How To Choose The Best Dial-Up Internet Provider?
September 7, 2009
Why Choose Dial Up Internet Access?
Dial Up Internet Provider Service is the cheapest ISP 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 personally use both a home based high speed cable ISP and a low cost dial up Internet service for the times I'm away from home.
Advantages of Dial Up Internet
- Inexpensive - Many Nationwide ISP unlimited dial-up Internet service plans 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 ISP's 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 ISP's service in order to access the Internet.
- Disconnections - If your Internet connection is inactive for a period of time most ISP's will disconnect you.
- Ties up Telephone - Your telephone line will be busy while connected without MOH.
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, such as the ones featured on our Cheap Dial Up page 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 manufacturer's web site. Your ISP usually limits the time that you can remain connected "on-hold" to around 5 minutes, after which you will need to redial the ISP to connect to the Internet.
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 computer's modem. Although you should see a immediate improvement in performance, the tradeoff 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. For more information read my article How Dial-Up Internet Accelerators Work?.
How Do I Choose "Best" Dial Up ISP?
I would personally choose a 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 ensure that any prospective dial up ISP provides local dial up numbers for your area. You can compare Low Cost Dial Up Internet Providers and choose one that fulfills your needs.
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Dial Up or High Speed? I don't know...
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