Step By Step Home Wiring Setup
One way to use VOiP service on
multiple phones is to modify the existing telephone wiring in your
home to distribute the VOiP service to all of your phone jacks. Then
you can plug a regular telephone into any jack and make a call.
This option works best if you
own your own single-family home. If you live in an apartment or a
multiple-family dwelling, chances are your landlord and neighbors
won't want you to mess with your building's telephone lines. It also
helps if you are handy around the house and have a basic
understanding of telephone wiring. It's not very difficult to modify
your home phone wiring, but because you're dealing with lines that
carry voltage, there's always a risk of causing a fire or damage to
your phone lines and equipment. If you're not comfortable doing the
work yourself, you should hire a professional electrician or
telephone technician to do the job instead.
It's important to note that by
modifying your telephone wiring to distribute VOiP service
throughout your home, you'll be totally disconnecting yourself from
the phone company. But the process is completely reversible. So if
you sell your house in the future, for example, you can restore your
old phone configuration with minimal difficulty.
STEP ONE - ISOLATE YOUR
To re-wire your home for
VOiP service, you first need to isolate your inside phone wiring
from the lines that come into your house from the phone company.
This is a step you shouldn't skip, even if you think your phone
line is already dead. If you don't isolate your inside wiring,
and the phone company decides to send voltage across the line
you thought was dead, it could damage the telephone equipment
inside your house or worse, cause a fire.
To begin, find the box on
the outside of your house where the telephone lines come into
your house from the street. This is called the Network Interface
Unit (NIU). It's the legal demarcation point where the outside
wiring from the street (owned by the telephone company) meets
the wiring inside your house (owned by you). When you open the
box, which is usually locked or fastened with a screw, you will
have access to the side containing the wires going into your
home, but not the side with the lines coming from the street.
You'll also see a ground wire coming out of the phone company's
side of the box. This wire protects you against lightning
strikes, so make sure you never disconnect it.
Once you've opened your
side of the NIU, you'll see one or more sets of screw terminals
inside. Each will have a short piece of telephone wire coming
out of it with a phone connector on the end plugged into a
corresponding jack. If there's only one line coming into your
house, you'll most likely have only one set of screw terminals.
To disconnect from the phone company, simply unplug each of the
short telephone wires from its corresponding jack.
Next, you need to make it
obvious to others that you've unplugged the wires on purpose and
they shouldn't undo your modifications without risking damage to
your inside equipment. Start by wrapping the end of each of the
telephone wires you just unplugged with electrical tape so it
can't be plugged back in without unwrapping the tape. Then,
clearly label the inside of the box with a message that says
something like: "Do not reconnect! May cause damage to
inside equipment!" A sign written or printed in waterproof
ink and taped inside the box works well. No matter how you
choose to label the box, be sure it is obvious, clear, and easy
Once you've clearly
labeled the inside of the NIU, close and refasten the box. Then,
just to be safe, label the outside of the box as well. To be
extra safe, you can also wrap a cord or nylon tie-wrap around
the box so it can't be opened without cutting it. Remember, to
avoid damage, you want to make it as inconvenient as possible
for someone to change what you've done without your knowledge.
STEP TWO - CONFIRM THE LINE
After you've isolated your
wiring from the phone company's, it's important to confirm the
line is disconnected before installing your VOiP service.
Go back into your house
and pick up a phone plugged into a jack that previously worked.
You should hear absolutely nothing; the line should be totally
dead. If the line's not dead, go back and check your work. If
your work looks correct and the line's still not dead, it means
that voltage is somehow still being carried on the line and it's
not safe for you to proceed any further. Consult a professional
electrician or telephone technician for help.
STEP THREE - CONNECT YOUR
If you've successfully
isolated your wiring and you've confirmed the line is dead, the
hard part's over. It's time to connect to VOiP service!
Simply plug your DSL/cable
modem into the digital phone adapter. Then plug your phone
adapter into any telephone jack using a standard telephone cord.
Finally, plug regular phones into the other jacks in your house.
Telephone jacks are wired in parallel, so when you plug your
phone adapter into any working jack, it will spread the signal
to the other jacks in your home.
Like any telephone line,
there is a limit to the number of phones you can connect to a
single VOiP service line. If too many phones are connected, the
signal will fade, and not all of the phones will ring when a
call comes in. Therefore, we recommend you only connect three
phones maximum to a single VOiP service line.
Your home is now wired with VOiP service!