Monday, March 26, 2012

Dial-up: Almost obsolete



Eak Raj Bastola

You could be a regular surfer on the net browsing different sites and web portals; an ardent fan of Facebook and other social networking sites, or a regular blogger expressing your emotions and opinions on blog sites. Whatever may be your purpose, in today's living Internet has proven to be an essential part of everyday life.  
These days you just connect the cable and start browsing. You don't need to dial-up, use your username and password (that’s already set in the modem) to surf the World Wide Web (www). And the other aspect of the today's internet connection is DSL or wireless connection which helps you to surf faster than ever. However, it hasn't been long since internet gained its popularity in Nepal. A few years ago, Dial-up technology was the only facility in Nepal for surfing the internet. It is the oldest and most common method of connecting to the Internet.

In a dial-up module, a client uses a modem connected to a computer and a telephone line to dial into an Internet Service Provider’s (ISP) node to establish a modem-to-modem link, which is then routed to the Internet. Then the customers can access to the internet. You can access any service online, such as the World Wide Web (WWW), gopher (TCP/IP application layer protocol designed for distributing, searching and retrieving documents over the Internet), email, archive and FTP. When dial-up service was the only option, gopher was strongly oriented towards a menu-document design, attractive alternative to the WWW in its early stages, but ultimately failed to achieve popularity after broadband started hitting the market.
The speed of dialup-technology varies day to day, country to country. In Nepal, the utmost speed of dialup technology is 56kbps. According to Binay Bohara, President of Internet Service Providers Association of Nepal (ISPAN), "When Nepal Telecom introduced ADSL technology in 2008, most of the dialup users started ADSL service, with the optimum speed of 128 kbps in cheaper rate." The present subscribers of ADSL are more than seventy thousands whereas dialup has only around fifteen thousand users. "The dial-up users have declined by more than 75 percent," Bohara claims, "Currently, Out of 42 ISPs in Nepal, less than 10 ISPs only operate dial-up services."

Initially, most of the service providers in Nepal like Nepal Telecom, Mercantile Communications Private Limited, World link Communications Private Limited, Himalayan Online Services Private Limited, Everest Net Private Limited, Himal Technologies Private Limited including others offered dial-up services. At that time, the clients used internet or subscribed dial-up services to access emails. Clients were basically corporate houses and professionals. With time, problems associated with the dial-up, ranging from limited/slow speed and various other technical glitches drew consumers to other beneficial services.
As the client and time demands, service providers started to upgrade services and started new technology to access internet. After dial-up, cable net, Asymmetric Digital Subscriber lines (ADSL), Wifi and finally Wireless DSL (Digital Subscriber line) have already been the choices of people. The new technologies have upgraded facility with higher speed.
With the introduction of new technologies, people in Nepal are attracted to the speed of internet the new technologies offer. According to the Nepal Telecommunications Authority (NTA), total users of Dialup are 19520, whereas 14,188 are from ISPs and 5332 are from NT. "I changed my dialup internet to DSL as its speed is breathtaking and is cheaper," an internet user, Avishek Dewan shares, "to use dial-up means to be outdated."
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