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You can't plug a phone line into a router! That won't work because it's not designed to work. I take a look at a network that may need to be set up in tandem.

I have two wireless desktops and one laptop. I would like to use my VALET wireless router instead of the one from my phone company. I'm not able to connect my Ethernet cord from my VALET router, as it does not fit into the phone jack. Also, the only phone jack in my apartment is in another room. Is there any way that I can use my VALET instead of the ACTIONTEC provided by my phone company? Do they make something that I can connect my phone line to my Ethernet cord?

In this excerpt from Answercast #31, I look at some of the issues related to connecting the modem provided by your ISP to your own router.

Different connections

So, there's a very important misunderstanding here.

  • Your phone line, that comes into your house, is not Ethernet.

  • That means that the network connection that you're trying to plug into your phone connection won't work,

  • And that's on purpose, because they are two completely different things.

Phone line to ethernet

Now. Do you have something that will connect your phone line to your Ethernet cord?

  • Absolutely! It's called a modem. It's probably the Actiontec modem or router that you already have.

In other words, you can probably connect your Valet into your Actiontec and get pretty much everything you want.

Modems and routers

The Actiontec may or may not be acting as a router. If it is, then you've got two routers: one after the other and there may be some issues from that.

How an internet connection works:

What it boils down to is that in order to connect your computer network to your phone line, you need two things:

  1. You need a modem, which converts the DSL signal on the phone line into the Ethernet that your network would use.

  2. And a router, which takes that Ethernet connection and distributes it to multiple computers.

The Actiontec may, in fact, be a combination device. In other words, it's doing both. Internally, it has both the modem (that connects the phone signal to a network signal) and it has a router (that then distributes that network signal to your other computers.)

The Valet sounds like it's not that; it is just a router.

Connect them up

So the option you have is to connect the Valet to the Actiontec and live with any of the issues that might crop up because you're running two routers in series.

  • There can be issues,

  • But there aren't necessarily issues.

I would actually suggest you just go ahead and try this.

Contact your ISP

The other solution is to contact your provider.

Have them provide you with a plain modem for your internet connectivity; one that does nothing more than convert the phone signal to a network signal. You can then use your own router, your Valet, to distribute it to your other computers.

Article C5538 - July 2, 2012 « »

Leo Leo A. Notenboom has been playing with computers since he was required to take a programming class in 1976. An 18 year career as a programmer at Microsoft soon followed. After "retiring" in 2001, Leo started Ask Leo! in 2003 as a place for answers to common computer and technical questions. More about Leo.

Not what you needed?

Robert R
July 3, 2012 12:36 PM

Typically, you take the second router (in this case, the Valet), turn off UNPNP and DHCP then plug it's ethernet port into the Actiontec ethernet port.

What you've done is convert the second router to just be a wireless access point. You may also want to turn off the wireless on the Actiontec since you're using the Valet's wireless.

I've done that with my D-Link wireless router and it works just fine. They even had instructions in their manual to do that (it appears they've dropped that from their manuals on their latest products--too bad).

Don Cook
July 4, 2012 11:22 AM

If you have AT&T Access they have your answer with their U-Verse Router (Not the cheapest) but my hook up including Wireless all goes through their installed 3800HGV Router that supplies my TV- Wireless Broadband & In house phones, everything runs from Phone line through their adapter to cable to everything.

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