When intermittent, low-volume data transfers are needed, modems and analog dialed telephone lines provide low capacity and dedicated switched connections. This topic describes the pros and cons of using analog dialup connection options, and identifies the types of business scenarios that benefit most from this type of option.
Traditional telephony uses a copper cable, called the local loop, to connect the telephone handset in the subscriber premises to the CO. The signal on the local loop during a call is a continuously varying electronic signal that is a translation of the subscriber voice, analog.
Traditional local loops can transport binary computer data through the voice telephone network using a modem. The modem modulates the binary data into an analog signal at the source and demodulates the analog signal to binary data at the destination. The physical characteristics of the local loop and its connection to the PSTN limit the rate of the signal to less than 56 kb/s.
For small businesses, these relatively low-speed dial-up connections are adequate for the exchange of sales figures, prices, routine reports, and e-mail. Using automatic dialup at night or on weekends for large file transfers and data backup can take advantage of lower off-peak tariffs (line charges). Tariffs are based on the distance between the endpoints, time of day, and the duration of the call.
The advantages of modem and analog lines are simplicity, availability, and low implementation cost. The disadvantages are the low data rates and a relatively long connection time. The dedicated circuit has little delay or jitter for point-to-point traffic, but voice or video traffic does not operate adequately at these low bit rates.