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Dial-up internet service works over normal telephone lines. A computer dials a phone number
associated with another computer.  When the connection between the computers is made,
internet access is available but the phone line is in use. This is no different than a person
making a phone call and tying up the phone line. When one of the computers disconnect the
internet connection is lost and the phone line is available again.

To use Dial-up internet, a personal computer must have a piece of hardware called a “Dial-up
modem” installed. These modems can either be internal (built-in or added into the computer),
or external (a device which sits outside the computer but connects to the computer via USB,
serial or another cable). Though most modems sold today are advertised with speeds of 56k (or
56,000 bits per second), the average speeds that can be obtained on an analog signal are
between 36k and 42k, and depending on the telephone lines in the home, some may achieve
slower speeds of 28k. Most people in rural areas, where high speed internet is not available have
dial-up. Some have a second line to keep their voice line free.

  • Click here for more information about dial-up internet.
  • To learn about DSL (Digital Subscribers Line), click here.