Modems and Internet access with your Mac

Follow this link to our Mac home page.

Our Mac network page has network hardwar for older Macs, from the "compact" Macs, to Performas and Centris, and Power Macs. We also have there a a Mac modem section which has a variety of modems for dial-up (telephone) access and networking. One of my customers has some note on networking some Macs you might look at. Check my Mac Web pointers list for sites with more info.

Most of my Mac items are sold without docs and software unless specifically noted. My business, simply put, is to provide good hardware at good prices; I don't have time or resources to offer advice and how-to's., not without raising prices to cover my time and effort. Besides, advice and information is "free" from other Web sites: how do I compete with "free"?

But, since I offer modems, I often get email requests as follows below, which I've edited slightly:

*>I am looking for an inexpensive modem to set up my (child, relative) on a
*>(some model) Mac for dialup service to access the Internet and e-mail.
*>I need a compatible, easy to install (not an expert on computers) modem.
*>I live in (city, state, ZIP).

My general response is below. I also have some technical information on this text page.

I have a number of external modems I sell, to provide people with older Macs a simple way to add HARDWARE to access the Web and/or to get email. These days, almost all email access is via a Web browser so in 2002 there is no difference between "email" and "internet access". But I don't offer advice, set up information, or browser software. What I can do is briefly discuss modem selection, the two basic bits of software you need, and then a little info where you might get that software and instructions about it.

For Web access, higher modem speed is generally (but not always) better. A 33.6K baud modem is faster than 9600 baud (baud is like bits per second, it's a measure of information speed). The fastest telephone modem is a 56K modem but those typically cost about $80-$100 new for external modems. (You cannot use Windows PC internal modems because those are cards that fit in those PC's, not old Macs.). I do not stock 56K modems, they are just not available in the used market where I buy my stock. The fastest modems I stock in any quantity as of 2003 are typically US Robotics 28.8K or 33.6K external modems.

Some very old Macs will not benefit from higher speed modems, because they are such SLOW computers that they cannot keep up with those baud rates. A rule of thumb would be that Macs using a 68000 or 68030 processor probably can not support more than a 9600 baud modem. A faster modem could be USED, depending on how the Mac is set up, but you won't get benefits from the higher speed. So we offer slower modems as well. Also, some users want a very specific modem model to replace a failed unit; another reason we offer these slower modems. They are cheaper of course, that may be a factor, and there may be other reasons.

The problem is that I do not offer instructions or advice as to how to set these up on your Mac. I just don't have time or Web space to do that: my resources are devoted to finding, testing, processing orders, and shipping "good hardware at good prices". What I do offer for documentation are copies of modem technical manuals, which describe some programmable features of these modems. Check my modem Web site for what I have currently. But those manuals do not offer how-to-program instructions for your Mac.

For external modems, you need a cable from the modem to your Mac serial port. Typical used external modems from the Windows/PC/Intel world have a DB-25 connector (do NOT confuse this with your Mac SCSI connector!!); your Mac's modem (serial) port has what is called a DIN-8 connector. There are special cables that adapt between these two connectors, they MUST be wired in a specific way. I offer these DIN-8 to DB-25 cables, tested on Macs and modems I sell.

To use a Modem for Web access, you need to 1) set up TCP/IP networking on your Mac; and 2) obtain and set up a Web browser program. Now, TCP/IP comes with most distributions of operating System 7.5.3 and later; earlier operating systems like 7.0, 7.1, 7.3 can have TCP/IP extensions added to them. But System 7.5.3 can be downloaded from at no charge, check their Web site for details. (I don't give a pointer as Apple has a search engine on their site, and they change their site from time to time.)

However, I do not offer Web browser software in general. However you can probably find on the Web (I hope in 2002) some older versions of Web browsers that will be compatible with your model of Mac. A Web browser must be compatible with your Mac and most importantly with your version of Mac operating system. Those sites you will have to find yourself. Use Google and search the Web for "Web browsers Mac System 7" or whatever keywords are reasonable.

It used to be that you could get new books about old Macs, including about how to set them up for Internet access. I have a few old books in my software and books section like "Mac Bible" or "Mac Secrets" that have a 1000 pages about all kinds of Mac features, models and products. However those particular books are not specific on how-to or set up information such as TCP/IP on your Mac.

Also, prior to 2002 there have been some Mac Web sites about how to use modems and how to network to the Internet. You will have to check my list of Web pointers to see what I have in that regard: however I do not maintain that list and it may have obselete links. A Google search on "Mac TCP System 7 set up" may find some useful sites.

Herb Johnson
New Jersey, USA
follow this link to email @ me

Copyright © 2003 Herb Johnson
Most recent revision mar 28 2003