Do Modems Still Matter?

One of the key ingredients for Web 2.0 success is pervasive high speed internet access. The latest Pew internet report, which tracks broadband growth, was just released:

This is a companion discussion topic for the original blog entry at:

Well, from one perspective, Web 2.0 stuff actually serves dial-up users better than “traditional” (ha) roundtrip-based interactions, since much of the action happens in the browser, and the exchanges with the server can be significantly smaller than full-on page refreshes. No?

Mike: not if the weight of javascript exceeds the quantity of information that’d need to be passed back and forth for a full roundtrip and the execution time of said javascript exceeds about a second (a pretty decent time to fetch a fairly light webpage) or so for the effects of any one click to finish being processed clientside.
Remembering that yonder dialup users also happen to be the people most likely to be using unbearably slow machines and that a lot of Web 2.0 code is written, to be frank, entirely without consideration for the cycles consumed, it’s a fairly close call for most practical purposes.

Test, Test, Test …

Depends on content, and on the percentage of the audience you don’t care about alienating.

Any developer who doesn’t care to at least test their website under dialup speed seems to me to be sort of lazy.

Technopundit: I, for one, cannot help but pledge my undying respect for anyone willing to put one of 'em “This page best viewed in Lynx” buttons on their site. :slight_smile:
And, um, good idea. Mental note when building testing environments to put a machine on the edge, connected to the rest of the network by a slow PPP link over a null modem.

42% of Americans

Yes. Of Americans.

Do Modems Still Matter?

Yes. For me, I always get modem installed in every PC I use… for fax and voice :stuck_out_tongue: Rarely use any dialup service though.

Oh man. At a summer job back in '96 I had to create web pages that had to work in Lynx, as that was the corporate standard for the company. Good times, good times.

I’m with Gustaf Erikson - Mobile Users, GPRS, etc, etc.

Don’t forget mobile users. Even if they have fast data, the small screens and limited UI won’t really use it.

I’m using my mobile phone regularly to read Bloglines on my commute, and although most of the feeds I use are full-text, I sometimes click through to a web page. Most are not mobile-friendly, having a ton of links I have to scroll past to get to the content. If they had been optimised for dial-up and/or mobile, the links should load last.

But that’s by the by. I agree with Ron: if you want the broadest possible reach, include the modem proletariat.

Or do web developers still need to accommodate dial-up users?

Yup, since mobile-device browsing adoption rate is increasing. There’s plenty of dialup-rate HTTP requests coming from cell phones with browsers.

I recently sold my 1997-vintage US Robotics Courier
analog modems on eBay

Wow, what did you get for them? I’ve got a couple of those lying around, I didn’t figure there’d be much of a market. :slight_smile:

I don’t think I said at ANY POINT the government should just ‘give us’ broadband.

I just believe that broadband should be treated like other critical infrastructures and subsidized, similar to our highway system or our phone system. YES, OUR OWN PHONE SYSTEM - check your bill, there hidden among one of those pissant surcharges is a fee to help promote rural telephone access.

I’m saying if some company or state/local government wants to run broadband out to the boonies (or even the suburbs) but find it too expensive up front to invest in it, then the governent should match its funds or subsidize the project.

This is done in MANY other countries, from Australia to S. Korea and it has NOTHING to do with a free handout. It is today’s reality that the internet is a crucial necessity and continuing to treat as some optional luxury that if you can’t afford it, too bad is absurd. We are falling behind on technology compared to the rest of the world, and the lack of affordable broadband for all is one of the main reasons.

Government matching of funds or subsidizing does NOT equal communism or whatever you are inferring, Jay S.

Yes. Millions of propietary devices (ATMs for example) use dial-up - albeit over private networks. Unlikely to change as they only require 9K6 baud or lower to work. The call charges are negligible and a broadband/ISDN line would cost too much compared to an essentially free dial up.

Try living where there is no broadband available… I do.

We have no cable, no DSL, no nothing out here, but at least I can get 49K most of the time. I am patiently awaiting the day when the telco (bellsouth) gets around to replacing several miles of copper trunk cable, with fiber, so that we join the rest of the netizens with broadband goodness.

I know quite a few folks out here who are in a similar situation. There is plenty of old copper that needs to be upgraded before everyone will have an equal ability to get broadband.

Developers, especially web developers, should be required to do at least one QA test of their web site over dial-up. There are all kinds of annoying little things that developers, on ethernet, cable or DSL. will never notice, that those of us on dial-up see regularly. An example: when I load Yahoo Mail, I immediately start typing my username and password… but the last thing the web page does is set focus to the username field… typically when I’m halfway thru typing the password. Other sites don’t have this problem, and I doubt the Yahoo Mail developers have ever seen it (because it loads so fast on other connections). Little things like that are very annoying.

i’m still on dialup, and i don’t think us end-users should be left out of the fun of browsing the internet. Broadband and dsl are still expensive in the country and i wish that sites won’t be too bandwidth heavy:)

I’m in rural Alabama. I don’t expect to have broadband available for at least the nest 10 years.I’m lucky to connect at 28k. VOIP, Streaming video, video clips? you’ve got to be kidding me. All the really cool sites and features are useless to me here. HELP!!!
George Fletcher
Collinsville, AL.

Actually I’m quite glad that people have to code for modems. There are a lot of sites these days that are rediculously slow even over my 2mbit connection.

I shudder to think the flash shockwave masterwrecks I would have to deal with if they didn’t have a common denominator to code for.

I’ll take a fast internet over a flashy one any day.

Modem is a Modulating / Demodulating device. We still use modems with broadband.

56k Dial-up modems are still used for fax, vpn, etc.
This article is lame.

56k modems still matter to me.

Just two weeks ago, my motorola cable broadband modem suddenly died - power failure probably due to overuse heating.

I haven’t been using my USR Courier 56k modem for years but it became really useful to dial up and get on the net to search for a cheap second-hand replacement and save 55%.