Things I Miss: Modem handshake sounds


Originally published at:


The fastest modem I owned was a 14.4 (jumped from there to ISDN), so the sound I am nostalgic for is simpler – less bonging and clanging and general weirdness.


I once connected to a modem by voice at 120BPS and proceeded to slowly fill my terminal screen with repeating capital letter Ys. I ran out of breath and the modem disconnected.


I loved the sound and because my 1200 baud modem was only used for calling local BBSes it was an aural reminder that I was connecting to other people.

It helped that I’d see many of those same people almost every Thursday at a Fuddrucker’s where we’d confuse the staff by using our handles instead of our names. I now work across the street from where that Fuddrucker’s was. I watched it become a TGI Friday’s and now it’s empty.

Well, we’ll always have the handshake.


Up through the 14.4k days I could tell you what rate the modem was negotiating, and I’m sure I’m not the only one.

‘Whee ooooo ahhhhh squeeee’ - aha, full speed! Or nooo only 2400 (once 2400 was no longer AWESOME). Can’t do that any more though. I distinctly remember that sequence, but not the speed it goes with.


The person who made that video didn’t have a Courrier Dual Standard on each end of the connection - US Robotics’ V.FC handshaking was very fast, it didn’t do that bouncing around.

That, and OMG, insert a S11=50 and a X6 in the initialization string to speed things up! When your local Pyroto Mountain is at war, you need to be ram-dialing that number as fast as possible (less so if ST:TNG was on).


A healthy reminder of the days when I did tech-support for a local dialup internet company (only about 6 years ago).



Yeah, back when ATT claimed that nobody should be allowed to hard wire to phone lines but them…


I used one of these my sophomore year in college (1991) because the dorm room phone lines were digital, and I couldn’t use a plug-in modem. Also, the handsets had square mouth/earpieces, so I really had to shove them into the acoustic modem receptacles, and be very quiet so as not to disrupt the flow of text on my screen.


Bweeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee-BEEEEEEEEEEEEE-- ccasdsadsfsdfhsdkfhasdhkkkkBONGBONGBONGBONGBONG

56.6k added that ‘bong bong bong’ thing at the end, although maybe it was 28.8…


First thing I’d do after getting a new modem to connect reliably, was to tweak the initialization string to turn off the external speaker.




You get a phone call in a crowded area, and immediately everyone within a certain age range starts shuddering involuntarily…


Damn, i miss monkey dust. The delicate flower that is the bbc these days (except their new surveillance powers for detecting licence fee avoiders) would never make something like that.


Embedding’s been forbidden on that video. Maybe find an alternate?


That might work.


It does. Thanks.



Yeah, I was always amazed at tech-geek types coming to my house, and being amazed that I could could connect without all the bleeping and blooping.

Of course, they were usually the ones who prided themselves on never reading the manual. (-: