Have you ever tried to contact a person in another country using a TTY? If so, you may already know that there are many different TTY communication protocols currently in use throughout the world, and that most of them are incompatible. So if you’ve always wanted to contact your deaf friend in Italy via TTY, you may soon be able to.
The problem is that TTY technology has developed pretty much independently in many different countries, and the current devices are incompatible. The different technology part of the problem is not likely to change soon, because Italy is no more likely to adopt the TTY technology from the US than the US is to adopt theirs. The solution is to develop a technology that provides communication between the seemingly incompatible systems.
A protocol called V.18 does exactly that, and Ultratec has recently announced a commercial implementation. Ultratec’s Minicom Pro8000a series TTYs, recently introduced in Great Britain, are V.18 compliant. V.18 works by providing a negotiating framework within which two TTYs can find a mutually agreeable protocol. This strategy is similar to the way fax machines find a mutually compatible code.
Ultratec worked with a variety of experts and organizations to develop a functional system for implementing the V.18 protocol into its text telephones. Among the TTY codes they include is one called Turbo Code(R), which makes their TTYs compatible with a majority of text telephones and dual parity relay systems worldwide.