Saturday, 7 July 2007

Wired Voice Over IP (VOIP)

You don't need to miss out on the cost savings with Skype and other "VOIP" (Voice Over Internet Protocol) telephone call providers.

If you have a PC and a broadband connection you can use a standard microphone and headphones, or a USB headset or USB phone. These are readily available from suppliers such as Dabs , eBuyer or Maplin .

If you want to use an existing (wired) phone you will need an VOIP network adapter such as the Linksys PAP2T available from suppliers such as . You will need the US to UK phone adapter cables (around 85p inc. VAT) as well. You simply plug your existing telephone into the UK phone socket end of the US to UK phone adapter, plug the US end into the network adapter and connect the network adapter into your (wired) router using a CAT5e lan (patch) cable. You will need to configure the adapter to work with your specific VOIP supplier e.g. Vonage , but that is specific to the VOIP network adapter you buy and the network you sign up with.

Saturday, 23 June 2007

Wiring Up Telephone Extensions

To avoid using the really unpleasant Digital Cordless (DECT) phones you can easily obtain telephone extension kits from DIY stores or from Maplin etc. for just a few pounds, and can put the wires near-invisibly on skirting boards and under carpets.

An article that explains how to put in a comprehensive system is as follows:-

Adding additional telephone sockets

You can of course just use a single kit to run an extension up the stairs to a bedroom with little effort.

Friday, 22 June 2007

How To Plan and Set up a Wired Network

It is all very well for me to say "wi-fi" isn't safe for people to use, but you may have been sent a wireless router by your Internet Company (ISP).

You can easily replace the supplied wireless router with a stand-alone modem and wired router. For example, for TalkTalk, which requires ADSL2/2+, you could use the Netgear DG834 v3 (wired) Router purchasable from broadbandbuyer. If the wireless router has RJ-45 (phone-style) connectors and can be switched over to work without the wireless output you may be a long way towards a non-wireless network.

If you only have one PC that you need to connect, why not just connect the adsl / broadband / cable modem into the PC directly and remove the need for a network at all?

The following articles will help you to plan and build a fully comprehensive wired network. Many of the components listed can be purchased at outlets such as Maplin in the UK.

How To: Diary of a New Home Network- Part 1
How To: Diary of a New Home Network- Part 2
How To: Diary of a New Home Network - Part 3

If the tips above are somewhat over kill you can manage easily enough by running a long CAT5e or CAT6 cable (carefully - the wires are brittle) between rooms, pinning the wires under any carpets as necessary, and just use the wired router in conjunction with the cable / adsl /broadband modem. Again, outlets such as Maplin, eBuyer and Dabs all sell wired routers and adsl modems.

Other suppliers such as Silverline Tools have several useful tools at fair prices. Availability is via local agents, per post code finder, or their on-line distributors such as Kingdom Tools. (e.g. LAN tester RJ11 /45 £8.53 + vat , spring loaded Punch down tool for IDC telephone plate & Krone connections - £3.92 + vat and various crimping pliers for data and telephone cables from £3.75 + vat .)

RS Components supply their full range of communications / data supplies to hobbyists via their 'Electromail' division. Their website can be useful for product identification and information.

Ebuyer are exceptionally good for very cheap networking equipment, with half metre CAT5e cables for just 39p (inc. VAT) and £1.30 (inc. VAT) for 5m cables. Lots of other lengths are stocked up to 50m or so. There is also a good range of wired routers and switches also, from cheap brands to top brands.

For offices (or class rooms) etc. that require floor boxes Hubbell Wiring can supply these.