You didn't tell us what speed you are presently connecting at. Before I got DSL, I regularly connected at about 40 kbps. The max on most modems is 56 kbps.
There are really 2 speeds at issue. Upload and download speeds and they are different. Most people are interested in download speed, which can be throttled back by the server. So even though your icon says 56k, your actual download speed may only be 26 or 28. Then, the sending server may be slow, too.
In the past I have used the tools at www.pcpitstop.com
to test both of these speeds.
These are probably covered in the articles Understudy posted, but here are some things that you can do to make internet pages load faster:
Try switching to another browser: Opera is reported to be faster. Internet explorer is slow. Firefox is what I use.
- set your security to high will eliminate ads and reduce page loading time
I lived with dial-up until last year. So it can be done.