Dial-up pertains to a telephone connection in a system of many lines shared by many users. A dial-up connection is established and maintained for a limited time duration. The alternative is a dedicated connection, which is continuously in place. Dial-up lines are sometimes called switched lines and dedicated lines are called nonswitched lines. A dedicated line is often a leased line that is rented from a telephone company.
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A dial-up connection can be initiated manually or automatically by your computer's modem or other device.