How Does Digital Phone Service Work?

by Giselle Diamond


If you have or have been thinking about getting digital phone service, understanding how it works can make it easier to troubleshoot problems on your own, and know when to call the tech center. Working like a phone and a computer, digital phone service has proven to be cheaper and almost as reliable as conventional phone service.

Set Up

Digital phone service is set up through a digital phone service provider. They will send you a router and some software to hook up to your computer and regular telephone. The telephone is hooked up with it's regular phone cord to the router, and an Ethernet or USB cable is run from the router into the computer. A third line is run into the router from a splitter. The splitter is where the main modem line gets split into two. One goes to your computer and the other to the router. Note that without Internet access, digital phone service will not work. The software is needed so that your computer can recognize the router and the service provider over the Internet connection.

Making a Call

When you place a call to a non-digital phone number, the connection runs through the phone line, router, modem and then to the local public phone service. When the person answers on the other line they hear your voice. However, your voice has gone through some changes in order to be heard clearly. When you call from a digital phone, the sound of your voice is not in analog format. Therefore, in order for the other person to hear you, a change occurs along the connection line where your voice is transformed from a digital to an analog format.

Receiving a Call

When someone from a non-digital phone calls you, the same process happens when you make a call, only in reverse. Their voice is transformed from an analog to a digital format.


Of course the one exception is when you call someone who is on a digital phone service. There is no change of voice format necessary, and that tends to make the call less of a hassle. Although, digital phone service has come a long way, it use to be difficult to hear people and stay connected. The conversation used to time out because the system needed to buffer all the audio before transforming the format of that audio -- being your voice.


VoIP is called Voice over Internet Protocol. This applies mostly to the way your phone number is located. When you switch from a public phone service to a digital service, your number can be taken with you. You do not need to hand out a new phone number, and because the voice runs along an Internet connection, there is no need for a conventional phone line. Of course, if you have DSL connections, you are already hooked up to a conventional phone line.

Best Connection Necessary

If you are looking for quality in your digital phone service, you can sign up with the best company. However, no matter how good their quality, if your Internet tends to act up, the phone connection will also. You need to ensure you have the best Internet connection possible. This includes the speed of your connection as well. The faster the connection, the quicker your voice can be transformed from digital to analog, and vice versa for the person on the non-digital end of the conversation.

About the Author

Giselle Diamond is a freelance writer and has been writing since 1999. Diamond is experienced in writing in all genres and subjects, with distinguished experience in home and garden, culture and society, literature and psychology. Diamond has a Master of Arts in English and psychology from New York University. Diamond has articles published on both eHow and LiveStrong.

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