Harken back to the late 1990s with this re-creation of the dialup Internet experience

By | January 15, 2022


A demonstration of the late 1990s dialup experience using nearly period-accurate hardware, connecting to modern websites using outdated browsers over a 31.2kbit/s dialup connection. Be forewarned: page loads are in real time.

We all found our coping strategies for riding out the pandemic in 2020. Biomedical engineer Gough Liu likes to tinker with tech—particularly vintage tech—and decided he’d try to recreate what it was like to connect to the Internet via dialup back in the late 1990s. He recorded the entire process in agonizing real time, dotted with occasional commentary.

Those of a certain age (ahem) well remember what it used to be like: even just booting up the computer required patience, particularly in the earlier part of the decade, when one could shower and make coffee in the time it took to boot up one’s computer from a floppy disk. One needed a dedicated phone line for the Internet connection, because otherwise an incoming call could disrupt the connection, forcing one to repeat the whole dialup process all over again. Browsing the web was equally time-consuming back in the salad days of Netscape and Microsoft Explorer.

So much has changed since then, as the Internet has gone from a curiosity to a necessity, reshaping our culture in the process. As Liu noted on his blog:

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