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Installing a Telephone System

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Whether you're putting in phone lines for a new phone or upgrading your old lines, installation is pretty simple. All it takes is a few tools and a little bit of time.

Types of Phone Systems

Before you begin, you'll need to decide what type of phone system you need. Here are the three major types of phone systems:
  • Single-line phones - These are the most common and basic types of phones. They plug directly into standard phone jacks and handle single calls. Single-line phones do not have the ability to transfer calls or to have multiple extensions. Any additional services, like caller ID or call waiting, can be arranged through the phone company. These are the phones most likely found in homes or small businesses that don't need multiple lines.

  • Small-business, multi-line phone system - For a small business that receives more calls, it might be necessary to have a phone system with more capability. A small-business, multi-line phone system includes multiple-line phones with two or more extensions and a voicemail system.

  • Large-business, multi-line phone system - These systems are perfect for large companies with 50 or more employees that handle large amounts of calls. They use high-speed phone lines (generally T1 lines) and can handle hundreds of phone lines and extensions.

Installing a Phone System

For larger businesses, the process of installing a phone system can be very complex, since the scale of the install will be significant. In these cases, it's best to have the system professionally installed. On the other hand, running phone lines through your home or small-business office isn't that difficult of a task. All you'll need is a little bit of time and a few tools.

Choose your phone lines

Analog phone lines are usually just fine for home usage, but, if you have multiple lines, multiple extensions, or phones with digital displays, you'll probably need digital phone lines. The other option is to use T1 or other high-speed phone lines, these are generally only necessary for large businesses.

Installing the lines

  • Run the phone lines from interface box (located on the outside of the building) to the phone jacks.

  • If you're merely upgrading phone lines, you can run the new lines where the old ones were. For new lines, you'll need to drill holes along the phone lines' routes (through the joists of the basement ceiling).

  • Remember not to run electrical wiring and phone lines through the same holes, as it could be dangerous if the wires were to get mixed up.

  • Leave a few extra inches of phone line in each phone jack's outlet box (these will need to be installed on studs in the walls).

  • The wire casings will then need to be stripped at each end, exposing about a half inch of bare wire. These wires should be color coded, along with the screw terminals they go to in the interface box and the phone jacks themselves.

  • There will be four wires: red, green, black, and yellow. For a single line, you'll only need to connect the red and green wires, while a two-line phone will require you to connect the black and yellow wires as well.

  • Once the wires are run and the faceplates for the phone jacks are installed, all you'll need to do is plug your phone(s) into the jack with a phone cord, and your phone system will be up and running!

Adam Mandelbaum  Posted by Adam Mandelbaum on January 7, 2013

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