Dial Up Internet – Pros & Cons

Dial Up Internet Service

Dial Up is the cheapest Internet access option, and may well serve your needs if you only need light to moderate Internet access. Dial up is also great if you travel because unlike most broadband plans you can use it practically anywhere. I use both a home based high-speed cable ISP and a low-cost dial-up Internet service for times when I’m away from home.

Advantages of Dial Up Internet

  • Inexpensive – Many Nationwide ISP unlimited dial-up Internet service plans are under $10 per month.
  • Mobile – You can use the dial-up Internet service anywhere there is an available telephone jack.
  • Easy – No special hardware to buy, configure or maintain.

Note: Even though most dial-up ISPs advertise Unlimited dial-up, the maximum Internet connection time is usually capped at 300 hours per month which works out to approximately 10 hours usage every day of the month. If you need more Internet connection time than this then you should seriously consider a Broadband DSL or High Speed Cable Internet Plan.

Disadvantages of Dial Up Internet

  • Slow – Unsuitable for streaming audio or multimedia video viewing.
  • Must Connect – You have to dial-up the ISPs service to access the Internet.
  • Disconnections – If your Internet connection is inactive for a period of time most ISPs will disconnect you.
  • Ties up Telephone – Your telephone line will be busy while connected without Modem On Hold.

Can I Use My Telephone While I’m Online?

If you only have one telephone line then you can’t dial out or receive incoming while you are connected to the Internet unless you have a V.92 modem with “Modem On Hold” software installed.

What Is Modem On Hold?

Modem-On-Hold is a new V.92 modem technology that allows you to make and receive phone calls while connected to the Internet. Most dial up ISPs support “Modem On Hold”. You will need call waiting service from your phone company and compatible Modem-On-Hold software. You should have received software such as “NetWaiting” or “MOH” with your v.92 modem, but if not, you will need to download it from your modem manufacturers web site.

What is Accelerated Dial Up?

Most Internet service providers offer a dial-up Internet accelerator. Basically the accelerated dial up service consists of advanced compression and caching software downloaded from your ISP and installed on your computer. This special software drastically reduces the amount of data that needs to be sent across the phone lines to your computers modem. Although you should see an immediate improvement in performance, the trade-off is that the graphic image quality is somewhat reduced. The accelerator software is usually configurable to allow you to customize the compression ratio and other settings.

How Do I Choose the Best Dial Up ISP?

I would personally choose an established Internet provider that has a proven track record and provides many U.S. Nationwide and Canadian V.92 local access numbers. To avoid long distance telephone charges, you should make sure that any prospective dial-up ISP provides local dial-up numbers for your area. Compare low cost dialup Internet providers and choose one that best fulfills your needs and is within your monthly budget.