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EarlyAdopter
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 17, 2005 11:28 am    Post subject: Phone Specs - REN Reply with quote Back to top

I've seen this discussed on other boards. Since I have extensive POTs knowledge, I figured I'd share some of it with this very helpful, friendly and success oriented board.

REN - Ringer Equivalence Number

It refers to the load rating of a single old mechanical bell phone. You know - the standard Ma Bell that many of us older than 30 grew up with. The resistance (or impedance) of those ringers is approx 7kohm at the ringing frequency of 20Hz. The "bell" is tuned to resonate at 20Hz.

A 5 REN load implies that 5 Ma Bell phones can be placed in parallel and still be rung. The resulting load of 5 REN is 1.4kohm. Therefore a 5 REN port is capable of driving loads as heavy as 1.4 kohm - bottom line.

There is also a bell, which represents a similar load with a slightly different electrical model, but it's basically the same thing. Most phones reference the bell on the bottom of the handset (typ 0.2B). 5 phones with 0.2B approximate 1 REN and so on.

Hope that helps the curious.
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stuschr
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 17, 2005 11:03 pm    Post subject: Number of phones used on vonage Reply with quote Back to top

My house has 15 phones (one number). About 9 of them ring. Without compromising those numbers, will Vonage work? Vonage told me they can only handle 5 phones max. I'm not sure the person I spoke to really knew. Anyone know for sure?
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LC
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 17, 2005 11:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

we recommend a REN total of 5, but you can go up to about 6 or so
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Fletcher
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 18, 2005 9:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

If you use a cordless base with additional handsets, you are only using the REN allocation for one phone regardless of how many extra handsets you have. If you want to use all of the extensions on your regular telephone wiring, you'll be limited to 5 or 6 as others have said here. In fact, if some of your phones are older or draw more REN, you may not even get 5. We have seen reports here about folks having problems getting even fewer phones to ring when the phones were old technology.

Fletcher
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stuschr
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 18, 2005 1:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

so, I guess the answer is No. Guess I'll have to wait for a real home Voip system.
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ToddlerTN
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 18, 2005 1:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

stuschr wrote:
so, I guess the answer is No. Guess I'll have to wait for a real home Voip system.

Well that's a pretty snotty attitude. If you weren't aware, FCC regulations are what guides the 5 REN deal, not Vonage...and most modern phones don't require a full REN anyway...so if you add up the RENs on all your devices, you may be at or under 5 anyway. Plus, Vonage can increase the output voltage on your router if you are having issues. At least try it out for yourself before you start complaining about an issue that may not even exist.
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Martlet
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 18, 2005 1:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

stuschr wrote:
so, I guess the answer is No. Guess I'll have to wait for a real home Voip system.


This home Voip is fake? I've been SCAMMED!

Actually, there are several ways to combat your problem, as Fletcher mentioned.

First, are you intending to plug your Voip into your existing home wiring?
Second, why do only "about 9" phones ring now? Too many phones for the signal?

I've read some posts on here of over 5 phones working fine. If you don't plan on using the existing wiring, then I've seen expandable phones up to 8, but perhaps you can get more.

If you plan on using the existing wiring, then it's a crap shoot. It depends on how many phones your signal supports. There are REN boosters that you can purchase, however, that may or may not work with Vonage.
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stuschr
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 18, 2005 3:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

I have a central hub with about 25 ports coming off it. (I have a fair sized house). I currently have no problem with 9-10 phones ringing and 15 total, so I don't get the math for the REN, unless the math is way out of date when applied to phones built in the last decade or so. At about 11 phones ringing, the line in my home will stop working.

I don't understand why Vonage would build a box with only 5 phone connections. Seems to me, when you build a box, you can amplify and internally daisy chain so that you could have many more phones.

If their reps stated they can increase router output to compensate, and daisy chain a couple of routers, then I'd give it a try. I asked them if I have only 3 phones ringing and 15 others connected in parallel would it work and they said no. I see no reason to try the system if the manufacturer won't even claim that it works with more then 5 phones.

