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Ventura
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Joined: Sep 25, 2005
Posts: 7

PostPosted: Sun Sep 25, 2005 8:04 pm    Post subject: New customer, only one big issue Reply with quote Back to top

Hi. New customer here.

I have one phone plugged into my Vonage Voip router (a Linksys RTP300), and that phone works perfectly. My broadband connection is Comcast cable.

My big problem -- and the one that's making me consider cancelling Vonage service -- is that I cannot for the life of me get the rest of my jacks in my house wired with the Vonage signal (the "dead jack" problem).

I've followed the home wiring guide and disconnected the external service from my NIU. There were three lines set up by the previous owner, one or two for fax, the other for voice. All three have been disconnected, like I said, and their plug ends wrapped in electrical tape.

When I connect the router to a nearby jack, nothing happens with the rest of the jacks in the house. Nothing at all. I'm pretty much at a loss.

I read some details on the jack wiring, and I re-routed the red wire to blue as per the "dead jack" instructions. The instructions reference a white cable with a blue stripe, but I don't have one of those active -- one's in the box, but tucked away inactive (unconnected).

We've been in this house for nearly two months now, and we're being massively inconvenienced by a lack of a real home phone. One working phone in a 3000+ sq. ft. house doesn't really work as well as you might think it would.

Any help? I would appreciate any tips I can get. I tried calling Vonage support on this, and got no help. After 20 mins talking to someone who clearly could not help, I was transferred to "advanced" support, at which point I was accidentally disconnected.

Thanks in advance.
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Medic63
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 25, 2005 8:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

Just out of curiosity, did you follow the directions as outlined in http://michigantelephone.mi.org/distribute.html ?
I believe they are the same directions referred to here: http://www.vonage-forum.com/home-wiring-installation-guide.html

Can you post a diagram or photo of your set-up?

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Ventura
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 25, 2005 8:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

Medic63 wrote:
Just out of curiosity, did you follow the directions as outlined in http://michigantelephone.mi.org/distribute.html ?
I believe they are the same directions referred to here: http://www.vonage-forum.com/home-wiring-installation-guide.html


Yep, as best I could. I disconnected everything from the outside box, which was three separate lines. That's all done. Now, when I connect the router to any inside phone jack, none of them works. However, when I go back to re-connecting a single phone to the Voip router, it still works, so I know it's an inside wiring problem.

Here's the section from the links you reference (above) that I think are relevant to what's happening to me:

Quote:

The "dead jack" problem

The above instructions assume that all the telephone jacks in your home were working when you had service from the telephone company connected. Sometimes people find that one jack in their home doesn't work before they disconnect the phone company's wiring. If the jack didn't work before, it probably won't magically start working after you've followed the above instructions! And, if you plug your Voip adapter into a formerly "dead" jack, you won't get the signal at the other jacks in your home.

One common reason for a "dead jack", particularly when you have recently acquired a home that was previously occupied by others, is that the former owner had either a modem or a FAX line installed. Therefore, the jack may be wired so that what would normally be the "line two" pair (generally the orange pair) is wired as line one on that jack only. Alternately, it may have a direct line run to the Network Interface Unit, which is connected as line two inside that unit, and not connected to the other jacks inside the home. In either case, the thing to do is to rewire that jack properly (if necessary), making sure the blue pair is connected as line one (if the jack has four wires color coded red, green, yellow, and black, then the blue wire of the cable pair would connect to the red wire at the jack, and the white wire with the blue stripe would connect to the green wire in the jack), and then make sure that at the other end of the cable from that jack, the blue pair is connected to the other blue pairs that feed the other jacks inside the home.

(Some people have tried temporarily "bridging" line one, the blue pair, and line two, the orange pair, inside the Network Interface Unit, to see if that will make the "dead" jack start working. We don't recommend this unless you have a good understanding of basic telephone wiring AND you make absolutely sure that both pairs are disconnected from the telephone company's wiring.)
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mundy5
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 25, 2005 8:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

Ventura,

I'm sorry to hear that you have been unsuccessful at getting Vonage to work throughout the house.

