Many people still use computers that came with a dial-up modem and may well be sitting on a ticking time bomb. Though they’ve moved on to better and faster Internet from cable, DSL, or satellite they never disconnected or removed their modems. Here are reasons why they should be in most cases.
The transition to high speed internet didn’t happen over night, but was more like taking the first plunge of a summer swim. We typically dipped our toes in carefully deciding if we like the temperature of this new internet access that was going to be replacing our tried and true, albeit slow, internet we had grown accustomed to.
Most high speed providers initially included dial up service as a backup in case the main service went down, or so you could have access when you traveled. Since then WiFi hot spots have become widely available and largely free making even that need obsolete. Though most of us no longer use or need dial up, many computers are still attached to phone lines.
Phone lines pose a danger to your computer as they are a great conduit for surges and lightening that can cause significant damage to your computer. Most people don’t realize that a lightening strike even two miles away can produce a significant surge on your phone line, enough to burnout the modem. Other mishaps like a car crash into a power pole or a tree limb onto power lines can short with the phone lines causing a damaging spike.
If you had your home phone service disconnected years ago, you are still at risk. Unless you specifically requested the phone company to remove their network box and all lines to your premises, they are still physically connected to the phone network providing basic 911 dial up service to your home. As long as there is a connection, there is danger to your computer.
Once you’ve determined that you no longer need or have dial up access, you should remove the phone lines from your computer modem. If you do any cleaning or have the computer serviced, you might consider having the modem removed from the computer all together. In general, having a modem in the computer isn’t harmful, however all things go bad, and having one less thing that can go wrong in your computer can’t hurt either.
Like any electronic device in your computer, when a modem goes bad, it can take other things with it, including the motherboard. Since that is the heart of your system, you can quickly find yourself with a large repair bill or replacing the computer all together. So unless you have a real need for a modem, you can see how in many cases, they can be more trouble than their worth.