I'll admit I'd really like to switch to Voip, though.
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 18, 2005 3:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

I don't know how much people reading this thread know about phones, so I'll put in as much as I know.

A telephone can be thought of as being two circuits in the same box. The first one is the handseet, microphone and hook switch. If the hook switch is "on" - that is, if the phone is on the hook - then this entire circuit is disconnected from the line.

The 2nd circuit is the ringer circuit. In most phones, it is always connected. In modern phones, it consists of a DC blocking capacitor, and the LED half of an opto-isolator. When the phone rings, the AC of the ring circuit will result in the LED blinking at 20 Hz. This sort of circuitry is relatively new - it used to be that it was an electromagnet in series with the DC blocking capacitor. The electromagnet made a bar swing back and forth between two bells - thus the old two-tone bell sound.

From a line loading point of view, there are two items of interest - one is how many off-hook phones can be on the line and still let you hear the conversation. This is not usually that big a concern - it's rare that more than two are off hook at once, and usually two is not too many.

The other is the REN that everyone is talking about - how many ringing circuits will the ring generator handle. Which brings me to my point - regardless of the sticker on the phone, a phone with the ringer turned off will have a REN of zero (providing that the ringer switch does the right thing - disconnect the ringer circuit from the line, rather than simply ignore whatever signaling the ringer circuit is providing).

Back in the bad old days, when the phone company was a total monopoly and they charged for every extension, they used to 'sniff' the lines, checking the REN loading. If you had too many phones, you'd have trouble. Unless, of course, you cut the ringers out of the extensions.

So if you have a zillion phones, turn as many ringers off as you can. And as others have said in this thread, if your zillion phones are merely handsets connected to a single cordless base, don't count them - the REN applies only to the base station. And modern multiplex cordless base station phones undoubtedly use the optoisolator circuitry I've described, and will have a very, very, very low REN in any event.

And if you really have two dozen phones, you should probably consider a small PBX and simply feed the Vonage line(s) in as trunks. The PBX will have its own ring generator, and present a minimal load to the trunk.
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Martlet
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 18, 2005 3:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

nsayer wrote:
I don't know how much people reading this thread know about phones, so I'll put in as much as I know.

A telephone can be thought of as being two circuits in the same box. The first one is the handseet, microphone and hook switch. If the hook switch is "on" - that is, if the phone is on the hook - then this entire circuit is disconnected from the line.

The 2nd circuit is the ringer circuit. In most phones, it is always connected. In modern phones, it consists of a DC blocking capacitor, and the LED half of an opto-isolator. When the phone rings, the AC of the ring circuit will result in the LED blinking at 20 Hz. This sort of circuitry is relatively new - it used to be that it was an electromagnet in series with the DC blocking capacitor. The electromagnet made a bar swing back and forth between two bells - thus the old two-tone bell sound.

From a line loading point of view, there are two items of interest - one is how many off-hook phones can be on the line and still let you hear the conversation. This is not usually that big a concern - it's rare that more than two are off hook at once, and usually two is not too many.

The other is the REN that everyone is talking about - how many ringing circuits will the ring generator handle. Which brings me to my point - regardless of the sticker on the phone, a phone with the ringer turned off will have a REN of zero (providing that the ringer switch does the right thing - disconnect the ringer circuit from the line, rather than simply ignore whatever signaling the ringer circuit is providing).

Back in the bad old days, when the phone company was a total monopoly and they charged for every extension, they used to 'sniff' the lines, checking the REN loading. If you had too many phones, you'd have trouble. Unless, of course, you cut the ringers out of the extensions.

So if you have a zillion phones, turn as many ringers off as you can. And as others have said in this thread, if your zillion phones are merely handsets connected to a single cordless base, don't count them - the REN applies only to the base station. And modern multiplex cordless base station phones undoubtedly use the optoisolator circuitry I've described, and will have a very, very, very low REN in any event.

And if you really have two dozen phones, you should probably consider a small PBX and simply feed the Vonage line(s) in as trunks. The PBX will have its own ring generator, and present a minimal load to the trunk.


Well said.
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