Connecting via DialUp Service

Until recently, dial-up was the most common method for an individual to get on to the Internet. Many computers had dial-up modems built into the motherboard or had serial ports where a modem could easily be connected. Many computers today do not include modems, but serial or USB modems can be purchased for just a few dollars if you need to use dial-up.

Once you have a modem (56 Kbps speed is the standard today), the only other equipment you need is a regular telephone line. Essentially, you can use a dial-up modem anywhere you can connect to a phone line. Linux contains the tools you need to configure and complete a dial-up connection. Figure 5-1 shows the setup for the connection.

Serial port

Serial port

Figure 5-1: Connect a modem to a serial or USB port and dial out over regular phone lines.

One difficulty with using modems in Linux is that many computers with built-in modems (especially laptops) come with what are referred to as Winmodems. With Winmodems, some of the processing normally done on the modem is actually implemented within the Windows system. Winmodems don't always look like real modems to Linux systems because, without the code that's inside Windows, they don't behave like real modems when they are connected to Linux systems.

Some Winmodems are supported in Linux, and those are sometimes referred to as Linmodems. If you find that Linux fails to detect your modem, check out the Linmodems Support Page (http://linmodems.technion.ac.il) or the LinModems.org page (http://www.linmodems.org). It can help you determine if you have a Winmodem and, if so, help you find the right Linmodem driver (if one is available).

Tip If you find that you have a Winmodem, you are usually better off getting real modem instead. An inexpensive external serial modem can save you the trouble ' of getting and loading a Linmodem driver that may or may not work. Most external modems or internal PCI modems described as being "controller-based" work well in Linux.

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