Updated: 12/10/2023 by Computer Hope
External computer modem

A dial-up is a connection that's established using a modem. To make the dial-up connection, the modem must connect to an active phone line that is not in use. When connecting, the modem picks up the phone and dials a number that's attached to another computer. After the connection is made the computer can check e-mail, browse the Internet, and share files.


Dial-up was featured as a top term of 1994.

What does a dial-up connection sound like?

If you did not grow up on a dial-up Modem or you're nostalgic, you can listen to a Modem connecting to the Internet in the below sound file. Each time someone wanted to connect to the Internet this is the noise their Modem would make.

Dial-up history

The first dial-up connection was made in 1965 by Lawrence G. Roberts at MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) with a TX-2 computer and Tom Marill with a Q-32 at SDC in California.

The dial-up connection today

Today, with multimedia and bigger web pages on the Internet most users have an unenjoyable time browsing the Internet using a dial-up connection and try to use other options. Most users who have the available option use some form of broadband connection, which allows a much faster download and upload.

Broadband, Dial-up network, Internet terms, Modem, Modem terms, Telephone