Before streaming and gaming and video-conferencing online, there was dial-up internet. Fast enough for common tasks at the time, dial-up internet speed was initially adequate for many people – even though media-rich web activity such as software downloads could take several minutes, sometimes hours. In rural America, dial-up remains an option for internet access. Far from cities that cable and DSL service, it’s either dial-up or satellite internet. (Cable, DSL and fiber internet carriers lack the infrastructure in rural addresses.) Dial-up gives users access to the web through a telephone network and a modem. A dial-up network delivers internet through phone lines. A user cannot talk on a home phone while connected to the internet, but dial-up plans do come in the lowest price tier; some providers even furnish service for free.
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Dial-up speed is still a viable option for casual users and those on a budget.
Check in with your ISP or free web-based email client, or log into an instant messenger. Dial-up internet speed works for basic web activity. Check in on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social media platforms, too. Users can also keep their email open in one tab while browsing in another.
Stay up-to-date on current events and check in on today’s weather reports. Dial-up internet customers can track their favorite sports teams, stocks, celebrity gossip and more. Some providers offer a customizable home page, which can include links to your go-to sources for news, weather, and more.
Carve out your digital niche online with a blog. Most blog platforms don’t require vast amounts of internet speed. You can also read your favorite blogs with basic dial-up speed. It’s enough speed for students to research for homework assignments and bigger projects, too.
Dial-up internet speeds hover around 40-50kbit/second. In the early days of internet, that was enough –and it may still be ample for basic browsing. ISDN stands for Integrated Services Digital Network. ISDN, which operates on the public switched telephone network, increases that capacity to 128kbit/s upstream and downstream – a major upgrade. There are other ways to make your dial-up connection faster. For one, you can disable Flash video. Flash videos are large files and take a while to load. Check your browser to disable flash player video. You can also install antivirus software. Viruses and malware take up limited bandwidth on a dial-up connection. Keep your antivirus software updated to prevent your devices from being infected. Finally, you may want to download a cleaning tool. While temporary internet files and browser cookies improve your browsing experience, residual files can slow your network down. A cleaning tool removes these files to keep your machine running optimally.
Dial-up allows you to get online for basic web browsing. You’ll be able to check news, weather, and social media. Dial-up internet speeds can give you the capacity you need for light or occasional internet use. Video streaming, online gaming, and downloads of large files are more difficult for a dial-up connection to handle, but if you’re only online a few times a day to check in, dial-up may suit your needs.
Customers in rural areas likely won’t have cable, DSL or fiber internet options. Satellite internet can reach even the most remote outposts, but it can cost significantly more than dial-up. If have a modest internet budget, live in a small household with relatively few devices, or only use the internet occasionally, dial-up could be a good fit for you.