Telephone Communications

How does a two-line phone splitter work?
Answered by Science Channel
  • Science Channel

    Science Channel

  1. If you have two separate telephones instead of a two-line telephone, you can still have two phone lines in your home. You accomplish this by using a device called a two-line splitter, which plugs into a standard two-line wall jack and directs one line to one phone and another line to a second phone. So you can plug two single-line phones into the double-headed jack. One phone line gets its calls from the first jack, and the other phone line gets its calls from the second jack.

    If you do have a two-line phone, there is no need for the splitter, thanks to the jack. Landline telephones have a jack that plugs into a wall receptacle. The jack can have either two wires or four. Conductors within the phone jack recognize these wires inside the phone cord and make connection to the phone line. For example, if you have four wires and two phone lines, the jack can distinguish the two lines and connect calls for two different phone lines on the same phone equipment.

    Splitter or no splitter, it's tempting to wonder, "why worry about landlines?" when so many people have cut the cord with their landline phones, opting instead for using just their cell phones or perhaps voice-over-IP telephones from their cable company or third-party provider such as Vonage. After all, the National Center for Health Statistics reported in 2008 that 15.8 percent of homes in the United States were using only wireless phones, up sharply from 6 percent of homes being wire-free just three years earlier. The same report showed individual states such as New Jersey and New York shedding some 50 percent of landlines since 2000 [source: USA Today]. Though those numbers show an undeniable trend toward wireless, and a consequent funeral march for traditional phones, they nonetheless leave many households still connected via the plain-old telephone wire.

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