How many phones/modems can I have on one phone line?

By lamensterms
Jul 14, 2008
  1. hey guys,
    ive been having random internet connection issues for the past year or so...they were bad, but now theyre not so bad. I unchecked the "allow the computer to turn off this device to save power" option in my network device properties, and since then the drop-outs have become less frequent.

    i was talking to a mate about this and he said i might be over-loading my phone line. I have one line at my house, and it is feeding 2 phones, 1 foxtel/pay tv, and my ADSL modem. so thats 4 devices on 1 line. At all the outlets there are ADSL/phone line splitters.

    Do you think that this could be the cause of my problem? how many devices and you use on 1 line?

    any help is much appreciated.


    ps: i didnt know which board to post this thread on, so i hope i made the right choice.
  2. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 14,524

    Probably the "1 foxtel/pay tv", but it may be by any message bank service (on your phone)

    The absolute best test would be to disconnect all other devices (ie 3) one evening, and then go on the Internet to see if it cuts out (depending upon how intermittant this is)

    Regarding how many devices on one line.
    According to most telecommunication networks it's one ! Unless they say that you can have more. (note this may be due to money, isn't it always?)
    Anyway, a city office block has hundreds (through an internal digital exchange) to one line. So not sure on the max. again it's up to your provider to inform you
  3. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 9,145   +597

    You can have several 'passive' devices (answering machine, phones, faxes), but only
    one active device, like your ADSL modem. The issue is sending 'data' outbound requires control of the line.

    What kind of service does the "1 foxtel/pay tv" provide (pay-per-vew, on-demand)?
    If so, it is likely to send requests to a service provider and thus interfere with the ADSL operation.
  4. Ididmyc600

    Ididmyc600 TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,415


    Not sure about on DSL lines but in the old days the line had a REN (ring equivalent number) and as such each device would have a REN value printer on the base of it, the REN was about 4 for most home phone lines, so you could have upto 4 items with a REN of 1 each.

    Check with your line provider what the REN is and then look on the bottom of your phones etc to see if they have a REN.

  5. lamensterms

    lamensterms TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 72

    thanks for all your replies dudes,

    kimsland...i will give what you suggested a try and see if we can notice any difference. the drop-outs used to be very frequent (you could have a few within a couple of hours), but no they occur less often. so if we dont have any during the experiment.... it might just be a good night.

    jobeard... i guess you could call foxtel an active device, it does have the PPV, box office and interactive services. which im guessing would be both sending and receiving information. could a solution be as simple as turning the foxtel digital box off? while were using the internet?

    Ididmyc600... i will definately be checking my devices for their RENs. and ill contact my phone service provider and ISP and word them up to.

    if the modem and foxtel are conflicting, is the best solution just to get a dedicated line for broadband?

    thanks again everyone.
  6. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 14,524

    Thats where cable comes in. Cable is generally faster too.
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