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What is Dial-Up Internet?


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A lot of people have a lot of opinions about what dial-up Internet is – mostly because it’s the oldest Internet technology still in use.

Everyone remembers the AOL dial tone. It’s one of the most famous noises associated with the rise of the Internet. That’s what most people think of when they think of dial-up.

How dial-up Internet service works

If you want to get online with dial-up Internet service, you have to “dial-in.” Your dial-up modem (the loud-noise maker) takes a couple of minutes to connect you to the Internet and then you can get online. But with dial-up, you can’t use your home phone at the same time you’re online (because the Internet connection monopolizes the landline). You have to either use one or the other – never simultaneously.

So, if dial-up Internet is slow, and you can’t use it while talking on the phone, why do people still use it?

Why dial-up Internet providers are still around

There’s one very good reason that dial-up Internet is still in use: it’s available everywhere.

Here’s how it works – cities and suburbs have the biggest demand for Internet service, simply because that’s where the majority of the population lives. That’s why cable and fiber Internet providers primarily offer service in those densely populated areas.

The further you move away from the city centers, the fewer Internet options you have. For rural Internet, satellite, DSL and dial-up are your only options.

DSL is usually the fastest alternative, followed closely by satellite Internet. Dial-up Internet is what you would call a last-resort Internet service.

But, dial-up Internet providers provide a way for Americans to get online, when otherwise they wouldn’t have any other way. In a world where social media, Netflix, online games and shopping rule, most people would take slow Internet over no Internet.

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