People are making dial-up noises on Tumblr to honour the internet's 56K past

A Tumblr dedicated to crowdsourcing videos of people making dial-up internet noises proves that '90s kids will never forget the sound of going online with a 56K modem.

People making dial-up noises show the teens of Tumblr what going online sounded like in the era of 56K modems

A Tumblr dedicated to crowdsourcing videos of people making dial-up internet noises proves that '90s kids will never forget the sound of going online with a 56K modem. (

Kids today don't know how easy they have it.

When the 29-year-old author of this piece was 10, she had to connect to the internet through a landline, using a 56K modem on her family computer, scrolling uphill, both ways, with no shoes on, in the bitter cold.

And it was loud.

Those of us who remember what dial-up internet sounds like will never forget the distinct sequence of clicks, tones and screeches that signaled logging on in the '90s.

As much a part of the online experience back then as screaming at our siblings for picking up the phone and killing our connection, classic modem noises have been seared into much of the millennial generation's memory — for better or for worse. 

Evidence of this can be found all over the web in the form of ringtones, Reddit threads, editorials, infographicsforum postsdedicated websites, novelty products and YouTube videos (like this one, which has been viewed more than 3.8 million times.)

In the latest iteration of this modem noise meme, nostalgic Tumblr users are actually singing out the "song" of dial-up internet on camera for others to enjoy.

"People Making Dial Up Noise" is exactly what it sounds like — a Tumblr filled with videos of people making the dial-up noise as they remember it.

The moderator of the blog has not revealed him or herself, but readers are encouraged to submit their own videos through Vine, Instagram, Facebook or email. So far, about 20 people have done so since the Tumblr was created last month.

Many of those who've submitted videos appear to be of the generation that first connected to the web through 56K (or even 14.4K) modem screams, yet, as the Daily Dot noted, dial-up isn't a distant memory for everybody.

"One of the stranger revelations of Verizon's $4.4 billion acquisition of AOL... is that 2.2 million of the latter's customers still use dial-up modems to get online," wrote Miles Klee. "Anyone with a working memory of the 1990s will recall that, although these devices changed the world and ushered in the Internet Age, they were slow, unreliable, and noisy."  

You can watch people recreating the noise right here if you're so inclined, and then share your own memories of dial-up internet sounds with us in the comment section below.


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Member

Join the conversation  Create account

Already have an account?