Problem with cabling of landline phone sockets with modern broadband router technology

edited 21 September at 4:57PM in Broadband & internet access
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edited 21 September at 4:57PM in Broadband & internet access
In my home I have a landline phone system installed by BT many years ago. The main phone cable enters into the house and my home is wired to provide extension landline phone sockets on the wall of pretty much every room. So for many years I've been able to plug in landline phones everywhere.
A few years ago I signed up to BT based broadband service using an internet router plugged into the "master socket" giving me internet connection around the house in addition to continuing to obtain landline phone service through all the wired extension sockets.
Today I was speaking to my internet provider about upgrading to latest "full fibre" service, but suddenly a serious problem was flagged concerning use of my array of phone sockets. Apparently the latest technology has changed and landline phones now are plugged directly in through the internet router. I'm told this means all my extension phone sockets around the house will all cease to work. I gather that to continue to use my many phone sockets around the house I will need to obtain some gadget they referred to as a "base-station" together with appropriate cabling to re-connect all my phone sockets. Unfortunately my internet provider does not offer this service.
Can someone please clarify the situation as to my being able to continue to use my many phone sockets around the house with a new technology router. Will all my phone cabling have to be ripped out and replaced or is there any way in which I can continue to use the existing phone socket cabling?
Reginald Molehusband






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  • QrizBQrizB Forumite
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    Can someone please clarify the situation as to my being able to continue to use my many phone sockets around the house with a new technology router. Will all my phone cabling have to be ripped out and replaced or is there any way in which I can continue to use the existing phone socket cabling?
    If youe new router includes an analogue POTS socket, you should be able to attach your existing extension wiring to that socket and continue to enjoy wired phones throughout the house.
    If your new router doesn't have a POTS socket, you might have to add an additional bit of hardware - the "base station" that the provider suggests, or an ATA that will provide an equivalent analogue connection.
    N. Hampshire, he/him. Octopus Go elec & Tracker gas / Voda BB / Virgin mobi. Ripple WT2 member.
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  • edited 21 September at 8:18PM
    MolehusbandMolehusband Forumite
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    edited 21 September at 8:18PM
    QrizB said:
    Can someone please clarify the situation as to my being able to continue to use my many phone sockets around the house with a new technology router. Will all my phone cabling have to be ripped out and replaced or is there any way in which I can continue to use the existing phone socket cabling?
    If youe new router includes an analogue POTS socket, you should be able to attach your existing extension wiring to that socket and continue to enjoy wired phones throughout the house.
    If your new router doesn't have a POTS socket, you might have to add an additional bit of hardware - the "base station" that the provider suggests, or an ATA that will provide an equivalent analogue connection.
    Thanks for you input. I've never seen one of these new routers and how exactly they communicate with a telephone handset. From what you say, I gather they don't normally have a normal phone plug for connecting. So how exactly is a landline phone connected to this new communication system? Is there a photo or description which I can peruse to see what these new routers look like and how customers make & receive phone-calls through them?

    I recall back in the old days when cordless phones first started to be offered to consumers that BT emphasised to their customers that cordless technology depends on on mains electricity. Therefore they recommended users to still retain a corded phone for emergency calls during a power cut. While I certainly have some cordless phones, I believe it is still important to retain corded phones, as I, like most people, suffer power outages from time to time. Will this new "internet phone connection" maintain the ability to make & receive phone-calls during a power cut? Over the years I've occasionally had power outages of 8 hours or more and I'd hate to be phoneless then! Sure, I know about mobile phones. but sometimes they have problems connecting to an appropriate mast or are hidden somewhere in the house, so a working corded landline phone remains important.
    Reginald Molehusband






  • edited 22 September at 8:50AM
    matelodavematelodave Forumite
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    edited 22 September at 8:50AM
    The BT Samrt hub has a UK style telephone socket on the rear into which you can plug a UK phone or cable to your existing wiring with a bit of adaption.( Its the green socket in the picture - https://www.bt.com/help/broadband/learn-about-the-ports-on-your-bt-hub)

    My Vodafone router has a different socket (an RJ11 like the grey one in the above piccy) but adapters are readily available to allow it to use phones with UK phones - like this - https://www.amazon.co.uk/Telephone-Landline-Converter-Extender-Cordless-White/dp/B081K4C92W.

    I've got a fixed phone and a DECT base station plugged into mine.

