Nick DeNardis

User experience, code, higher education, analytics and accessibility.

[Review] DialinFree - MI Free Dial Up Internet Service

dialinfree-logoEvery year we go upnorth (opens new window) for New Years and with a bunch of friends in the summer for vacation. One thing that is lacking is an internet connection, being wired is essential.

In the past we have had the luxury of using free dial up service through Wayne State University (opens new window) and MichNet (opens new window). MichNet unfortunately discontinued the service two years ago. Last year I just signed up with NetZero (opens new window). It worked but was kinda clunky, they are a needy ISP (requires software and ad bar) and eventually would not leave me alone for quitting. The connection speed was not too hot either, sometimes dropping down to 14.4 KB/sec.

This year I went out to find a free service and stumbled upon (opens new window) which claims to be "Michigan's only free unlimited dialup service!" They also don't ask for anything besides an email address and a zip code. Asking around online I could not confirm if the service was legit. So I decided to give them a try and let you know my experience in hopes to demistify the DialinFree service.

# First Time Use

The first time connection it was super simple, just put in the phone number, email and password into the regular connection screens on OS X, there is no need to install additional software. It dialed up, got the great connection noise and we were off and running.

google-ping (opens new window)Just as a test I decided to pint Google to see how fast the response was. Not too bad, No lost packets and 226 ms avg connection time.

download-rate (opens new window)

Next I wanted to checkout the download rate so I began downloading a medium sized PDF and the download topped out at 5.5 KB/sec. Not too bad for dial up.

# Issues

So after being connected for a few hours the first two days (I think we were online for 7+ hours) the third day connecting we ran into an issue. It would dial, connect and get stuck on the Authentication. After about 2 minutes of waiting it would just disconnect.

hungup (opens new window)But after waiting an hour it started working again. We did get the error randomly after that but we could just try it again and it would work. Not sure why it was happening but it seemed to be on there end.

# Overall

If you are looking for a truly free dial up internet service without a hassle in Michigan this is the one for you. They don't require any special software, no credit card information or even personal information. They do ask that you use their homepage (opens new window) and run your Google searches through them when connected but it is not a requirement.

By far this is the best dial up service I have used next to MichNet. It was fast (although you are still on dial up), they have a ton of access numbers and they did not require ANY personal information to start up. It never disconnected us and the only issue was at initial connection as mentioned above.

They also have a spot where you can donate money (opens new window) to keep the service alive. I recommend even if you use the service just once to compensate them for your use, keep this service alive and others will thank you.