There is another forum location by the way that handles this type of question.

Anyway, to get right to the point, if the previous owner had multiple lines going into the house, then there will be some jacks that are connected to the main phone line, some that are connected to the 1st fax line and some others that are connected to the 2nd fax line, etc.

In other words, your jacks are going to be connected to different phone lines depending on the previous owners configuration.

I would not be surprised if your computer is near a phone jack that was used for a fax which means connecting the Vonage adapter to it will result in nothing for your telephones.

What I recommend is to find out how your phone jacks are connected. They can be connected usually in one of two ways: Sequentially or in a star typology.

So open up the jack near your computer and Vonage router and see how many sets of wires come into and out of it. Phone wires are typically cat-3 (3 pairs of twisted wire in one larger diameter wire) or cat-5 (4 pairs of twisted wire in one larger diameter wire).

You want to see how many cat-3 or cat-5 are connected to the jack. If there is only one cat-3 or cat-5, then it is connected in a star pattern or homerun pattern which means there is one centralized place that all the phone jacks go to.

If there are two cat-3s or cat-5s then it is sequentially connected, that is one jack is then connected to the next jack in sequence all the way down to the last jack thus requiring one set to come into the jack and a second set to leave to connect it to the next jack.

So the solution is, first make sure that all of them have the same pair (if cat-5 it should be blue/white with blue stripes; if cat-3 it should be green/red) connected to the line 1 terminal of the jacks.

If it is a star typology, find the centralized patch panel and make sure that no outside phone wires are coming in at all (i.e. disconnect all outside wiring coming into the panel) since your Vonage will now be your outside phone wire.

By the way, you need to always have a pair of wires connected each jack otherwise, it will not work. Make sure that all line 1 terminals are connected to blue/white with blue stripes or green/red.

I hope this helps.

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Ventura
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 25, 2005 9:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

Mundy 5, thanks for your reply. I appreciate it.

So let me ask you this: if I check out the wiring of a jack that I would guess was on Line 1 (voice) from the previous owner's config, and I mirror that wiring pattern to every other jack in the house, would that be a simple -- albeit not the most efficient -- way to ensure all jacks are wired properly?

Seems to me it would, but then again, I'm about as new as they come.

Thanks again for your help.
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mundy5
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 25, 2005 9:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

Ventura,

that is correct. If you take a phone jack that you are 100% sure was on line 1 and mirror it, it should work. Or you can just connect the first pair of wires on each jack so that they are all consistent.

It is not only a painfully inefficient way, it is the only way for you to make sure they are all connected to the same pair.

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Steve48
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 25, 2005 10:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

To expand a little on what Mundy has been saying, the situation is complicated by the fact that the jacks usually used in home wiring typically can handle up to two lines, but only one may be active. Since the last owner had 3 lines, he may have jacks in the house that were set up for just one of the lines and others that were set up for any two of the lines. Or all of the jacks in the house may be set up for only one line each. You'll need to decipher what's been done before you can get it all straight.

You can usually get some clues about what's going on by examining the phone company's junction box. Typically their lines come into female jacks, and male plugs plug into them. Each of those plugs will have two pairs of wires coming from them- a red and green pair and a yellow and black pair. You can usually see which of those pairs is tied to house wiring and go on from there.

Another thing you can do is plug your Vonage adapter into a wall jack as you've done. Now take a simple phone out to the junction box and plug one of the plugs that you've unplugged from the phone company's line into the phone. If you're lucky, one of the plugs will activate the phone, and then you'll know which pair the Vonage jack is on. It's a start.

By the way, the simplest situation that you're likely to have is if the phone company has only two jacks- one that used to have two active lines and one that used to have one active line. Then there will be two house wiring plugs that you've unplugged from the phone company. If all this is so, connecting the two plugs together using a female-female adapter is likely to produce some good results.

