Life | Video Games | Pop Culture | 90s

Did You Know There Was Actually A Reason For That Awful Dial Up Sound?

It's a sound none of us can ever forget. One we haven't heard in over a decade but it still is in our minds as if it was just playing. It starts off slow with a few beeps and a couple boops, but then it really gets into it with a loud: "Psssshhccchhhhhhh dingkinnnggchchch dingdong dingdong" and then it's over and you are connected to the internet.

Dial-up modems were the best we had for a while, and while you may not remember the frustration that came along with them, there were a lot of problems.

Now, anytime you want to Google something you are no more than half a second away from your answer. In the 90s, we had to use some search website that was not only less efficient, but it took forever just to load that page.

We had no idea how good internet was going to become, but we knew one thing: The noise it made while it was connecting was super weird.

Why did it make that sound at all? Well, apparently there was actually a very good reason.

The reason has to do with how the modern technology was interacting with the limits of the analogue systems. As you all remember so fondly, dial-up ran through your phone line, so it would need to essentially work its way into the network.

The clear and distinct different sounds you hear while it's connecting are different parts of what they call "the handshake".

It starts by dialing, and then the firsts set of noises you hear are actually letting you know the speed your modem can go. According to a very old website about the internet, "Depending on the speed the modem is trying to talk at, this tone will have a different pitch."

Then it continues on to get some more parameters before getting the actual connection speed and then finally, after what feels like a million years later, you are connected.

For something we all make fun of so often, it's weird that so few people actually know what it all means.

Just in case you needed a refresher, or you were lucky enough to have skipped this era, this is what the internet used to sound like.

Share if you had dial-up internet growing up!