re: I Am an Internet Urban Legend From the 90s, Ask Me Anything! VIEW POST


Hey Greg,

Being a millennial it is sometimes tough to understand the whole concept of how a internet connection was established (the use of dial-ups, gprs based connections) and how they contrast to maybe the new ways in which we use the internet these days (FFTH, High Speed Broadband .etc)

I have had some experience on this being born in a technology lovers' home, but would love to know how the system worked and how you used to work on such systems?

P.S: My father would actually love to share a conversation with you because you both seem to have pretty similar experiences :) .


In the mid-80s I ran a BBS on my dad's fax line (after business hours) with a Commodore 64 and a 300bps modem that could accommodate one user at a time. I got a 1200bps modem for my Mac and accessed some BBS systems in the late 80s.

I was mostly offline during the early 90s until a friend gave me a 14.4 Kbps modem in 1994. My dad had been using Prodigy for years, but I wanted real internet access and got a shell account via Netcom. That graduated to EarthLink for PTP access and a 28.8 modem in 1995.

What a lot of people don't know is that a plain telephone line had an upper limit of 64Kbps, and because of required overhead, the 56 6K modems were as good as it got.

Faster broadband like ISDN and T1 were achieved by binding multiple T-zero (regular lines) together.

Never got either of those. And it was fun to be living in Los Angeles near Burbank, where some of the first cable systems had been wired, watching my dad in an area that had just been wired for cable like 15 years earlier get a high speed cable modem while I was stuck on dial up.

When I went to work for IMDb, I had a dedicated fax and data line in addition to a voice line. Finally got an always on connection a few months after joining IMDb. 384/128K ADSL in my apartment home office (I worked remote my first 14 months).

Got gig speed service a few months ago, making my current service about 2,500 times faster than my first always-on broadband service 20 years ago.

I've had always-on broadband in my home pretty consistently for 20 years... Except during the time Excite@Home went bankrupt and the customers of the co-branded Comcast@Home service got disconnected while Comcast scrambled to get service going again. I think I was back on dialup for close to 2 months.

All of that was wired until I bought my first WiFi router in mid-2003.

My children have never known a home without WiFi.

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