Internet relay - general FAQs

See also our FAQs on internet relay registration, making a call and receiving a call.

  1. What is an internet relay call?
  2. Can I make an internet relay call using an instant messaging application? 
  3. What operating system do I need?
  4. How much memory does my computer need?
  5. What sort of internet connection do I need?
  6. Which internet browsers are supported?
  7. Do I need to modify my browser?
  8. Do I need to be at a computer to make a call?
  9. What are the benefits of internet relay?
  10. Are there any downsides?
  11. What hours can I make an internet relay call?
  12. Are my calls secure and confidential?
  13. Will I be able to use my own voice?
  14. Can I make Speak and Read or Type and Listen relay calls through internet relay?
  15. What if I am a Speak and Listen user?
  16. Can internet relay include video relay?
  17. Can I make an internet relay call to a TTY user?
  18. My computer is on a corporate network. What do I need to do?
  19. Can someone log in as me and make an internet relay call?
  20. Can I make conference calls using internet relay?
  21. If I am blind or vision impaired, can I make an internet relay call?
  22. Can I make internet relay calls to international or 1900 premium-rate numbers?

1  What is an internet relay call?

Internet relay is a type of relay call where you type your side of the conversation on your computer, laptop or internet-enabled mobile devices (smartphones and tablets).and you read the other person’s responses on your screen. In that way it is similar to a Type and Read TTY call except that you are using a computer, tablet or smartphone instead of a TTY. You can both make and receive internet relay calls. 

 

2  Can I make an internet relay call using an instant messaging application?

No.

 

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3  What operating system do I need?

PC: Windows Vista or later with 1GHz 32-bit (x86) processor or 1GHz 64-bit (x64) processor

Mac: OS X 10.4 or later

iPhone and iPad: iOS 7 and above

Android phones and tablets: version 4.1 and above

See more about  operating systems on mobile phones and tablets.

 

4  How much memory does my computer need?

We recommend a minimum of 1GB of system memory and 128MB of graphics memory.

However, it is hard to establish a minimum configuration because there are so many possible combinations of hardware and software. If you experience any sort of memory or resource warning messages, or your system hard drive light continually flickers while trying to make an internet relay call, you probably do not have enough memory.

You can find out how much memory you have on a PC by going to ‘My computer' and then ‘View system information' or ‘System properties' (the process varies slightly for different operating systems).

 

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5  What sort of internet connection do I need?

You can make an internet relay call through any internet connection.

 

6  Which internet browsers are supported?

Internet relay calls can be made using the browser versions listed here or later versions.

  • Chrome 14
  • Internet Explorer 8
  • Firefox 7
  • Safari 5.1

 

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7  Do I need to modify my browser?

Probably not. The standard settings for most browsers allow internet relay to work straight away. Our internet relay webpage uses JavaScript, so this should be enabled. Refer to the Help files on your browser on how to verify that JavaScript is enabled.

 

8  Do I need to be at a computer to make a call?

Not necessarily. Internet relay needs an internet connection. You can access internet relay through:

  • a desktop computer such as a PC or Mac
  • a laptop
  • many tablets such as iPads
  • smartphones such as iPhones and Android phones.

 

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9  What are the benefits of internet relay?

  • You have more mobility than fixed line calls, eg you can use a laptop, tablet or smartphone when away from home or office
  • Apart from your normal internet connection costs, internet relay calls are free. Exceptions are internet relay calls to overseas numbers or calls to premium (1900) numbers within Australia (you will need a pre-paid phone card or an NRS account to make these calls).
  • If you are using a desktop computer you have access to a full-size computer keyboard to send your side of the conversation, and a large screen to read the responses.

 

10  Are there any downsides?

  • If you are a Speak and Read, or a Type and Listen caller, you can’t make these types of calls using internet relay. You can of course make a Type and Read style call, typing your side of the conversation and reading the responses on your screen.
  • Any 'emoticons' (smileys etc) will not be relayed by relay officers during your call.
  • If you want to make a call to emergency services through internet relay you need to be aware that an internet relay call does not automatically provide your location (unlike a fixed line call) so if you can't identify where you are (for example, if you pass out while making the call) the emergency service may not be able to find you.

