I don't know anything about Novell
Netzero uses proprietary software to dial, don't they? We're using the old Juno dialer software (long story) and it doesn't work very well in Linux. Sometimes it won't connect, sometimes it does connect but the speed is horrible and we get booted off in 20 minutes. Sometimes I've been able to stay online for an hour or so, don't know why.
Anyways, first thing to do is find a Linux-compatible ISP like Copper.net, BasicISP, ISP.com, etc. Any ISP that doesn't use any proprietary software to allow you access.
I've been keeping a dial-up diary
over at Ubuntu Forums. It might give you some ideas.
I use a serial hardware modem (USR 5686's) to go online with Linux.
in terminal. I think that command should show you something about your modem.
Are you an experienced Linux user? I'm curious about why you're using a Linux distro that's not more popular. Novell may be a super distro for all I know but the fewer people who use your weapon of choice, the less likely you're going to get fairly specific help if you know what I mean.