There are four main factors to look for when shopping for dialup Internet access:
Local or toll free access numbers:
Typically, you access the Internet by dialing your ISP over the phone line, so you want to make sure it's a free call. Don't assume it's free just because the ISP is located in your area code, check with the phone company to make sure the exchange is in your local calling area. Ideally, your ISP will offer a choice of phone numbers, so if one is busy, you can try another. If you travel a lot and need to connect while on the road, you'll want to choose an ISP that has dialup numbers in areas where you're likely to be.
Price (monthly rate):
The going rate for unlimited Internet connect time ranges from about $6 to $25 per month, depending on your location. You can pay less if you know you're only going to spend a short time on the Internet, look for services that offer a low price for limited connection time. Never pay in advance until you check out the service for few months.
Service and support :
Many ISPs supply software that automatically configures your computer to work with their service. If not, you just need to get the necessary information from your ISP and enter it into the configuration software that comes with your computer, a task that isn't too difficult. Either way, expect a good ISP to supply clear access information that a nontechnical person can use. In addition, look for an ISP with a 24/7 technical support line and a local or toll free number.
Speed and capability :
Make sure your service has enough choices, so you can be confident of connecting at your modem's best speed.
Once you've identified some ISP, call their local access numbers during peak and off peak times to see if you get a busy signal. Also call their technical support lines a few times to see how easy it is to get through, if you get busy signals or wait a long time for a service representative, the ISP might not devote enough resources to its customer service department.
Dial-up Internet access
Dial-up Internet access is a form of Internet access via telephone lines. The user's computer or router uses an attached modem connected to a telephone line to dial into an Internet service provider's (ISP) node to establish a modem-to-modem link, which is then used to route Internet Protocol packets between the user's equipment and hosts on the Internet.
The term was coined during the early days of computer telecommunications when modems were needed to connect dumb terminals or computers running terminal emulator software to mainframes, minicomputers, online services and bulletin board systems via a telephone line.