Digital Phone .. I don’t get it.

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Revolutionary changes are occurring today in both telecommunications and information technologies.

According to page


Internet Voice, also known as Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), is a technology that allows you to make telephone calls using a broadband Internet connection instead of a regular (or analog) phone line. Some services using VoIP may only allow you to call other people using the same service, but others may allow you to call anyone who has a telephone number – including local, long distance, mobile, and international numbers. Also, while some services only work over your computer or a special VoIP phone, other services allow you to use a traditional phone through an adaptor.

How VoIP / Internet Voice Works

VoIP converts the voice signal from your telephone into a digital signal that travels over the Internet. If you are calling a regular phone number, the signal is then converted back at the other end. Internet Voice can allow you to make a call directly from a computer. If you make a call using a phone with an adaptor, you’ll be able to dial just as you always have, and the service provider may also provide a dial tone. If your service assigns you a regular phone number, then a person can call you from his or her regular phone without using special equipment.

Why is this interesting to HART?

In 1976 … my folks moved out to the rural country and we shared our phone lines with our neighbors. It didn’t last long, when our phone company, M.T.S, converted it to individual lines. Two short rings and a long ring meant it was our phone number ringing. If it was one long ring, one short ring, then one long ring .. it was our neighbor’s phone ringing. As fun as that sounds, it was never fun talking to your friend, when an angry neighbor picked up the phone and started listening to your conversation and interupts your conversation by asking .. “Are you finished yet?“.

Well, that’s how I feel about the shared nodes and cable access concept. I hate it.

From all my experiences, I will promote DSL over Cable internet access. It is faster, i.m.h.o. and more reliable. I don’t have to worry about ‘busy’ times like after school or weekends to access time – all the time I get the same speeds and reliability. You can receive and download information MUCH faster on DSL, i.m.h.o. than broadband. But, with the business cable modems, I did notice one thing. I used to transfer files back and forth from work on the business broadband to my home DSL account. It was faster to upload files on cable access than DSL access.

Here is some more information about the differences at …

What is Digital Subscriber Line (DSL)?

Digital Subscriber Line is a technology for bringing high-speed and high-bandwidth, which is directly proportional to the amount of data transmitted or received per unit time, information to homes and small businesses over ordinary copper telephone lines already installed in hundreds of millions of homes and businesses worldwide. With DSL, consumers and businesses take advantage of having a dedicated, always-on connection to the Internet.

What is a Cable Modem (CM)?
Cable modems are designed to operate over cable TV lines to provide high-speed access to the Web or corporate Intranets. A power splitter and a new cable are usually required. The splitter divides the signal for the “old” installations and the new segment that connects the cable modem. No television sets are accepted on the new string that goes to the cable modem.

What is the Difference between DSL vs. Cable Modem?

Cable modem services offer shared bandwidth between your and your neighbors. Your speed will vary with how many people are on the cable modem network, which may be a disadvantage. With DSL service, you have a dedicated connection to your home.

Yes HART … but tell me something I ~ don’t ~ know!!

Okay! Okay! What you probably don’t know (and assuredly probably don’t care) … is that “Digital Phone” service is now being offered and available in my area here in Winnipeg. It is offered by Shaw Communications, who we obtain our “Digital Cable” services.

It never seemed odd that my TELEPHONE company went into the internet business with their DSL service, because people used to access the internet using a dial-up modem anyway .. (some still do). It makes sense.

But, it seems odd that my CABLE T.V. / INTERNET company has gone into the TELEPHONE business now.

Does this make sense to you? Is this Digital Phone a REVAMPED version of VoIP? Is is the same thing? I guess it’s a good thing if it fosters competition in this industry and will keep my phone bills down. I thought that natural competitors to our Phone Company would be the Satellite companies though. I’d rather have better Digital T.V. reception and less downtimes.

Take care.


Andy Merrett says:


Maybe it’s different in the US, but in the UK general DSL lines (those offered by British Telecom, for example) are also shared – this is the contention ratio. So in this respect, it makes no difference how your broadband arrives – by cable or phone line – you are potentially sharing with around 50 other people.

What about telephone companies going into the TV/entertainment market? Most comms companies (whatever their origins) have to diversify to stay competitive. I don’t see this as a problem, as you say it drives down costs and improves choice for the consumer.

Good article.

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