An Internet connection that makes use of telephone lines and is established with the help of minimum infrastructure, including a computer and a modem, is known as a dial-up Internet connection. It is a relatively inexpensive service, which provides minimal facilities at reasonable costs.
The dial-up Internet connection is mostly used in remote areas, where broadband connectivity is weak. Broadband connections have still not penetrated rural areas due to low demand. Travelers too use these connections, since telephone lines are the only requirement to set them up. Some ISPs provide free dial-up access to the Internet.
What is a Dial-Up Connection
The Internet connection that’s established by using telephone lines as a medium is known as a dial-up connection. A modem is used to connect the computer to the Internet Service Provider (ISP). A computer is used to control the functioning of the modem. Once the connection is established, an activity called ‘handshaking’ takes place between the modem and remote server. In the process of handshaking, information is exchanged between these components. The data between the computer and the hosts present on the Internet is transferred in the form of ‘Internet protocol packets’, after the connection is established.
The dial-up Internet connection is also known as a ‘transient connection’. This is because the connection can be terminated by either the ISP or the user. ISPs monitor these connections and control the bandwidth offered.
According to a project named, ‘Pew Internet and American Life Project’ carried out by the Pew Research Center, USA in 2008, around 10% Americans use dial-up connections for accessing the Internet.
The modems that are used with these connections have speeds up to 56 Kbps. Internet content such as ‘streaming media’ tend to load slowly through dial-up connections. Services like video conferencing and online gaming don’t work properly with them. This is due to ‘latency’, a property which delays the transfer of data over the connection.
With the advent of broadband Internet services, the usage of dial-up services has reduced to a great extent. The speed of around 2 Mbps offered by broadband services is the prime reason behind the downfall of the dial-up service. However, many people use the Internet only for the purpose of web browsing and accessing emails. This doesn’t require high bandwidth or speed. Thus, the dial-up service has maintained its viability. Few ISPs have even lowered the rates to as low as USD 5 per month.
After the recession in the year 2009, the demand for dial-up services has risen dramatically. This is because they have become cheaper and cost only around USD 7-8 per month.
Many rural areas don’t have the demand and infrastructure for setting up broadband connections. Some of the high-end services provided on the Internet are not required by customers. The dial-up connections, in such cases serve the purpose of catering to the needs of customers with a tight budget. Thus, it would be appropriate to say that dial-up Internet connections will survive in the market for a long time to come.