Dial Up Over Discord

Some hacks are useful and some are just… well… for the fun of it, and we can appreciate that. Take, for example, [Cool Blog’s] recent experiments with dialup networking. If you think about it, the BBS systems of yesterday have been replaced with more modern tools like Discord. So why not run modems using audio chat over Discord and get the best of both worlds?

This was both easier and harder than we would have expected. The first hurdle was the lack of any actual modems. Luckily, there are software modem emulators like minimodem that makes a PC soundcard work like a modem. It supports some basic protocols, and that’s probably a good thing since the digital audio channel is probably unable to support anything too sophisticated.

Using some crude audio routing 300 baud data did flow. Increasing the baud rate all the way to 2,100 worked reliably. Combining some more sophisticated audio flows and managing sockets with systemd made the process easier. The goal was to, eventually, telnet over the link but that never worked. We would guess that it could work if you spent enough time.

But the proof is in the pudding, and the basic idea works. Why do it? We can’t think of a good reason. But if you want to give it a shot, you can find what you need on GitHub.

Hams still use modems. While we tend to have a soft spot for retrocomputing gear, we don’t miss acoustic couplers at all.