Getting and Using a Fixed Phone at CERN

18 February 2008

In the past few weeks, I have discussed the usage of phones for phone conferences and for bridging to a video conference when a laptop or the network was not available. Did you know, however, that you can use your CERN phone to hold a small conference? Did you know that you can have it forward to your cell phone or to a voice message service? Did you know it can speak English? That's not all...


Q: How do I get a fixed phone in my CERN office?

A: There are three different types of fixed CERN phones available: Audience 12, Audience 32, Numerique 4035, all by Alcatel. You can see images of them here. To get a phone, contact the ATLAS Secretariat and they will help you find prices and place the order.


Q: O.K. I got it. How do I use it?

A: The CERN-IT CS (Communications Services) Group has a very useful site here, containing instructions. For local calls (Geneva area and Pays de Gex), just follow the guide. For long distance, it is best to set up a PIN code associated to your group's account. To get that, fill out this form.


Q: What can I do with my PIN code?

A: With the PIN code, you can call from your own phone or another 24/7 with charges going to your Team Account. Follow the instructions on the site. Depending on your access rights, you can call to different areas. Bills are itemized, so group's can have their own policies concerning personal usage. Make sure you understand and follow your own group's policy!


Q: Aren't the calls expensive?

A: Not at all! CERN has negotiated excellent international rates, many even cheaper than Skype Out. A typical one-hour transatlantic call costs less than one Swiss Franc.


Q: Can I see the rates?

A: You can ask for a specific rate. They do not publish lists, as they have a competitived bidding scheme.


Q: What about call forwarding and voice mail?

A: Read the phone web page.


Q: When I try to use my phone card, I can't enter the code! What's up with that?

A: You did not read the web page until the end or you don't know what a DTMF tone is. DTMF = Dual-Tone Multi-Frequency. So? Those are the tones your phone needs to make in order to enter the code. With the CERN phones:
1. Call the number.
2. Wait to be prompted for the code.
3. Enter 98 and then your code.
Note: You must do this to enter the EVO meeting code when using the phone bridge.


Q: Didn't you mention holding a small phone conference?

A: Yup. You can find instructions at the audio conferencing site. I covered Part 1 in my previous phone conferencing FAQ. Part 2 gives instructions for running a conference for several different types of existing phones, including the ones listed above.


Q: How do I make that lady on my phone speak English?

A: Well, if you are talking about the operators, they all do, if you ask nicely. If you are talking about the automated voice giving explanations, you simply need to send an e-mail to asking them to set up your phone in English. I believe the only choices are French and English, but feel free to ask for other options.


Q: Where can I find more information?

A: Here are some contacts:
Phone Support:
General Conference Support:
General CERN Collaborative Tool Issues:
ATLAS-Specific Issues & Announcements:

Steven Goldfarb


Steven Goldfarb

University of Michigan


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