Telephone and Communications Technologies

Telephone service has change significantly over the past 10 years. No longer are you confined to your traditional wireline phone service from "The Phone Company", or the spotty coverage from your cell phone providers. You have many options, including service through the Internet, and service from your cable providers.

This page provides descriptions of telephone and home communications technologies. Discussion options for service providers and equipment used throughout the home, including VOIP services such as Vonage and Ooma. Some of the sites listed provide reviews on alternative telephone services and explain how to set up your home wiring for these new technologies.


You have many choices for obtianing communication services at home. Traditionally you choice was plain old telephone service from "the phone company", but not you can get service from your cable company, over the internet, or through wireless cell phone providers.
  • The Ooma system provides phone service to your home using the internet with no recurring fees (for the basic option). You pay for the box, about $250, and then get a line and service for free for the life of your device (and the company). An optional package for $100 per year gives you a second phone number, and various value added services.
  • Vonage provides another option. Vonage is the dominant carrier for internet phone services. They offer free or deeply discounted equipment when you sign up for a fixed term, and provied you with local dialtone and long distance for montly fees ranging from $17 through $25 per month depending on your needs. They usually offer promotions for reduced rates for a fixed number of months.

Distributing the phone signal through your home

Most homes have wires that run to multiple phone jacks througout the house. In most cases you can use your existing jacks to get phone service from all of your outlets, but if you do not have outlets where you need a phone, you have severla options. The easiest is to use a cordless phone. If you have other devices that need access to a phone line, you can take other approaches that use your electical wiring to give you new phone jacks. These options are discussed on various web sites.

Web Sites with Additonal Information

  • The New Options in Telephony site explains all your options for home phone service, compares startup and montly costs and reviews quality and other characteristics.
  • Some people have run into significant problems with phone service from cable companies such as Time Warner Cable.