    In the end you'll either have to get yourself a battery backup for the router and optical terminal unit or rely on a mobile as there'll be no other way of providing a line powered phone over optical fibres and its  unlikely that  providers will be support two separate networks in the future  so you might as well bow to the inevitable and accept it
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  • jon81ukjon81uk Forumite
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    My new build house only has full fibre so there is no copper wire. BT supplied a cordless phone along with the router, it connects directly to the router via Wifi or DECT (not sure exactly).
    Yes in the event of a power cut the fibre terminal will lose power and I won't have any phone, but I don't use the landline anyway, my mobile is in my pocket.
  • littleboolittleboo Forumite
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    Assuming that your ISP is going to be providing a voice service via the router, if you want to use your existing extension sockets, you may be better engaging the services of a local IT/telecomms person to do it for you. The phone element of the service wont work during a power cut, but you can use a  uninterruptible power supply to get around that.
  • edited 22 September at 4:14PM
    MolehusbandMolehusband Forumite
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    edited 22 September at 4:14PM
    The BT Samrt hub has a UK style telephone socket on the rear into which you can plug a UK phone or cable to your existing wiring with a bit of adaption.( Its the green socket in the picture - https://www.bt.com/help/broadband/learn-about-the-ports-on-your-bt-hub)

    My Vodafone router has a different socket (an RJ11 like the grey one in the above piccy) but adapters are readily available to allow it to use phones with UK phones - like this - https://www.amazon.co.uk/Telephone-Landline-Converter-Extender-Cordless-White/dp/B081K4C92W.

    I've got a fixed phone and a DECT base station plugged into mine.

    In the end you'll either have to get yourself a battery backup for the router and optical terminal unit or rely on a mobile as there'll be no other way of providing a line powered phone over optical fibres and its  unlikely that  providers will be support two separate networks in the future  so you might as well bow to the inevitable and accept it
    Thanks for your comment. I'm very pleased to see the green socket on the back of your Samrt hub. So I take it that socket is what's the earlier poster called an "analogue POTS socket" which is what all traditional landline phones can connect to? I haven't bought a landline phone for a long time, so are all new landline phones still provided with the same traditional connector for a POTS socket or do some new phones now connect directly to the RJ11 (grey socket) shown in your picture?
    Can I presume that in the event of a mains power cut all phone sockets (eg POTS & RJ11) will also cease to function, so preventing any attached phones working? The good news at my end is that I already have Uninterruptible Power Supply serving my router. So with the new technology I should therefore still be OK to make & receive landline calls during a power cut? While I do also have a mobile phone, in an emergency I don't want to rely on it for reasons I gave earlier (eg having mislaid phone or possible loss of signal).
    Further questions:
    1 Are new technology routers plugged into the same master socket that traditionally serviced my home communications or does a new type of master socket have to be fitted in my home?
    2 In terms of landline phone sockets fitted on new internet routers: do all new-technology routers now have at least either 1 POTS or 1 RJ11 socket fitted or are there any other type of sockets ever fitted to a router to connect a landline phone to?
    Reginald Molehusband






  • matelodavematelodave Forumite
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    If you are being converted to a fully optical service ie Fibre to the Premises, then you will have an optical terminal unit fitted indoors which needs to have mains power and will be connected to the router using an ethernet cable.

    If you stay with BT then you'll get a router similar to that shown into which you can plug a POTS phone or you can use a BT Digital Voice phone which is a DECT phone that wirelessly communicates with the router. Other providers do it differently. BTW my Panasonic DECT phones wouldn't work wirelessly to the BT router, only to their own base station which was plugged into the POTS socket.

    I changed from BT earlier this year (with the Smart Hub 2 and Digital Voice phone) to Vodafone (saving £30 a month), who's router has an RJ11 socket for a POTS phone but no facility for wireless connection to DECT phones.  That said, I have a Panasonic DECT base station plugged into the RJ11 socket together with four DECT phones.

    I dont know what SKY, TalkTalk or other ISPs are offering by way of phone facilities.
    Never under estimate the power of stupid people in large numbers
  • edited 22 September at 4:50PM
    MolehusbandMolehusband Forumite
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    edited 22 September at 4:50PM
    If you are being converted to a fully optical service ie Fibre to the Premises, then you will have an optical terminal unit fitted indoors which needs to have mains power and will be connected to the router using an ethernet cable.

    If you stay with BT then you'll get a router similar to that shown into which you can plug a POTS phone or you can use a BT Digital Voice phone which is a DECT phone that wirelessly communicates with the router. Other providers do it differently. BTW my Panasonic DECT phones wouldn't work wirelessly to the BT router, only to their own base station which was plugged into the POTS socket.

