Can anyone suggest someone in the San Jose area to do some basic phone line repair work? I prefer not to deal with SBC due to expense... the work would primarily involve relocating a couple of jacks, and confirming that all are in working order. Thanks in advance for any suggestions. Direct responses can be sent to geminder-at-gmail-dot-com.
The best long term solution (which is also the cheapest) is to switch your service to Vonage or another voice over IP company.
Better service, lower price, unlimited calling plans, free caller ID, voicemail, etc. Hard to understand why anyone would want to spend any money on a landline, especially if you need to make invesments on the internal workings/switches within your home to get what you need.
Check it out at http://www.Vonage.com
Personally will wait a while on internet voice over IP.
The baddies are now *also* getting into these types of accounts and use them as back doors into your computer. It can also track your phone calles and the "information" there in.
Like bank access numbers and PINs.
Since so new, no "real" protection, yet. Try to find an anti-virus program that will also protect/clean/etc voice over IP.
If your Eichler is like our 1958 model, then most of your phone outlets were added later and the wires to them were made as surface runs with the wires stapled to the wall. In our house the only exception to that was the single original phone wire that was run to the kitchen island through a run of 1/2" EMT buried under the slab.
Surface mounted wires should be pretty easy to replace and/or test. For testing, you can get a phone jack tester from places like Fry's. It consists of a little box with one or more LEDs and a small wire pig-tail with a RJ-11 plug. When not ringing, the phone line has 48v DC on it which is pretty safe to deal with. So this is a job you can do yourself with simple tools.
Rather than use the old ungraded type red/green/yellow/black wires of yore, you will probably want to use at least Level 3 rated wire and, more likely Category 5. This at least allows the possibility of running a home network over the lines. If you do this, make sure all runs from each outlet go to a common point, don't "daisy chain" the outlets.
Wiring up jacks is pretty easy. If you have a telephone outlet and the old style wire, just match color to color. If you have Level 3 or higher wire and are using RJ-45 outlets, you also just match color to color. If you have new wire and old outlets, the blue with white & white with blue wires are the equivalent of the old green and red wires. The orange/white pair in new wiring is the equivalent of the old yellow/black.
In my house I picked out a place for a "communications closet" and ran all my wires from each outlet directly to that point. I use Cat-5e and wire each outlet with Cat-5e rated RG-45 connectors. For phone use, you can plug a RJ-11 into a RJ-45 outlet. Or you can do as I have, crimp a RJ-45 connector on to the wall side of your phone wires. If you do this, and put in a Cat-5 rated patch panel you can have either high speed network access or telephone at each location.
As to the other replies, I don't think Voice over IP (VoIP) is quite ready yet. But, in my mind the issue is not privacy and safety as you can get VoIP equipment that does not use your existing computer at all and will not make it any easier for viruses to infect or hackers to attack your machine. My issue is voice quality and reliability of service. Having once worked in a slightly related field (digital satellite telephony) I know you need a medium that has uniform and timely delivery of datagrams to make the system work well. The typical home DSL and/or cable modem setup does not have the "quality of service" (QOS) required for that. Big companies that are starting to use VoIP are setting up special subnets with routers especially configured to give VoIP traffic priority over other types of datagrams. I don't believe that your local broadband provider is doing that so your call quality will be heavily dependent on the their overall system loading.
I agree with Tod. Phone lines are low voltage and I always do the maintenance myself. However, in our new Eichler we just went ahead and bought one of those Panasonic phone systems. You plug the base unit into a phone jack and put the rest of the handsets anywhere you want. You only need one working jack that way although it's nice to have a regular corded phone somewhere since the Panasonic system won't work if the power is out.
A phone base unit with remotes solved a DSL problem for me. It is a lot simpler to install filters without all the phones. The Panasonic remotes work very well and have some great features.
If this week's news is correct, internet-based phone systems, such as Vonage take away your access to 911 calling. You call 911 and their system does not know where to route your call to. Vonage is getting sued over this currently, but they deny that the problem is on their end.
I decided to go with VOIP - through Vonage. Why? I found a handful of people that use the service currently, and they all love it. Not one person I talked to had anything bad to say. Works well, and is a real money saver.
Regarding the 911 issue mentioned above? Not true. Vonage does have 911 service. The wonky part is that you have to call or use their web site to set it up. The reason? They need to link 911 calls to the appropriate place, and to do this they need to know the physical location of the phone. The make a point of calling this out - multiple times. Makes sense to me... I had the phone mailed to me in Cupertino, but the phone will be used in San Jose. There is no way for Vonage to know this besides me telling them. I would imagine that the only reason that this becomes a problem is that people who order the phone don't take the time to read the material included... which I know often happens with gadgety things that people just want to set up and use.
I was waiting for someone else to chime in on this since almost every negative posting regarding Vonage and voice over IP technology (i.e. QOS, call clarity, security, 911, other 'bugs' etc.) really no longer apply.
I agree that some of the issues raised here were real during the early days of VOIP however those early days are long gone and you would be hard pressed to find any difference between standard phone service and Vonage (with the exception of a significantly lower monthly bill and greater feature set). Everyone owes it to themselves to look at this technology IF they have high speed internet access.
I was waiting for someone else to chime in on this since almost every negative posting regarding Vonage and voice over IP technology (i.e. QOS, call clarity, security, 911, other 'bugs' etc.) really no longer apply.....
Yes and no.
It's still not as mature or safe enough for ***ME***, but I'm a scardy cat when it comes to my workstation and laptops. Too much at stake, or ***ME***.
I used to work as a Business Development manager handling IP (intellectual property) and one assignment was the company research labs. I still keep in touch with the scientists after I got laid off.
One area is VOIP and security (in general and specificaly VOIP). Had a conversation with several security scientists a few months ago on this topic.
Agree that it's *much* better, but the risk is still there and depends.
Okay, take the latest strategy of removing VOIP from the PC/Laptop/etc...but there is still a path to it if you use a PDA or download pictures/etc from your cell or VOIP to the computer.
Gambling and boils down to the amount of risk willing to take vs benefit.
I don't make that many long distance calls on my land line phones. My cell has no long distance charges in in the continent and even Hawaii (don't know about other countries, yet). So not worth the risk for **ME**.
I've had to rebuild my workstation too many times due to virus/worm/etc attacks. Both *MY* fault and not my fault. It happens.
Personal choice thing and not an absolute either way.