Can I Hook Up magicJack to a Cable Modem?
By Jason Artman
The magicJack system is a Voice Over IP device that allows you to use your Internet connection at a telephone line. The original magicJack system used a USB connection, requiring you to connect the device to your computer at all times. However, it is possible to install the magicJack Plus -- released in 2011 -- without using a computer. You can connect the magicJack Plus to a cable modem with multiple Ethernet ports.
Installation Without a Computer
The magicJack Plus system has two ports: one for a telephone cable and another for an Ethernet cable. This allows you to install magicJack without connecting it to a computer. Connect the USB plug on one end of the magicJack Plus unit to the included AC adapter, and connect the AC adapter to a power outlet. Connect one end of a telephone cable to the port on the other side of the magicJack Plus, and connect the other end to a telephone. Lastly, connect an Ethernet cable to the magicJack Plus and to one of the numbered ports on a router. You can connect the magicJack Plus directly to a cable modem, but it is unwise to do so unless the cable modem has a built-in router. If the cable modem has only one Ethernet port, connecting the magicJack Plus to it will prevent other devices in the home from connecting to the Internet. Although the magicJack Plus begins working for telephone calls immediately, you must go online and complete the registration process at the magicJack website for continued service.
Installation With a Computer
If you have an original magicJack unit, you cannot connect it to a cable modem or router because it has no Ethernet port. Connect the USB plug to one of your computer's USB ports, and wait for the software to launch automatically. Follow the prompts in the software to select your phone number and input your payment information. Connect a telephone to the port on the other side of the magicJack to begin making and receiving calls.
The magicJack system requires a computer running Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7 or Mac OS X. In addition, you must have a high-speed Internet connection for reliable service. A high-delay Internet connection such as a satellite link is not recommended for magicJack.
The primary feature of magicJack is its cost; it eliminates the long-distance charges inherent in standard land-based telephone connections and allows you to make unlimited calls within the United States and Canada for a yearly fee. Because magicJack connects to the Internet rather than a phone line, it also allows you to keep your telephone number when you move. If you have access to the Internet while traveling abroad, magicJack also allows you to call back to the United States or Canada without paying tolls.
Jason Artman has been a technical writer since entering the field in 1999 while attending Michigan State University. Artman has published numerous articles for various websites, covering a diverse array of computer-related topics including hardware, software, games and gadgets.