Friday, 04 July, 2003

Disadvantages of dialup

While I was in Arkansas, my only Internet access was through my brother's Arkansas.net dialup account.  I never encountered a busy signal, and the connection was usually at 50,667 bps–apparently a good connection speed for dialup access.  I only encountered two problems:

Something—either the ISP or some software—would disconnect me without warning if I didn't refresh a Web page every 15 minutes or so.  This normally wouldn't be a problem since very few Web pages take more than a few minutes to read, and even then I wouldn't mind having to reconnect after taking that long to read a page.  But the silly thing would disconnect me even if I was chatting over Yahoo.  Now what's that all about?  I started setting a 10-minute timer and refreshing a Web page whenever it went off.

The other problem is Web sites.  They're too big.  Yahoo, CNN, MSNBC, Slashdot, and many other popular pages are way too big for dialup access.  And yet, dialup users make up a majority of users on the Internet.  I'd sure like to see Web site designers make pages for people who access them, rather than for the people who have local Ethernet connections.  (I'm one to talk.  It looks like this page would take 30 seconds to come down at 56K bps.)