Multiple phones a ringin’

September 22, 2008 at 2:34 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment
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Most households have multiple phones, and T-Mobile wants @Home to replace your wireline service, so let’s ensure that @Home lets you use all of your existing phones, OK?

@Home Can Serve Multiple Corded and Cordless Phones. Although the manual suggests otherwise, you can use multiple corded and/or cordless phones, including phones currently connected to your residence. The following note explains how to connect the router to existing wiring (and all devices connected to it).

It seems kind of clunky to expect you to place your T-Mobile router next to your Internet connection, and then have a single phone attached to it (as suggested in the Install Guide and Manual). Instead, you can

  • use your existing home wiring
  • simultaneously serve up to five (5) wired/standard phones
    (according to my discussion with T-Mobile engineers)
  • add cordless phones, too

Here’s how you proceed:

A) If you receive phone service and DSL Internet service on the same line, then you should:

  1. Install the @Home router per T-Mobile’s instructions,
    connecting the @Home router to the back of the Internet termination in your home (DSL router, Cable Internet box, etc.).
  2. Connect the @Home router to the wall jack (just like you’d plug in a new phone).
    This allows your router to serve all phones on that circuit in your residence.
    All of the phones in the house on to that line will now get dial tone from the @Home router.

B) If you do not receive DSL Internet service on the same line that you are replacing, then you should implement this optimized process (to avoid any damage to the home wiring or the router):

  1. Install the @Home router per T-Mobile’s instructions,
    connecting the @Home router to the back of the Internet termination in your home (DSL router, Cable Internet box, etc.).
  2. Disconnect the home wiring from the Telco’s, existing wireline circuit.
    Go outside of your house and find the network termination box, open it, and disconnect the telephone cord that connects your line to the telephone network.
    This allows your router to serve the phones in your house and severs the old connection to the wireline phone provider.
    Since you do not receive Internet service on this line, you are only disconnecting this phone line from the Telco.
  3. Connect the @Home router to the wall jack (just like you’d plug in a new phone).
    This allows your router to serve all phones on that circuit in your residence.
    All of the phones in the house on to that line will now get dial tone from the @Home router.

Apparently, it is potentially hazardous to connect the router to the existing wireline loop:
“Should you attempt to connect your VoIP service to your home’s inside telephone wiring, you must first completely disconnect your inside wiring from the telephone company’s cable coming into your home. Failure to do this will damage your VoIP adapter, and for that reason some VoIP companies do not recommend connecting your VoIP service to your inside wiring.” [www.wikihow.com]
To disconnect your home wiring from the wireline provider at the Network Interface, just disconnect a single telephone connector, following these directions.

Adding Multiple Cordless Phones: You can also add cordless phones, if you’d prefer. Just connect a cordless base station that will allow you to have several cordless phones in your residence. You can connect the cordless base station to (a) the router, directly, or (b) the home wiring (if you have connected the router to the home wiring, as described above). This allows you to plug in a single cordless base station that serves up to 8, cordless phones in your residence! VTech offers numerous models, but I like the VTech DS6121-5 or  VTech i5871 that can support up to 8 cordless handsets. Other models are available for as little as $25. It costs a bit, but since I’m saving $100/month of typical wireline telephone charges with @Home, I can afford to accessorize. This allows you to have as many phones as you want with @Home!

VTech Cordless Base Station + Multiple=

Corrections to the Product Documentation
Note: This works (I’m using it right now), but is not reflected in the straightforward T-Mobile documentation. In fairness, T-Mobile is trying to make it simple for people to get up and running and do not want to introduce complexity. @Home is a complex service and T-Mobile is trying to make it as simple as possible for the average user. Nonetheless, these enhancements are useful, so I wanted to be sure to document them for others to enjoy, too.

Sadly, these enhancements are not reflected in the existing T-Mobile and Linksys documentation. Ideally, this documentation needs to be updated:

(a) T-Mobile product documentation (Installation manual and Product Manual) states “Do not connect the phone port to a telephone wall jack … or the telephone wiring in your home or office may be damaged.”

(b) Linksys router (there is a T-Mobile specific router model-WRTU54G-TM-and associated discussion) here.”

Install Guide correction:
Should explicitly support up to five, wired phones via RJ-11. Currently reads:

You can do better than this

T-Mobile Install Guide (poster)

User Manual correction:
Remove incorrect warning (“Do not connect the phone port to a telephone wall jack … or the telephone wiring in your home or office may be damaged”), and should add that it supports up to five, wired phones via RJ-11. Currently reads:

Warning from T-Mobile @Home User Manual

Warning from T-Mobile @Home User Manual

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1 Comment »

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  1. I’m interested in hooking up the T-Mobile @Home router and use additional phones in my home. I’m trying to follow your instructions above, but there is one problem. I have a DSL line coming into my house to provide the internet connection. If I disconnect the wire coming in to the house as you suggest, I’ll lose my internet connection and thus also lose T-Mobile @Home capability. Did you leave out a step or will your instruction only work with some other type of high speed internet feed?

    Imcellular: Yes, my instructions needed clarification and I have added them to the original post that you cited. Thanks for bringing this up. You are correct: if you have a single telephone line (with DSL Internet service) from the Telco and you disconnect that line to your house, you will lose your Internet connection (not good). To clarify, for such DSL subscribers: you do not disconnect the wiring from your house to the DSL modem. You will attach the @Home router to the back of your DSL modem, and then attach the @Home router to the inside telephone wiring. Not to worry, the T-Mobile instructions are simple and handle all standard cases, such as these.

    > “If I disconnect the wire coming in to the house”
    To clarify, if you have a single line coming into the house that carries voice and data, you do not disconnect the wiring to your house.


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