

1. It can refer to the phone line between the exchange and the socket in a flat or house, also known as the Letzte Meile (last mile).

2. It can also be used to talk about an “outside line” in a corporate environment.  People talk about “ein Amt holen” or “eine Amtsleitung holen”, ie. obtaining an outside line.  Since ISDN is more popular in Germany than other countries, even private homes may have internal extension numbers require a number, eg. 0, to ring an external number.

To hear a simple explanation and a short discussion in German, listen to the podcast:

(Press the “play” button to listen to the podcast)

Download the MP3 file



Vorwahl

Wednesday, April 8th, 2009

The word Vorwahl refers to the area code (also known as STD code) of a telephone number.

Area codes in Germany area structured so that it is possible to roughly guess which part of the country someone lives in by their telephone number.

The other part of the number is called the Rufnummer.  In the days of dialling phone numbers by hand people left the Vorwahl off the number of they were calling someone within the same Vorwahlbereich, but these days many people program the numbers into their phones with the area code anyway.  This saves re-programming when you move, and has also become common practise as mobile phones require the area code all the time.

To call another country, you use the internationale Vorwahl, which basically means putting 00 in front of the country code (eg. 44 for the UK).

The term Vorwahl can also refer to a number dialled in an office environment to obtain an outside line.

To hear a simple explanation and a short discussion in German, listen to the podcast:


(Press the “play” button to listen to the podcast)

Download the MP3 file



DSL

Wednesday, April 1st, 2009

DSL is an abbreviation for Digital Subscriber Line.  People use it to refer to high-speed internet (broadband) over a normal phone line.

DSL became available for consumers at around the turn of the century, but has only really taken off since about 2003.

Users require at least a DSL modem that supports the PPPoE protocol, but most users today use a router which allows more than one computer to connect to the internet at the same time.

DSL line speeds vary according to location, even within the same town.  But all speeds, when they are available, are much faster than the previous modem technology.

Many companies that offer DSL contracts require their customers to sign up for a minimum of two years, although some, such as Alice, offer shorter terms and may therefore be more interesting to people coming to Germany for only a limited period of time.

To hear a simple explanation and a short discussion in German, listen to the podcast:

(Press the “play” button to listen to the podcast)

Download the MP3 file



Das Fräulein vom Amt

Wednesday, June 25th, 2008

Das Fräulein vom Amt was the name given to the telephone operators at the beginning of the last century.

Young women were employed to connect phone calls in the days before direct dialling as their high voices carried better on the early telephone wires than the lower men’s voices. They did this by connecting sockets on a so-called Klappenschrank.

Whilst the need for this service reduced with the introduction of direct dialling, many calls to other countries were still connected manually and it was possible to reserve a time for a particular call in advance.

The job services in the form of the Telefonistin in emergency call centres and on the switchboard of large companies.

To hear a simple explanation and a short discussion in German, listen to the podcast:

(Press the “play” button to listen to the podcast)

Download the MP3 file

Subscribe to the podcast



 

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