Dial-up, as the name suggests, is the method of dialing and connecting to the Internet. It is one of the oldest methods of Internet access and sometimes the most trusted one also. Let’s learn about this Internet access method along with its advantages and disadvantages.
Have you ever wondered how things work in the background, to let you connect to the Internet and do whatever you feel like? If you do wonder, surely it won’t be about the dial-up connection. These days many technologies work side by side very efficiently to make your Internet experience simple and worth it. And the best is, you have to hardly pay a few hundred bucks or even less.
Internet these days is available wherever you want and has become a hassle-free affair. You can have a broadband connection at your home and you can surf the Internet from a restaurant using a plug-in. And one can always forget how difficult and costly it used to be, just a few years ago. Difficult is definitely not the right word to define dial-up Internet access. Though it was a long process and sounded tedious, it was still efficient, rather it still is, in some ways.
A dial-up connection needs a phone line that can be used, to connect to a server or a smart hub. One actually dials up a number and establishes a link before the communication/transaction can start. This is the basic reason that gives it the name, ‘dial up’. A modulation/demodulation device, called modem is needed throughout. This device is responsible for the conversion of bits and bytes into electromagnetic waves, which are then transferred through the telephone lines. Once the data reaches the destination, it is again converted into bits and bytes before being displayed on the computer screen.
Advantages of Dial-up Internet Access
Dial-up method has always been and will remain the cheapest method of connecting to the Internet. All kinds of usages are charged according to the telephone call tariff only. No extra money is charged just because it is being used in data transfer, most of the time. Sometimes, the prices go up because of the individual requirements of speed and performance.
A dial-up connection is much safer than any other technology because of the rotation of the IP addresses, assigned to a user. IP address is a set of numbers assigned to you, that you use to connect to the Internet. So, wherever you go, you leave a trail behind. Using a dial-up connection, every time a person logs in, he/she does so using a new IP address. This makes hacking an account impossible and saves the user a lot of headache. IP address theft has some serious consequences, like someone can login using your IP address and do ‘wrong things’ that may actually point back at you.
This is probably the best feature of dial-up Internet access. It provides the user with the convenience of using his/her account wherever the service is available. That means, if you are going on a vacation and the service provider is available at that location, you can very much log in to your account and access the Internet. This is mostly not the case with the broadband connection. And hence the dial-up gets an upper edge when it comes to ‘being there’, always.
Disadvantages of Dial-up Internet Access
Lags Behind in Speed
Speed is one of the biggest disadvantages of a dial-up connection. The maximum speed a dial-up connection can achieve is 56,000 bytes per second, which is way too less compared to all the other technologies available, these days. The page loading speed is so slow that, many times you may want to go and finish other work in between. The low speed of the dial-up can be easily and very conveniently blamed on the technology that it uses. The Internet surfing process on a dial-up connection goes through various levels of conversions, modulations and handshakes (yes, the machines hand shake and agree to a few things, before they start working).
We are not going into the details of the working of this technology here. For now, it’s enough to know that all these processes, that actually happen in a few minutes are really tedious. One should really go through the technological concepts at least once. It’s guaranteed that you will stop complaining about the speed of your connection and will start admiring it. A computer actually achieves so much in just a few minutes. But yes, there are many technologies that are doing better, and hence the less popularity of the dial-up connection.
Unstable Dial-up Connection
Watching streaming videos require a large amount of data for which you need a stable connection. Also, with regard to the landline connection, if you have enabled the call waiting option, then it definitely breaks up your connection. Any downloads happening at that time will get cut off as the Internet connection gets disconnected.
Demands a Phone Line
A dial-up connection requires a permanent phone line, that can be dialed to connect to the Internet. So you cannot always carry your Internet along with you, like with some other technologies. Yes, you can surf it from some other place but only when there is an existing phone line of the same service provider, at that place. In case of a laptop, you cannot make use of the dial-up connection if you are journeying as you would need an alternate landline connection at the place you are going to stay or at least have a wireless card.
Phone Route is Engaged
Everyone of us born in the 80s and the 90s very well know, what it means. Newer generations might not be familiar with it because of the absence of landlines in most places, these days. “Route busy” means that the single line available, is being used for a data transfer and hence nothing else can be done at that moment.
So if the user is using the line for Internet purpose, the line will sound busy for the other people, who may be trying to landline number. Hence, there may be times, that you are connecting to the world and feeling liberated and at the same time, your parents (out for a trip) are going mad trying to call you up at home. The vice-versa could also happen if you need to talk to a friend or family member, but can’t as someone is using the dial-up connection for surfing the web.
Dial-up Internet access has its pros and cons, like any other technology in the world. There are many reasons behind its depleting popularity, and out of them, speed seems to be the major one. Time is the only factor that people don’t have these days. Many a time, money and other things don’t matter at all. People need speed along with the convenience and they are ready to pay anything for that. Perhaps, dial-up will be extinct in the coming few years, but people who wanted security will always miss it. Whenever they will sit down with their friends, discussing hacking and how they lost precious data, they will fondly remember their days of dialing up to the Internet.