Getting online with Dial-up Modems

Internet Emergency!

Broadband went down? Traveling with no access? Sometimes ermergencies happen and you need to get online but you don't know how. All computers and laptops used to come with built-in dialup modems, they may not anymore but that doesnt mean you can't get one as a backup for internet access. Here are the basics of how to be prepared in case you are the one in need.

Getting a Dial-up Modem

Desktop with no telephone jackFirst check your system to see if a dialup modem is already installed. An easy way to check is to see if there is a telephone line port on the back of your desktop or on the back or side of your laptop. These typically are situated next to the ethernet or LAN port. Newer systems may only have an Ethernet port, such as the ones shown here.

Laptop with no telephone jack

  • If you have a telephone line jack, you have a dialup modem installed! Check your system to see what software may already be installed and to verify that it is installed correctly.
  • No telephone jack? You'll want to determine what kind of modem you will need: Controller, Controllerless or Softmodem, Internal or External. Once you've made those decisions you can then choose a modem that is right for you.

Finding Dial-up Access

In order to get online using a dialup modem, you need to find an Internet Service Provider (ISP). If you already have broadband service, you should be able to contact them directly and inquire about alternate dialup options. There may be additional fees for this service, but it can usually be turned on and off as needed. If you are in need of a new provider, there are many available. Some of the more popular ISPs include, but are not limited to, NetZero, PeoplePC, and EarthLink.

Using Dial-up Access

Once an ISP has been found and an account has been set up, the ISP usually provides software to connect you to the Internet. This software typcially will have built in phone numbers to dial based on your area, but typically also allows you to choose if you are traveling and away from home.

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