 

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11  What hours can I make an internet relay call?

Internet relay calls are available 24 hours a day, every day of the year.

 

12  Are my calls secure and confidential?

All internet relay calls are specially encrypted using the same security protocol as bank and credit card transaction websites. This is known as Transport Layer Security (TLS) so your calls are very secure. Seemore about TLS security.

Our call centre also has security features and strict policy guidelines to safeguard the privacy of your relay calls and any user-identifiable information from unauthorised access or improper use. The NRS will continue to enhance our security procedures as new technology becomes available.

The National Relay Service does not keep any records of your communications except for short-term training purposes or where required by law.

It is illegal for a relay officer to disclose the nature or content of your conversations to anyone at any time. Relay officers and other NRS staff receive extensive and practical training about their legal and ethical responsibilities. All relay officers and other NRS staff sign a confidentiality agreement when they start work. Relay officers do not discuss the actual contents of particular user conversations or messages in any way except for disclosing information to supervisors for the purposes of training and improving customer service. The only exceptions are when the information relates to a complaint against the relay officer or the NRS.

 

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13  Will I be able to use my own voice?

No, you will need to type your side of the conversation through your computer, tablet or smartphone. However a hearing person can make a call to you using their own voice using an ordinary phone or mobile. You will need to be registered and logged in to receive the call through internet relay.

 

14  Can I make Speak and Read or Type and Listen relay calls through internet relay?

No. However, internet relay is not restricted to callers who have previously only used Type and Read on their TTYs. Speak and Read, or Type and Listen users can still make internet relay calls, but they have to do it in Type and Read mode.

 

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15  What if I am a Speak and Listen user?

Internet relay is not restricted to callers who have previously only used Type and Read on their TTYs. Speak and Listen users can still make internet relay calls, but they have to do it in Type and Read mode.

 

16 Can internet relay include video relay?

No, internet relay is a form of Type and Read. There is no video component. If you are an Auslan user you can make a video relay call.

 

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17  Can I make an internet relay call to a TTY user?

Yes.

 

18  My computer is on a corporate network. What do I need to do?

Many computer networks have high levels of security and block both internal and external access to all but a few specific internet sites. If you are allowed general internet browsing you should be able to make a call through internet relay.

However if browsing is restricted, you might need to discuss your need to make phone calls through internet relay with your supervisor or your network administrator. Our Helpdesk is happy to discuss the best way to deal with your organisation’s security and management protocols – either with you, your supervisor or your network administrator. 

 

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19  Can someone log in as me and make an internet relay call?

Yes, just in the same way anyone could use your TTY and pretend to be you. However with a computer, tablet or smartphone you can control your security settings (passwords etc) to stop other people using it.

 

20  Can I make conference calls using internet relay?

Yes, you can use internet relay - as you can with any relay call option - to take part in a multi-person phone conference. However, you can't use internet relay for group conversations with other NRS users. See more about conference calls.

 

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21  If I am blind or vision impaired, can I make an internet relay call?

Yes, but you will need a screen reader, screen magnifier, talking web browser or other adaptive technology. These are different types of software or hardware that can help you adapt your computer so that you can better see the text or have it read out to you.

If you have a Windows operating system you will have a basic built-in screen reader known as Narrator.

  • With Windows XP go to Start > Programs > Accessories > Accessibilty to get to Narrator.
  • With Windows Vista or Windows 7 go to Control panel > Ease of access centre to get Narrator going.  

You could also have a look at the Microsoft information about adaptive technologies.

If you have a Macintosh there is a Mac VoiceOver screen reader.

Vision Australia researches, demonstrates, advises and sells a range of adaptive technologies. They also have a link to more information about various technologies and products.

 

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22  Can I make internet relay calls to international or 1900 premium-rate numbers?

Yes. You will need to have a prepaid phone card or a National Relay Service account and you will be charged the relevant fee for these calls.

Make an internet relay call Make a captioned relay call

24-hour relay call numbers

  • TTY/voice calls

    133 677

  • Speak & Listen

    1300 555 727

  • SMS relay

    0423 677 767

Make other relay calls
– all the numbers you need