    I changed from BT earlier this year (with the Smart Hub 2 and Digital Voice phone) to Vodafone (saving £30 a month), who's router has an RJ11 socket for a POTS phone but no facility for wireless connection to DECT phones.  That said, I have a Panasonic DECT base station plugged into the RJ11 socket together with four DECT phones.

    I dont know what SKY, TalkTalk or other ISPs are offering by way of phone facilities.
    Just to clarify, while BT installed my phone cabling around the house many years ago, it was telephone only before the broadband market was born. My first broadband provider was actually Virgin Media who don't use the BT network at all. They set up various (VM only) landline phone sockets using their own cabling around the house, leaving the BT cabling in situ although not used.
    Then several years ago I left VM and purchased broadband and landline services from Vodafone which now again uses all the BT phone cabling and sockets. So currently I have a Vodafone router plugged into the BT master socket. The router only provides broadband and all my landline phones continue to use the pre-existing BT cabling.
    I have asked Vodafone to quote for a new contract but they tell me this will involve mandatory installation of a new technology router which is where I lose the landline cabling which creates a serious problem for me. So one of my questions is: will this new technology router still be attached to my BT installed master socket (as is the current Vodafone router) or will they rip out the master socket altogether causing me complete loss of my cabled telephone system around the house?
    I do have some Panasonic DECT phones but the base stations only have POTS connection and do not have RJ11. I actually have 3 Panasonic base stations which are currently connected to different extension sockets around the house, so a single socket on the router is not sufficient for my 3 Panasonic base stations.
    Reginald Molehusband






  • QrizBQrizB Forumite
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    So one of my questions is: will this new technology router still be attached to my BT installed master socket (as is the current Vodafone router)
    No, as mateleodave says:
    If you are being converted to a fully optical service ie Fibre to the Premises, then you will have an optical terminal unit fitted indoors which needs to have mains power and will be connected to the router using an ethernet cable.
    You'll get optical fibre brought into your house, and the optical terminal unit will connect to that.
    Here's a slightly-partonising Openreach video that explains this:

    ... or will they rip out the master socket altogether causing me complete loss of my cabled telephone system around the house?
    Whatever they do to your BT master socket, the internal wiring will remain in place. It shouldn't be more than 20 minutes work to connect this to the POTS socket on your router.
    N. Hampshire, he/him. Octopus Go elec & Tracker gas / Voda BB / Virgin mobi. Ripple WT2 member.
    2.72kWp PV facing SSW installed Jan 2012. 11 x 247w panels, 2.5kw inverter. 28MWh generated, long-term average 2.6 Os.
    Ofgem caps explained - April 2022 and October 2022. EPG explainer to follow eventually!
  • edited 22 September at 6:40PM
    MolehusbandMolehusband Forumite
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    edited 22 September at 6:40PM
    QrizB said:
    So one of my questions is: will this new technology router still be attached to my BT installed master socket (as is the current Vodafone router)
    No, as mateleodave says:
    If you are being converted to a fully optical service ie Fibre to the Premises, then you will have an optical terminal unit fitted indoors which needs to have mains power and will be connected to the router using an ethernet cable.
    You'll get optical fibre brought into your house, and the optical terminal unit will connect to that.
    Here's a slightly-partonising Openreach video that explains this:

    ... or will they rip out the master socket altogether causing me complete loss of my cabled telephone system around the house?
    Whatever they do to your BT master socket, the internal wiring will remain in place. It shouldn't be more than 20 minutes work to connect this to the POTS socket on your router.
    Thanks for that information. In fact the Superfast Fibre situation for my home is extremely confusing. When I check my address on:
    https://www.openreach.com/
    It tells me:"Great news. Superfast Fibre is available at your address", but it then goes on saying that for me it  "Supports speeds of up to 80Mbp". But I have already been getting 80Mbp for several years and Vodafone tells me I currently don't have Superfast Fibre and no date has been published as to when it will be available to me. Why is Openreach telling me I do have Superfast Fibre?
    My Vodafone contract recently finished and I have therefore requested a quote for a new contract based on my current 80Mbp speed. They have given me an improved price for such a new contract. However they tell me that in order to take up this new contract offer I must install their new technology router and thereby instantly lose the use of my internal phone cabling. I asked if they could rearrange my phone cabling to work with the new router, but Vodafone does not offer this service and they suggested I ask either BT or Openreach to give me a quote.
    It seems very strange to me that even though I will not have Optical Fibre, they insist I cannot keep my currently fully working broadband a phone system and will be immediately compelled to use their new technology router which will destroy my home phone system. Is worth my while now to request quotations from BT and other broadband providers and hope they will offer me a router that doesn't disable my home phone system??
    Reginald Molehusband






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