NCSU retires the dial-up access Modem pool

Not everyone remembers using dial-up networking to get on the Internet. This is more true for people who started using the Internet, in general, around the last 6-7 years. I used a dial-up connection to get online up until Fall 2002, which was when I finally got a 3Mbps cable connection.

Hence, after reading the announcement by the NCSU IT Department that they were retiring all their RAS modems, I was compelled to reminisce my first few days as a grad student. I ran Linux on my cheap hand-me-down desktop PC, and that meant (at least back then) that I couldn’t use AOL or any other dial-up service with the operating system without using some kind of a “hack”. Then, I discovered that NCSU had a pool of fast, albeit insufficient, modems that could be used for free off-campus network access provided you had an active campus ID.

The TCP/IP modems were pretty hard to dial into, considering that they were insufficient in number, and that most TCP/IP sessions are expected to last long. The shell access modems, on the other hand were always available. For those unfamiliar with shell access, it was basically a *NIX shell modified to fit the needs of remote dial-up users without providing them the capability of forwarding, or even running, any X server apps. You could still browse the net all you wanted using a text based browser like Lynx.

RIP, NCSU Dial-up RAS!

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