How do I Add Multiple Phones with VoIP

Are thinking about getting VoIP, but you are wondering how you can have several phones scattered around your house when you just have one VoIP connection? The days of people having just one phone in the house are disappearing (I have one in the kitchen, living room, bedroom and one lost somewhere in the house, maybe in the couch!). Well, there are some options you’ll be pleased to hear.

The following provides four possibilities for adding multiple phones onto your VoIP service. Depending on your individual requirements and situation, one may be more applicable than the others.

  1. One simple method is by using a multiple jack extension connector. You can plug this into your VoIP Analog Telephone Adapter (ATA) and this will allow you to have multiple phones on a single line. However, the limitation with this is that the phone connections are still at the location of your ATA device. This is a simple solution but not very flexible if you want to distribute your phones throughout your home.
  2. Digital cordless phone systems are a great option for distributing your VoIP throughout your home. Digital cordless phone systems are commonplace in homes these days with 900MHz, 2.4GHz and 5.8GHz versions available. They are also very low cost and can be picked up at places such as Costco and can usually be expanded later should you need additional phones. Cordless phone systems come with a base unit (also referred to as a Base Station by some phone suppliers) that plugs directly into your VoIP ATA. The additional cordless (also sometimes referred to as wireless) handsets can then be placed anywhere in your home, distributing your phone service to wherever you need it. The great thing about this option is that if you already have cordless phones then you are ready to go and do not need to buy any additional hardware.
  3. A variation on the cordless phone idea is to use wireless phone jacks. A base unit connects directly to your ATA. Then, wireless jacks can be used that plug into your household electrical outlets in the locations where you want your additional phones. You can then connect each of your additional phones to a wireless jack and voila, you have your phone service available anywhere in your home that you want it. However, this option does not seem to be very popular, likely because of the low prices found on cordless phone systems these days.
  4. Many people have used their existing telephone wiring and telephone extensions in their home to distribute VoIP throughout the home. Be warned though, you cannot just plug your VoIP ATA phone line straight into a phone jack in your home. The traditional copper landlines carry a voltage on its wires, used to make your telephone ‘ring’ when someone calls you. It is also used to power your phone and because the line is always live, it means you can make calls even during power outages. These voltages can potentially damage your VoIP equipment if you are not careful. Also, be aware that this voltage is present on the lines EVEN if you no longer have a landline phone service. The way people have avoided this is to disconnect their landline phone wiring at the Demarcation Point in their Network Interface Device (NID, typically a grey or black box located on the outside of your house). Once the existing phone line to the home has been disconnected, the VoIP ATA phone line can be plugged directly into one of the existing phone extensions inside the home. This will then distribute VoIP to all other phone extensions in the home that are wired to that phone extension. You can then plug your phones in anywhere you have a phone jack in your home. If you decide to do this it is highly recommended that you seek advice from an electrician or someone who is familiar with internal telephone wiring. It is also advised that you pre-check the wiring on the phone jacks to make sure you don't have live PSTN voltage on the jacks before connecting them to the ATA. A simple telephone line tester device can be used for this purpose. Also keep in mind that your VoIP service will not work during a power outage. If this is an issue for you, make sure you either have a backup cell phone or purchase an Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS). The UPS will provide battery backup for your ATA and Internet modem during power outages and thus allow you to make and receive calls. A UPS can be purchased for less than $50 from Amazon.

Well, we hope this helps provide some useful options for enabling multiple phones to be used with VoIP. There are probably other methods out there that may suit your needs too but the options above tend to be the most common ones used.

If you have any questions feel free to ask us using the comment form below. We are always prompt at answering questions from our visitors.

Author: Calum MacKinnon

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WhichVoIP Visitor Comments

#2 : Posted by Dave on May 9th, 2015:

I have two(2) or three(3) MagicJack modules. Can I simply plug each of them into my network behind the firewall and use a different phone on each module?

-> Response: There should be no issue doing this as each MagicJack has a different MAC address so no issue with routing even if each MJ is on the same SIP port (e.g. 5060). Of course your firewall has to be able to handle this (i.e. port forwarding). Presumably you need 3 different phone numbers and this is why you are doing this, yes? I say this as it sounds painful to have a different phone hanging off each MJ. I don't know your requirements but one idea that comes to mind (if your call volume is relatively light) is to buy one IP phone that has 3 lines and configure each line for a different phone number and route them straight to a trunking provider. I say this as I wrote an article on this some time ago and it seems it might be of interest if you want everything to go through 1 phone instead of 3.


#1 : Posted by Trevor on March 19th, 2014:

Wish I'd found this article before. I connected my ATA to my home wiring and ended up having to replace the ATA which cost me another $20!!


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