TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Re: Finally Cutting the POTS Cord

Re: Finally Cutting the POTS Cord

John McHarry (
Fri, 07 Oct 2005 02:19:25 GMT

On Wed, 05 Oct 2005 11:52:19 -0700, Brian E Williams wrote:


> Above link is a picture of the inside of my outside telecom box here
> in the USA. I want to route my Vonage VoIP service to my internal
> phone network, so first I am going to disconnect the internal network
> from the POTS provider as a test. I am guessing that I just flip
> those little connectors up and then pull out the solid blue and
> blue-white wires, being careful to keep them arranged for easy
> reconnection.

That doesn't look like a standard demarc to me. Maybe you are in a
multifamily dwelling, or maybe I am out of date. The demarcs I am
familiar with use an RJ-11 plug on your side to plug into a socket on
the telco side. This allows you to test whether a problem is inside
wiring or telco by unplugging your whole inside plant and plugging in
a known good phone.

> Is there anything else I need to worry about? Also, is having four
> wires standard for a single line? Maybe that is how I can do three
> way calling and call waiting, but I never thought about it before.

Four wires are standard for residential wiring. As PAT notes, only red
and green are used for the first line. This allows a second pair for a
second line, or a ground connection for grounded ringing (mostly used
in old two party lines).

As PAT also notes, getting the telco hooked up across your VOIP
service is ungood. The trouble with doing your connection at the
demarc is that telco has access to it and may, possibly inadvertently,
reconnect themselves. Also, some telcos leave disconnected lines
connected to the switch and able to call 911, much like an unassigned
cell phone. You might be better off to cut into your house wiring
before the first tap and either disconnect the telco there, or move it
over to line two, so you could use their 911 service in an emergency.

I don't know how many terminals you intend to bridge onto your Vonage
box, but, if it is like the Packet8 DAT310, it may have trouble
driving some of them. I can ring two phones just fine, but there
doesn't seem to be quite enough talk battery to keep my speakerphone
happy. Of course, that may be more the phone's fault for being overly

[TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: What I do here is the Bell System
demarc box is on the wall of my house outside with _two_ lines there
from telco but I only use one. I have tape around the modular
connector of the second, unused line. I have a small PBX unit inside
my house, in a closet near my computer area. From the outside demarc,
I bring the one working pair there into my house on my own wires, and
into the PBX where it becomes 'dial 9' for outgoing local calls. Then
I have my Vonage (VOIP) adapter box near the computer with a
connection into the broadband cable line. I go from there with my
personally owned modular cable to another input on the PBX, where it
becomes 'dial 8' for long distance calls. Both lines (Vonage VOIP) and
telco also go through a two-line splitter to which I have a caller ID
device and an extra loud ringer (in my old age and feeble condition I
am also a wee bit hard of hearing these days as any of you who
telephone me know when I periodically ask you to repeat yourself. Then
I have several pairs running from the PBX back down the cable to the
outside and back to the telco demarc box where _everything_ telco
related has been disconnected except for the aforementioned one
incoming line.

So to make a local call from any extension, it travels down the pair
to the demarc, back in to the PBX, and dial 9 sends it back out the
cable to the demarc and off to telco. To make a long distance call from
any extension it travels down the pair to the demarc, back in to the
PBX where dial 8 sends it across the room to the VOIP box and the
broadband internet. To call around my house, it travels down the pair
to the demarc, back inside to the PBX where dialing 100 through 105 or
0 Zero treats the call as needed, ships it back through the cable to
the outside demarc where it gets distributed to where it should go. PAT]

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