Mobile Broadband vs Dial Up Internet – Eras Compared

Back when the ‘modern’ internet was young, using dial up was the only way a user could connect their computer to the internet. It involved plugging a modem into a computer and then connecting said modem to a telephone line. The modem would change the analog signals from the phone line into digital signals, and the phone line would dial a specific telephone number to enable the user to access the World Wide Web.

In two decades, the internet has transformed into a rapidly expanding digital universe which over 2 billion people use every day. We have since moved on from slow and inconvenient internet connections to lightning fast, digital wireless broadband networks which can be accessed pretty much everywhere in the world. Due to websites, apps and devices becoming more data-hungry every single day, 4G (or LTE) has been introduced to keep up with these demands. This is essentially the fastest mobile network available and although exact speeds depend on location and carrier, it is a far cry from the old traditional internet speeds of dial-up. 

Because the use of internet is commonplace nearly everywhere on the planet, fast internet speeds are vital. The internet connection used must be tough enough to cope with data and image-heavy websites, internet phone calls, video streaming and of course downloading large or multiple files. Back in the 1990s, websites were very basic and only included text, small animations and low resolution images so the high-speed networks we know now were simply not needed.

As a good example of the difference between a traditional dial up connection and a modern 4G network, it would have taken an old connection nearly an hour to download a typical music track, whereas we know it only take a few seconds to do this on today’s connections. Similarly, a website such as Twitter or Facebook, which our 4G internet connections load without a second’s thought today, would easily have taken in excess of 30 seconds to load on an old, analog dial up modem. Google looks very minimalistic, but even that would take the same amount of time to load fully compared with just a few seconds on a phone equipped with 4G. With some of the even more graphic heavy sites like Pinterest or Tumblr, you’d expect to wait around 5 minutes for the homepage to be fully loaded when it only takes about 20 seconds with 4G.

Not only is the connection speed between traditional dial-up and modern 4G vastly different, but the latency (the delay in the transfer of data) was much worse with dial-up. However, as websites were far more basic than the interactive, visually pleasing sites of today, there would have been no use for something like the 4G networks that are readily accessible right now; we rely on the internet for so many reasons in these times, from entertainment to advertising to business. The internet and the technology that enhances our internet user experience has constantly grown and developed and will continue that way year after year.


This article is courtesy of Vividwireless  – a leading Australian provider of 4G and mobile broadband solutions.

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