Tips for Buying a Dial-up Modem

July 1, 2009 at 11:52 am (Dial up) (, , , , , )

If you are planning to buy a new dial-up modem, you may feel a little overwhelmed at the large variety of modems available. You could just have a technician install a modem for you, and while this would certainly be the easiest route, it’s definitely more expensive. These tips will help you buy a modem that best suits your Internet services and make you a little more knowledgeable about modems in general.

Don’t buy a used modem. First of all, there’s no way to know if its actually going to work, and secondly, it could be missing installation instructions or a necessary driver software CD. Also, if the modem doesn’t work or is not compatible, it would be too much trouble to return it. A new modem may be more expensive, but you have more assurance that it has the latest technology and is less likely to malfunction any time soon.

Be sure it’s actually a dial-up modem. Nearly all types of Internet services require that you have a modem, but there’s a big difference between them. If you buy anything that is not a dial-up modem, it’s not going to connect to dial-up. Most modems will have “Dial-up” “Cable” or “DSL” in their name, but if you don’t know for sure, check the description before you grab it off the shelf.

Be sure it’s compatible to your computer. What version of Windows do you have on your computer? Or do you have a Mac computer? Is it a desktop or a laptop? Make sure you will be able to install the modem on the computer. You can buy external modems that are compatible with nearly all computers. They may be more expensive, but very helpful if you need the modem for more than one computer.

Consider your installation procedure. Is it an external or internal modem? If you have a laptop, installing a modem inside it would be very difficult. Even on a desktop, installing an internal modem would not be recommended for novice computer users. An external modem is simple to install, and only requires you to plug in the modem to a USB port on the outside of the computer, and maybe run a CD. Even a beginner can install an external modem. Also, an external modem can easily be moved if you switch computers frequently or use dial-up while traveling (e.g., college students who make weekend and holiday trips home can take their modem with them). 

Consider extra features. Some cheaper modems may not have the features you need for your dial-up plan. For example, if you want to add an Internet Call-waiting feature to your dial-up plan, you must first have a V.92 modem. You may want to have a V.92 modem anyway because it has the latest technology that could nearly double your Internet connection speed.

Consider the cost. There may still be some brands that offer the same features, but cost less than others. If they all have the features you need, save money and get the less expensive modem! You may also find that some stores have the same product for a cheaper price than others. Of course, the Internet is a very popular place to find the latest gadgets at a great price. If you decide to buy online, be sure to consider shipping time and costs, and check the company’s return policy.


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