This Cool Image Explains The Weird Noises Your Dial-Up Modem Used To Make

This Cool Image Explains The Weird Noises Your Dial-Up Modem Used To Make

It’s like a dog whistle. It’s emblazoned on my brain. You all know what I’m talking about. Unless you’re way too young and you’re intent on making me feel way too old. I’m talking, of course, about the noises your dial-up modem made when hooking up to the internet back when the internet was this terrifying thing we used to ‘surf’.

The above massive image attempts to visualise every aspect of that modem noise, and also does a great job of explaining precisely what every blip and bloop meant, what it represented. I just love it.

Oona Räisänen does her level best to explain, but really you should just click on the image itself…

When humans talk, only one of them is usually talking while the other one listens. The telephone network exploits this fact and temporarily silences the return channel to suppress any confusing echoes of the talker’s own voice.

Modems don’t like this at all, as they can very well talk at the same time (it’s called full-duplex). The answering modem now puts on a special answer tone that will disable any echo suppression circuits on the line. The tone also has periodic “snaps” (180° phase transitions) that aim to disable yet another type of circuit called echo canceller.

Now the modems will list their supported modulation modes and try to find one that both know. They also probe the line with test tones to see how it responds to tones of different frequencies, and how much it attenuates the signal. They exchange their test results and decide a speed that is suitable for the line.

Be right back. Currently rocking in a nostalgic fetal ball.

The sound of the dialup, pictured [Absorbtions]

Via Gizmodo


    • Loved calling up older relatives with my modem – you could actually hear their confused voices as the computer dinged at them…
      Except now I’m one of those old people 🙁

  • The good ol’ days of spending hours on the fastest internet back in the day and tying up your phone line for 4 hour blocks and the unlucky ones who had call waiting on their phones the annoying process of redailing because somebody decided to give you a call

  • Haha so much nostalgia. I still remember going to my Aunties house just to use the net, wanting to find cheat codes and hoping the modem would connect at 44kbps. It would take almost an hour just to dowload a 4mb song. Now in that time I can use my phone as a hotspot and D/L more than 1GB in that time. Tech progresses so fast!

    And songs download in mere seconds. I once downloaded a 128mb game demo on dialup, it took 13hours and I prayed no one would call us and disconnect the line lol.

  • beep, beep, beep, beep, beep, beep, ksssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssshhhhhhhhhhhhhhh kssssshhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh beep

    • Thumbs down more like it, Thumbs up if you just remembered the sound in your head upon reading the title. We don’t need your fancy fang-dangled you tubes telling us what a modem sounds like, we lived it every day and every night.

  • Noises they used to make? Mine still makes all of that noise. Well not when I have it muted at least… Oh the wonders of technology. 😀

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