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How to Connect Dial Up Internet

Updated on January 11, 2010
Connecting Dial Up Internet
Connecting Dial Up Internet

Dial Up refers to a way to access the Internet by connecting your computer to a telephone line. The computer has an internal modem that will access the Internet using the phone line similar to making a call. The modem “dials” a phone number that is provided by your Internet service provider and connects to their server and then to the Internet. Dial-up connections to the Internet do not require any other equipment than a modem and the telephone network itself. Because telephone access is available everywhere, dial-up remains an alternative means to access the Internet for people who may not be in an area that offers DSL or Broadband Internet. Many people living in rural or remote areas do not have access to DSL or cable.

The cost:

The cost of dial up Internet is close to what you pay for your phone service. Most providers charge between $25.00 and $30.00 for monthly service and you must use a credit card for billing.


Your monthly charge will be deducted from your credit card on the day set for payment by the company. You may also be offered the option to have your Internet billed on your phone bill. This is possible if you go through your phone company for Internet service. Most people have long distance as part of their phone service package but if you do not you may need to add it to access certain networks.

The Pros and cons of using Dial Up Internet:

The Pros:

  1. Dial Up is very economic and telephone lines are available all over the world.
  2. The cost is much less than broadband.
  3. Dial Up can also be used with laptop computers because they have the same built in modem.
  4. A good alternative when Wi-Fi is not available.

The Cons:

  1. Dial Up is a slower connection than broadband. The download speed is 56 kilobits per second on the average.
  2. Pages may load slowly and it may take several minutes connecting to websites.
  3. Unless you have more than one phone line you will not be able to use your phone while you are connected to the Internet.
  4. May not be able to view streaming videos because the connection is slow.

What you will need to connect your computer to the Internet:

  1. A desktop or laptop computer with a built in modem.
  2. An incoming phone line.
  3. An Internet Service Provider like MSN or Earthlink that offers Dial Up service.
  4. Software from the Internet Service Provider either on a disk or downloaded to the computer.

Steps to connecting your computer to the Internet using Dial Up Internet:

  1. Set up your computer and check to see that it has an internal modem. This will have a port on the back of your computer that looks like a phone jack. On a laptop it may be on the back or on the side. Plug the phone line into the jack located on your computer. This is the only type of connections you will need.
  2. Sign up with an Internet service provider and set up your account. The service provider will send you an installation disk to download the software to your computer. They will provide you with a list of access numbers and a user ID and password to use when you log on.
  3. Click the start button to open the menu. Click on “All Programs”, “Accessories”, “Communications” and the “New Connection Wizard”. Click “next” to continue.
  4. Choose the button that says “Connect to The Internet” and click “next”. Click “set up my connection manually” and click “next”.
  5. Choose “Connect using a dial up modem” and click” next”. You will then be asked to fill in the name of your Internet service provider in the box. Click “next”.
  6. Next you will be asked for the access number complete with area code.
  7. The next page will ask you for the user name and password from your Internet service provider.
  8. Click “next” and you are finished setting up your Internet connection.

You should now see a new icon for your Internet connection on your desktop. Double-click the icon to start the connection and enter the information into the dialer. If you have the call waiting option on your phone line you will need to enter *70 to disable it. Click “connect” and you are now on the Internet. If the dialer fails to connect the first time the line may be busy. Choose another number from the list and try it again.

More consumers are using dial up Internet access in the U.S due to the economy. The cost varies according to service provider but in most cases dial up is cheaper to use for those on a budget than broadband.


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      dpatrick 8 years ago

      Treven, thanks for your comment! The article states "more consumers" not "most consumer". We're implying that there has been an increase in the number of people that have moved to dial up due to the economy. This was also reported in the Orlando Setinel:

    • treven65 profile image

      treven65 8 years ago from London


      Is it true that most of the people in the USA use a dial-up connection??It is hard to beleive???