Tips for dial-up internet use

I just bought my first computer in a while, and I signed up to have the fastest DSL that AT&T was ready to rock my world with.

Turns out, they don’t offer it in my area, but Verizon does. I called Verizon, and the switchboard, three houses down from me that runs the whole town, is full and can’t accept any new users at this time.

I am having to use dial up through Copper Dial-up. Its super cheap, but this computer didn’t have a modem. I went to eBay and bought a floppy looking USB V92 56k modem that the phone line will pop into.

What am I going to be able to do on the internet, and how do I need to adjust my browsing habits to help with it? I am going to be using Windows 7/Ubuntu and Firefox as the browser.

Thanks for any advice you can give me.

I’m stuck with dial up too. It sucks. No mmorgs, and watching video is frustrating. Even a short, like sixty second video clip, takes approximately forever and a day to download. Downloading anything takes forever.

Message boards like the Dope–ie, without fancy graphics–work reasonably well.

So doing anything that streams video or music, like Pandora, is going to be out?

Well…I have been able to use some kind of streaming audio that worked ok. Mostly two person interviews, and I’m not sure what technology is involved, but if I go to a certain website, I can click on the links and hear the interviews most of the time. Sometimes I have to pause it and let it download a bit before resuming. Other than that, I can watch youtube if I pick one video, start it to downloading, then (depending on length) go do something else for 15-30 minutes.

Oh man that is the suck.

I was able to stream music when I was on dialup and still managed to surf about half as fast as when I was not. Some websites might offer lower-bitrate options if your connection is slow, too (and the ~10k/s option was just as good as a fairly good radio connection). Didn’t use Pandora then so I don’t know if that’s a bandwidth hog or not.

Streaming video’s right out though :slight_smile:

Yeah, it really is the suck. Kicking myself now for buying the house without checking on the available internet options. I’ve thought about trying Hughes Net satellite internet, but from what I’ve found googling it, the service doesn’t work well for gaming.

What makes it worse is at least once a month, I get advertising mailers from Comcast and AT&T, offering high speed internet. Every month I foolishly get my hopes up and call the number, only to be disappointed. Again. I’m told it takes a $30K piece of equipment for AT&T to expand their coverage area, they only get 2-3 such devices per year, and my area is low on the priority list. :frowning:

I’m getting DSL tomorrow. :smiley:

Use a browser that has tabs, load a site in one tab to load while working in another.

Some sites will be unusable, too many video ads, scripts, who knows what else but they will freeze and never finish loading.

Accept that much of the internet is inaccessible.

Verizon told me to keep calling every two weeks, because someone was bound not to pay their bill and I could grab their seat. He seemed pretty confident.

Is FireFox the best browser to use, or is there another that is better at isolating little bandwith hogging advertisments?

I am not a browser loyalist, I just wanna use what would work best. I am probably pretty sure it isn’t IE.

Looks like it is time for you to move. :frowning:

I don’t know what I’d do without high speed internet.

I’m not sure if Firefox is the best browser to use but it’s the one I’d pick. With Noscript and Adblock Plus, you should be able to filter out a lot of things you would otherwise have to download. You know, banners and flash videos and advertisements and stuff.

Just to mention some other options to check, cellular, satellite, fixed point wireless (goes under different names), or see if you can share a neighbors account wirelessly (or wired) till DSL or other option opens up.

Some firefox tweaks

I used to play Everquest on dial-up. Heck, I played a bard (lots of button pressing which need decent response times to ‘twist’ your songs) on a 33.3 connection. The major pain came from downloading patches. Played City of Heroes on a 56k as well without too much trouble. I can’t speak for the newer MMORPGs.

Most of the graphics and zone data was stored client side so it wasn’t a huge deal. Again, the main barrier is downloading patches, especially to start a new game and be hit with several gigabytes.

I tried CoH, and the lag was just unbearable. Really miss that and WoW. :frowning:

You could look for mobile versions of popular websites, intended for mobile devices with internet capability, but I think they usually work on a computer too. For instance, the mobile Wikipedia site is here. This works for me on my notebook, with my white-hot-fast fi-os connection at home. On the other hand, when I try to use the mobile version of Der Spiegel I am forced into the standard website. There may be a way to configure Firefox to prevent that from happening, but I don’t know enough about it. Or it may be that if my connection were slower, it would let me use the mobile site. There’s no universal standard for mobile website URLs, but usually there’s an “m.” or “mobile.” somewhere in the URL, usually in place of the “www.”.

I’m not terribly optimistic given what you’ve told us about your location, but have you looked into mobile phone based wifi? It can be a bit pricey, like $50 a month, but if you happen to have good mobile connectivity, i.e. at least four bars, it can be almost as good as DSL. Plus, you can use it anywhere your mobile provider’s signal strength is decent. I used to have Verizon wireless broadband in my old apartment, where I also had DSL, and I honestly couldn’t tell the difference.

I am not 100% sure of this, but I do not think think Adblock (and probably similar things like Flashblock and NoScript) will help you very much. I believe the ads, scripts etc. are still downloaded, although they are not displayed or run. This is deliberate, so as not to tip off the advertisers about what is going on.


Have you considered wireless internet? I have Alltel wireless. It runs $61.26/month. Yeah, it’s more expensive than DSL, but it’s nationwide. Although it’s not as fast as cable or DSL, I just did a bandwitdth test and it came in at 1415kbps download and 412 kbps upload. However, the speed does vary according to the time of day. I assume that’s due to number of active users. Usually streaming video/audio performs acceptably. Sometimes not.

I plugged in the zip, 75424, and see Alltel is not available. Alltel refers you to Verizon. Verizon has a 5Gig monthly limit while Alltel has unlimited usage. I find my usage usually runs about 5.5 Gigs—just enough to have to pay overage charges with Verizon.

Prior to having Alltel Wireless, I had WildBlue satellite internet. It ran about $80/month. Anytime a storm came you could pretty much be assured that the internet would be unavailable (not the case with my current wireless). It also has a monthly limit but it’s much more generous, 17Gig download; I believe.

If you can’t get DSL, I hope you can find some alternative to dial-up. Good luck.

TD, do you not have access to cable TV?

I’d try using Opera, with images disabled. The images are what really sucks up the bandwidth. Even then Flash ads are going to try and get through, look for a way to block Flash.

Oh, and if you get Verizon call phone service you may be able to get Verizon Mobile Broadband. It’s $60 a month and limited to 5GB of transfers per month, but it’s WAY better than dial-up. You should be able to get a USB interface device that will work in a desktop or laptop PC.