Internet connections nowadays are actually very fast. If you’ve experienced using a dial-up connection as you’re main internet connection, you will definitely agree. Aside from the connection itself, do you still remember your old dial-up modem? We all agree that it’s slow, hard to connect and costs quite a lot but what about those little things and experiences that we share about dial-up? Let me share some of them and I’m sure you’ll remember how internet connection used to be.
There’s a window in the dial-up connection properties where you put in your username and password. You usually just have to press connect and it will go ahead and dial the phone number of your ISP so that you can connect to the internet. It’s perfectly ok if it connects immediately but I’m pretty sure that it was busy sometimes especially during peak hours such as early in the evening. Do you remember how frustrating it was to keep on redialing just to hear the dial-up noise? Sometimes, you connect a handset to the modem so you can dial or redial manually. I do this to immediately determine if it’s busy or not.
So you are now connected. You’re downloading an important file, chatting with someone or even playing an online game when suddenly, your connection seems to stop. You keep on wondering what happened than after a few more seconds or minutes, the phone rings. I remember the time when I was still playing Ragnarok online. My character suddenly stops. I’d have to reconnect again both on the internet and to the game. More so, I had to wait until the person disconnects before I could even attempt connecting again. Even if you have call waiting, it can interrupt your connection.
We have an extension phone line in the house and when you’re connected to the internet and someone picks it up to call someone, your internet connection will almost certainly be disconnected.
And of course, who would ever forget the sound your phone or modem makes when you hit the connect button? You can hear the buzzing sounds when you try to connect to your ISP there’s a distinct sound near the end that usually gives you a clue that it will successfully connect.
Dial-up connections were really expensive during those times. I remember back in 1997, I had to pay $50 for a 33.6 kbps connection with a limit of 350 hours per month. So I tried to find a way to make it cheaper so I chose prepaid cards. It was like $2 for 10 hours of internet usage plus it’s free during off peak hours which are around 12 midnight to 7 am as long as you have at least an hour left in your card. That was more than enough for me. But then, it really gets disappointing if you need to use the internet and your internet hours get totally used up.
Those were the good old days. Today, it is unthinkable to use dial-up connections as your main internet connection. Websites incorporate huge files which could take minutes to completely download on a 56k dial-up connection. It can be used for emailing and chat and is mostly used as a backup when broadband connection isn’t available.