Phone adapter for existing home wiring

Does anyone know of an ATA that explicitly supports multiple devices on existing home wiring?

I have 5 phones, 1 answering machine, 1 computer modem and one caller ID box on my telco quad "backbone." I'm looking for an ATA that I can just connect to a jack on the backbone after disconnecting from the POTS.

None of the vendor lit I've seen supports this. They all want you to connect your phone(s) directly to the adapter with RJ-11 patch cables! Some of the VoIP carriers seem to wink at existing wiring setups as long as you don't have more than 3 - 5 phones connected. But they make it clear there are no guarantees, so I guess the risk is on the customer.


Reply to
Jim Gross
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Start by finding out what the Ringer Equivalency Number (REN) is of all the devices you're wanting to connect and add 'em up. Each phone + modem + answering machine. Once you have that total then look for an ATA that supports that high of a REN. Good luck in finding such a device.

As for "guarantees" I found there are really >Does anyone know of an ATA that explicitly supports multiple devices

Reply to
Mitel Lurker <wdg

No vendors explicitly support this for liability reasons. If you don't know what you're doing and you connect the ATA to a live phone line you'll probably fry it. That said though, you can do what you want with just about any ATA. Most have a REN of 5 (same as POTS) but some are only 3, so you may have issues with ringing if you connect too many phones to them. I have a Vonage Motorola VT1005 feeding 8 phones in my house and everything works just fine.


Reply to
Nick Zivanovic

You can get REN extenders that allow more phones, up to 8 or so I think. Maplins sell them but they require mains power and aren't cheap from memory. Might do what you need though.


Reply to
Ivor Jones

Thanks Nick, and also Ivor and wdg, especially for reminding me about RENs.

The sum of the RENs of my current devices is 3.7 so I expect a REN 5 phone adapter will meet my existing needs. I'm leaning toward Vonage and a Linksys PAP2 ATA right now rather than a router/ATA combination device since I already have a wired and wireless home network installed with an SMC Barricade router and a Linksys WAP.

Otherwise, I have done my own phone wiring for years, I know where my demarc is and have phone line test equipment and know how to use it, so I feel comfortable about effectively disconnecting the POTS line.

Given the above and your experience with VoIP, are there any other installation issues I need to consider, besides selecting a VoIP carrier and plan?

Thanks again.

Reply to
Jim Gross

That should work. When you unhook the line at the demarc, be sure to do something to give passing phone guys a hint that it would not be helpful to plug the line back in. I put black tape over the jack.

Reply to
John R. Levine

REN number (number of phones connected in parallel) cannot be guaranteed simply because there is no reasonable way to calculate it! One unit was an equivalent of one electro mechanical ringer. Nowadays the phones became electronic, and their impedances are hundreds (thousands?) times higher than that of the old-time ringer's coil, so the REN number makes almost no sense anymore. It does not mean that you can connect thousand of the phones in parallel because they'll draw power during ring and the call, so the reasonable number is still within 10.

By saying "multiple devices" you don't mean multiple separate extensions, do you? I have heard of a system that supports multiple extensions over the same pair of wires, but this is a rather esoteric setup. Will be really hard to find and very non-standard.

Reply to

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Reply to
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