Dial-up networking technology allows PCs and other network devices to connect to remote networks over standard telephone lines. When the World Wide Web exploded in popularity during the 1990s, dial-up was the most common form of internet service available, but much faster broadband internet services have almost completely replaced it today.
Getting online via dial-up works the same today as it did during those early days of the web. A household subscribes to a service plan with a dial-up internet provider, connects a dial-up modem to their home telephone line, and calls a public access number to make an online connection. The home modem calls another modem belonging to the provider (making a distinctive range of sounds in the process). After the two modems have negotiated mutually compatible settings, the connection is made, and the two modems continue exchanging network traffic until one or the other disconnects.
Sharing dial-up internet service among multiple devices inside the home network can be achieved via several methods. Note that modern broadband routers do not support dial-up connection sharing, however.
Unlike fixed broadband internet services, a dial-up subscription can be used from any location where public access phones are available. EarthLink dial-up onternet, for example, provides several thousand access numbers covering the United States and North America.