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Bann
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 26, 2005 8:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

Just one other note of warning, as the one poster said: they can be in a star topology, or sequential.

Basically, they can ALL be using the same wire pairs, or, and this was the case for my parent's newly built house, some jacks are running DIRECTLY to the NIU.

My parents have roughly 5 jacks in their house. 2 are in my brother's room, 3 are in other areas of the house....this is where is gets confusing.

1 of the jacks in my brother's room I finally figured out is connected to the other jacks in the house. The other, was his own line run to the NIU. (Don't ask me why they did it this way, especially on modern phone wire with no one using line 2 on either line.)

My parents wanted me to get every jack on their side fixed up so that it would run the Vonage unit. So, I simply went through and hooked up the Vonage unit into the pair I found was going to their lines, and for my brother, I hooked him directly to port 2 on the Vonage unit.

If having everything wired up on the same pair does not work out for you, check to see if those jacks might be sequentially done. If this is the case, the simplest method to fix this for you, might simply be to go out to the NIU, where you have these wires taped off, and connect them ALL together and simply tape the wires together that way. (Obviously you'd tape them color to color, and not just one big ball.)

Good luck!
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bg4
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 26, 2005 9:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

This might solve the problem and probably should be included in wiring basics -

When disconnecting your inside wiring from the NIU be sure to attach all (inside) wires back together - only leaving the phone side disconnected.

eg: two lines come inti NIU and are attached- disconnect the two wires from NIU BUT KEEP them attached to each other. Each of those lines most likely goes to a phone jack. If you detach wires from the NIC and dont reattach them you would be isolating phones. Re-check your NIC wiring.
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Ventura
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 15, 2005 9:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

Resurrecting this topic.

Well, as a total phone wiring newbie, I'm pretty much ready to cancel Vonage. It's been two months and I can't get my house wired. The only phone that works with the Vonage adapter is the phone that I plug directly into the Voip adapter.

Half of the advice given here I don't quite understand. At this point, I'm not even sure I did the outside wiring properly.

At the outside NIU, I simply pulled three black wires (that look like regular phone cords and have a jack at the end) out of their female counterparts and taped them off. That's what I thought Vonage said to do. They're totally disconnected.

On the inside, I went to a jack that I knew the previous owners of the house used as a main voice line. I don't know what sequential versus star looks like. The upstairs (voice) jack has four screws with two wires under each in a semicircle pattern, and looking at it left-to-right the colors are yellow (two yellow wires matched), green (two green), red (two red), and black (two black).

I took this config down to my office jack to which I would be connecting the Vonage unit. The colors there are different, but I arranged them as closely as I could to the upstairs config. Before I changed anything, I kept the colors that were matched with each other the same, because the colors are different than what's upstairs.

Regardless, the pattern downstairs is (again, same semicircle pattern, moving left-to-right): blue matched with yellow (as opposed to yellow-yellow upstairs), green matched with green (same as upstairs), orange matched with red (close to the red-red of upstairs), and brown matched with black (closest to the upstairs black-black as I could get).

Nothing. No other jack in the house works with Vonage.

I've pretty much conceded Vonage at this point. We've been two months without a home phone, and this, to me, is confusing, especially given I have zero experience with inside phone wiring. Compounding this, we have a stand alone TiVo unit upstairs, and my colleages at work say that getting TiVo to work with Vonage is next to impossible.

If you have any late advice at this point, I'd love to hear it. But in the end, while Vonage works quite well with the single phone to which it's connected, it's a difficult proposition for the average consumer uneducated in the finer details of home phone wiring.

I've tried to call Vonage twice about this, but both time wound up getting a rep who was quite unhelpful. After about 20 mins of answering standard questions, he referred me to the Vonage website.

Thanks to all who have provided input -- I really do appreciate your efforts.
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