TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Re: HELP: Vonage problem after installation

Re: HELP: Vonage problem after installation

Luv post (
Sat, 6 Nov 2004 21:11:27 PST

[TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: Do you recall a message here last week
sent by a man who had just recently got Vonage service and had
hooked it up so the output from Vonage went to a telephone jack in
his house? Then when he went around his house, he expected to be
able to use the Vonage, and he *mostly* could. But on his incoming
calls there was a hassle: Vonage would ring once, then there would be
dead silence. He wondered 'what is wrong with the Vonage box?'

I told him nothing was wrong with the Vonage box except you may have
fried it by mixing it with your telephone lines, and I strongly urged
him to **disconnect it immediatly** until he got the puzzle in his
house wires cleared up, and to test the Vonage adapter by plugging a
phone into it *alone*, making sure if it did or did not work before
complaining to Vonage (he had opened a trouble ticket with them).
That is where we left off last week here. He and I had some additional
correspondence in email over the weekend, and it follows now. PAT]

He then replied:

> The Vonage box(Linksys router) is ok. I can call out(outgoing) with no
> problem. It is when someone calls me that i get one ring and then
> silence. I can also surf the net with no problem thru the Linksys
> router. So it must be something else going on. I left an email with
> Vonage Tech support, but still awaiting their response. Any other
> suggestions? Thanks.

I had noted here last week:

>> TELECOM Digest Editor <> wrote:Whatever
>> you do, *** get that Vonage adapter box disconnected from the
>> telephone line immediatly ***. NEVER hook a Vonage adapter box into a
>> phone outlet _until all phone lines are disconnected at the demarc or
>> the main terminal where they come into your house_.

>> That will probably fry the Vonage box totally, and if it has not
>> yet, I would be quite surprised. The reason your phone rings one
>> time then goes dead is due to this problem. Stop right now and
>> make sure Vonage and your telephone line do NOT see or come in
>> contact with each other. They obviously are somewhere in your
>> house.

Then he responded further in email:


Plugging the phone cord directly from phone set to Vonage box works
just fine for incoming and outgoing. Problem has been when i plug a
phone cord from my study den wall jack to Vonage box, i can't seem to
get incoming calls from any of my other rooms and kitchen wall jacks
My entire is pre-wired by my homebuilder with analog wall
jacks(numbered 2a, 2b, etc.) throughout the house. Initially, I had
plugged the phone cord from my 4a jack(Study den) to the Vonage box
directly. It worked fine for incoming and outgoing. Then I thought
why not use the phone jacks in my other rooms and kitchen. Doesn't
make sense to have to go to the Study Den everytime I get a
call. That's why I put phones in the other rooms and one in the
kitchen. Thus, other family members can pick up incoming calls
depending on where they are in the house. It rings once in those
locations for incoming calls. So I think that the wiring in my house
is something that I need to look at. Can you point me the right
direction in where to look or start? Thanks.


I responded:

A sure sign of a short somewhere on the line is when the phone
rings *ONCE* (or maybe half a ring) then dead silence. *Something* in
the Vonage box is making it think there has been an answer when there
has not been. That 'something' is a couple of wires somewhere in your
home system barely, occassionally touching. Not all the time, just
when there is a spark or a wee bit of connectivity. This condition is
NOT helping the electronics in your Vonage box at all.

If ONE phone, connected directly to the Vonage box works okay for
incoming calls, then the trouble is in your house wiring. If it still
does not work okay, then there is something wrong with the Vonage
box (a) either it was bad when it got there or (more likely) (b) the
abuse it has already suffered being directly connected for some period
of time directly to the house phone wiring has fried it.

First, please try it as I suggested, lets pin down where the trouble


[TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: He says he finally tried my suggestion,
(Vonage TA direct on a short cord to a single phone); lo and behold it
all worked just fine. I told him good, at least you did not fry the
adapter box electronics. **LEAVE IT THAT WAY UNTIL YOUR HOUSE WIRING
GETS ORGANIZED**. And he said he would. But he kept objecting at
first: the person who put in his phone lines put in two pairs (a) and
(b) and the (telco) phone worked okay, etc. But I explained to him
that (as far as I know) Vonage runs their phone on the first pair (in
a cable with two pairs) just as telco does. So at the very least, you
are going to have to trick Vonage into being happy with the second
pair (normally the yellow/black) wires. But you start by going to the
demarc and pulling down the pair from the telco central office to
start with; *no* live telco service at all. When that's done, then
if you wish, plug the Vonage into some outlet somewhere and go about
your premises to each phone and see if in fact Vonage is at each of
them. If you get Vonage at each location where you had earlier been
hearing telco, then much of your trouble is over. At least your (a)
pair and (b) pair are correct everywhere.

Now you are going to need to get **two line phones** everywhere you
want Vonage _and_ telco to both appear. And you still have telco
totally disconnected at the demarc, right? Just leave it alone for
now. Stay away from that demarc! Now you have your **two line phones**
everywhere you want them, and Vonage is happily providing dial tone
and ringing on one of the two *line appearances* everywhere. The
other line appearance at the phone instrument is dead of course, you
disconnected telco at the demarc earlier. And I would not press my
luck with more than three appearances of the Vonage line. (We refer to
that as 'REM 3' sometimes. That's the amount of voltage the Vonage
adapter puts out, to ring up to three bells or electronic chirps at
one time. Maybe four ringers if you are still detirmined to fry the
adapter box (and then blame it all on Vonage tech support) as you were
when we started this project.

Now it is time to reconnect the central office. Go to the demarc and
listen to the two pairs out there. Probably the red/green wires which
is most likely (a). If you hear Vonage on those two wires, put them
aside. Take the two wires from the central office and attach them to
the idle pair (most likely yellow/black -- (b) of your house wires.)
Now go back inside your house and see if both line appearances work at
each phone. On the one line appearance should be Vonage; on the other
line appearance (or 'pair') should be telco. By the way, when you go
to Radio Shack or wherever to get the two line phones, *do not* let
the clerk talk you into buying more expensive 'electronic phones' with
six or eight wires coming out of them. That's just grief you (and I)
don't need, trying to get all that properly wired. I know one person
here in town who has his Vonage line show up on line 4 or line 5 of a
six-button (five line with hold) type phone. I would not wish that
sort of nightmare on anyone who was not a telephony genius which I am
not. If you want a more elegant set of instructions than what I can
give here, I suggest you look at:

How to Distribute VoIP Throughout a Home: which is Jack Decker's
offering on this topic. And to you guys eager to install Vonage or
some other kind of VOIP, good luck!

Oh! I still offer Vonage e-coupons to people who want to check out
this new phone system. You send me a note marked 'not for pub' in the
subject line, and request a coupon. You have to get the adapter box
through me (Vonage drop ships my orders) and you have to pay for a
month of service in advance. Whatever kind of service you sign up
for, Vonage then gives you a second month of the same service totally
free. PAT]

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