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Switching home phone from copper to fibre - installation question


I have Telus fibre installed at my house for internet and Optik TV, but am still on copper for home phone.  I have a question about feasibility to use some existing in-wall ethernet cable to connect the ONT to my house telephone wiring.   Basic problem: there is no telephone wiring or RJ11 jacks anywhere near the ONT.



Telus fibre comes through an outside wall into my main floor living room (front of house) where it's connected to a Nokia Alcatel-Lucent ONT, which in turn is connected to an Actiontec T3200 to provide internet and Optik TV to the house.  Next to the ONT and router there is a single RJ45 ethernet wall jack - one of the router's LAN outputs is connected to the RJ45 jack and its cable goes to a basement wiring closet connecting to a switch and other devices on my network.


Meanwhile in that basement wiring closet is a panel where all the telephone wiring from all over the house terminates and connects to the incoming copper telephone wires.


In the living room there are NO telephone jacks anywhere near the router or ONT. There is no easy direct path to route a new telephone wire from main floor living room ONT to the basement wiring closet. All walls and ceilings are finished and I do not want to drill any holes.  But there is that one in-use ethernet jack that goes between living room and basement wiring closet.


So my question:


Can that single RJ45 ethernet jack be reconfigured using the existing in-wall cabling to instead provide 1 RJ11 telephone line + 1 RJ45 ethernet connection and fit behind a standard single wall plate?  Is that something that a Telus installer can/will do?


I believe a standard ethernet cable contains 4 pairs, but only normally uses 2 pairs for data, correct?  so can a spare pair be wired for telephone? I believe I've seen pictures of combo wall plates with one RJ11 and one RJ45 on same plate so I'm hoping rewiring a single ethernet cable would work for this.









Community Power User
Community Power User

An alternative would be if there is a coax jack in the living room. That could be used in place of the ethernet if there's a coax outlet in or close to the wiring panel in the basement. The ethernet jack in the living room could be repurposed for phone and a MoCA adapter could be put in the panel to convert the coax back to ethernet. The panel would have to be rewired for a bit for it all to work. The MoCA adapter does need power as well. Telus does have the MoCA adapters. If you convert your phone to fibre, I'd suggest talking to the installer.


Phone lines only use a single pair. Ethernet uses all four pairs if you want gigabit speeds. If you were OK with putting a bottleneck into your home network, you could drop down to 100mbit ethernet, or 1/10th the speed and use only two pairs. That would allow one of the unused pairs to be used for a phone line. If you are able to purchase and supply the wall plates it's possible the Telus tech could do it but there is a chance they could charge for it. There is an adapter you can buy where the wall jack would not need to be re-wired though I've never used one. The adapter doesn't require any rewiring, it's low cost and it's user friendly. Just plug in the cables.


I have a multi-handset cordless phone and what I've done with my ONT is I have plugged the main base station for that phone directly into the ONT and then just have the wireless handsets spread about. It works for me but my place isn't huge.

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thanks @Nighthawk for your reply & detailed suggestions.


I didn't mention it but yes there's a coax jack in the living room, right beside the ONT. it's already in use - the coax is connected to the Actiontec, with MoCA adapters connected to Optik STBs in other rooms of the house.  However the basement wiring closet does not have any coax outlets, so the coax won't solve my problem. On top of that, my network is more complicated than I originally described above, in that I actually have a 2nd router in the living room - it's actually that 2nd router's LAN port that's connected to the RJ45 jack, so even if the basement closet had coax available it wouldn't do me any good.


I hadn't thought about gigabit ethernet using all 4 pairs in the cable - thanks for confirming that. Also the adapter you pointed to looks useful, perhaps that's an acceptable solution if, as you say, I can live with 100mbit on that one cable run. It's definitely not ideal since one of the devices on that ethernet run is a secondary access point on my 2nd network. But maybe it's workable if I rethink my network configuration a bit and either move some devices on the other end of the run, or convert them to wireless only.


I already have a 4-handset cordless phone system but need all 4 handsets in the other rooms where they are now (none are in the living room). I suppose I could add a 5th cordless handset and move the basestation to plug directly into the ONT, but not that's not preferred since existing basestation location is better for accessing its answering machine.


thanks again for the suggestions, I figured this wasn't going to be easy.  I need to think about this a bit more...

update - I think I'm going to move my cordless phone basestation into the living room so it can be plugged into the ONT.

I decided I don't want to limit that leg of my network to 100mbit - thanks again @Nighthawk for pointing out all 4 pairs of the cable are needed for gigabit, and also for suggesting plugging the cordless phone basestation directly into the ONT.


One different question about getting home phone working on fibre - since I already have the fibre and ONT installed and working at my house, aside from plugging the cordless basestation into the POTS1 or POTS2 jack on the back of the ONT, does an installer even need to come here on-site, or can they simply enable something remotely to turn on that feature of the ONT?

@abcd @Nighthawk    My phone is on fiber  ont with batt backup.  Data cable from ont to 3200.  Pots 1 cable from ont to  wiring block for all house tel jacks. The incoming tel wires have been disconnected from the wiring block my jacks are all fed from the ont by way of pots1. I don't think you can use pots1 for phone if you are still using the copper. I think  my copper line is also opened  up at the tell pole.  My tech had to go several time to a fiber cabinet  4 blocks away to  get the phone to transfer over to fiber. Try a phone in the pots but i think its  dead. Polecat