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 one 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.

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WhichVoIP Visitor Comments

#9 : Posted by Marlin Mabry

I have spectrum voip with their phone modem connected to my cordless base unit with answering machine and 2 other cordless phones through out the house. But when phone rings and any phone is picked up all the other phones are disabled and if I wanted to be on a conference call I could not. Why is this happening and how can it be fixed?

-> Response: This may be a setting inside the Spectrum ATA device that needs to be changed. I recommend calling them. You should be able to use all 3 cordless phones though only for 1 phone call.


#8 : Posted by Cinthia Holman

I always wanted a hamburger telephone and a coca cola phone growing up. I found one to purchase today, but I do not have a land line since I use VOIP with an Ooma Box. My house was built in the 95s so it has a lot of phone jacks and has one in my sons bedroom. I would like to purchase the hamburger phone for him but I do not know how to made it work.

-> Response: Yes the easiest option would be to buy the Ooma Linx wireless unit. Plug it into his bedroom and then connect the new phone to it.


#7 : Posted by Vishal

I have an MRC voip phone system in my vessel. I need to install cordless phones so that when the phone rings in the engine room I can answer using the cordless phone. I have Panasonic phones and I tried installing but the phone is not ringing in the engine room. Do I need to install any adapter?

-> Response: Yes you need a VoIP ATA adapter (Analog Telephone Adapter) that the cordless base must connect to. Normally the VoIP provider will tell you which ones are compatible with their service. An example of an adapter is the Grandstream HT801.


#6 : Posted by Sue

I'm about to get a home DSL hookup for wifi in my house and am getting a voip line to plug my retro Trimline 210 phone into as well. I am 100% not interested in a wireless/cordless base with multiple handsets.
My question is this, I hope you can help! This is hard to research.
So, downstairs in my livingroom beside my couch will be my 210, the DSL wifi modem, and the phone modem thing. Upstairs I have another jack in the bedroom and have another 210 phone that I'd like to be able to use in the bedroom. I'm wondering if there is ANY way to make that second phone work with the bedroom jack. Some sort of adaptor? I don't have a landline by the way. I just moved here and have ordered the DSL with the ability to use a phone with it. (cell service is costing a fortune until towers built in approx one year or more). Hopping onto Wifi with my cell will save me regarding the much more costly data issue but the telephone issue is one of wanting multiple corded phones (1 extra in this case) with the modem being downstairs in the living room.

-> Response: Presumably you are only interested in having 1 phone line (i.e. use phone downstairs or upstairs but not both at same time).
Here's what we would do:
1 - Make sure no power is coming into your house on the landline - ask the DSL provider to check.
2 - When you choose a VoIP provider, they will send you an ATA (Analog Telephone Adapter). This ATA connects to your DSL modem via CAT5/6 cable and the 210 phone connects to the ATA phone jack. If you get a RJ11 splitter you can connect the phone to the ATA and also connect a new telephone wire to the jack in your house downstairs. This presumably will then connect to the phone wiring upstairs and simply plug your 210 phone upstairs into the phone jack. So now all phones connect to the ATA and then to the Internet. But only one can be used at a time.
3 - The ATA actually powers the phones (and through the phone wiring inside your house based on 2 above) hence reason you need to ask about item 1 as can't have power coming into house on the landline in addition to ATA trying to power the phone lines as that could cause problems.
Hope this helps.


#5 : Posted by Ejv

But I need my POTS line to connect my computer to the internet (DSL). So likely not an option? Or am I missing something?

-> Response: You are absolutely correct, if you have DSL then this is not an option to you. My recommendation is to use cordless phones with multiple handsets, it is definitely the most popular way to do this.


#4 : Posted by Wayne Hooten

Maybe you can answer my questions before I make the switch. I have four wireless phones and two land lines that are all connected to my router/modem through my cable service. Will my land lines phones work the same as it works now? As of the present I use Skype for all calls out of my local area and to Germany. Can I still use Skype or must I also switch my VoIP sever.

-> Response: When you say landlines you just means regular analog phones connected through your internal phone wiring yes?
Presumably your cable provider already disconnected the phone wiring coming into your house at the NID on the side of the house, in which case you should be fine. This is needed as otherwise you have live power on the phone lines from the PSTN side and the VoIP ATA (presumably this is inside the modem/router) also tries to power the internal phone lines. This would cause problems.
Making all of your phones cordless is likely the easiest thing to do but it should be fine with your current setup, so long as disconnected at NID.
VoIP is all IP based so you can still choose to use Skype and another (or more) VoIP providers. It is just Internet traffic and they distinguish each other by the port (e.g. 5060) and MAC address i.e. the physical address (unique) for each hardware element connected to the Internet.


#3 : Posted by Val

I live in a 10 storey apartment building which is 30 years old. I want to get voip and since the building uses Bell cables I have been told I must get a dry loop.
The problem is that my computer equipment must stay in a specific room although I have 5 other phone jacks in the apartment. At present I have Bell service and my main phone is connected in the computer room with 4 satellite phones spread through the apartment.
I have been told 2 things. When they put in the dry loop in I may only be able to use one jack for the phone. Others say that all jacks can all be used. Doesn't matter how many ways I ask the question and I have asked a Bell installer, my internet provider and the VOIP company that I want to use.
Everyone says they can't tell me if I will be able to use the jack in my computer room. What has been your experience. The internet provider orders the installer to put in the dry loop but say they cannot ask them to come to the apartment to be sure the proper jack is working. The Voip service only sells the product and doesn't have anything to do with the installation and the Bell Installer that I talked to while he was working on another repair in the building couldn't tell me how to have the installation done correctly or even who to phone to have it done even if I was willing to pay for the extra service myself.
Do you have any suggestions of what to do.

-> Response: So long as you have Internet, VoIP has a chance. Use our VoIP test in order to check your current Internet (or future Internet if you need the dry loop DSL). The test will verify that you are capable of running VoIP on your Internet.
Assuming this is successful I would get some cordless DECT phones and the VoIP provider of your choosing should be able to send you an Analog Telephone Adapter (ATA). You connect your cordless phones into the ATA and then the ATA connects to the Internet modem and you are done. You won't need to use ANY phone jack in your apartment if you go down this path.
Does this make sense? I don't know why the Internet/VoIP companies didn't present this option as it's the most obvious one to me as it reduces your risk.


#2 : Posted by Dave

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

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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