Landlines and Generation Y (telecom)

Re: A comment in an earlier post that "Another customer was very suspicious when I told him the same thing that the modular jack was universal".

Modular jacks have been "universal" only since the FCC ruled against "protective connecting arrangements" in 1976. AT&T/Bell then developed the modular jack (RJ-11, RJ-45 etc.) as we currently know them. They were standardized under FCC Rules Part 68, and a few of them have been standardized internationally. My house was built in

1974 and it has the old-style 4-prong plugs - about the size of a golf ball. I suspect that there are still hundreds of thousands of homes that either have no telephone jack at all (telephone hard-wired to a wall connector or "C block") or have the 4-prong plugs like mine. Where 4-prong plugs were used a separate outboard ringer was hard-wired to the phone line so a ring could be heard even if all of the phone sets were unplugged.

I bought 4-prong to modular adapter plugs at first (which they still sell), but now I've re-wired everything with RJ-11s.

In a related note, my house did not have an "network interface box" until about five years ago. The phone line came in through a carbon-block protector. The telco guy insisted that I "must" have one and didn't believe me until I took him around to the back and showed him the phone line with no NIB.


Charles G. Gray Senior Lecturer, Telecommunications Oklahoma State University - Tulsa (918) 594-8433

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Gray, Charles
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I seem to remember that when the modular jacks first came out GTE used a different one.

As to the block coming into the house, until I had DSL installed I had the old box and the carbons were not strapped out. When they replaced it I kept the old one for my collection. I have it hooked up with my old Step switch train and Candle Stick phone.

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I think the official term is "NID" for network interface device. I suspect whole lot of old construction still do not have NIDs; rather the carbon-block protector you mention.

"NID" covers the waterfront, so to speak, such as the demarcs in condos and commercial buildings.

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