Does VoIP Work With DSL?

By Skip Shelton

Many voice-over IP telephone devices connect to the existing home phone cabling to power all the house's phone jacks.
i Thomas Northcut/Photodisc/Getty Images

Voice-over-Internet Protocol, also known as VoIP or voice-over IP, is the data transmission protocol allowing telephone calls across Internet-connected devices. VoIP services enable you to connect your home phone to a VoIP device or to existing home wiring connected to a VoIP device. Voice-over IP requires an Internet connection, such as DSL, to transmit the voice data to the receiving party. Telephone calls placed utilizing voice-over IP transmission may or may not require the receiving party to have VoIP installed to receive the phone call, depending on the VoIP service. Many VoIP devices, once connected, operate in the same fashion as regular telephone service.

VoIP Explained

Voice-over-Internet protocol routes telephone calls across the Internet. VoIP services require broadband, or high-speed, service to function properly. These telephone calls either connect directly across the Internet to the person receiving the call, or move from the Internet to the traditional telephone infrastructure, enabling the phone call to be received through the copper wire used by standard telephone service.

VoIP Solutions

As of 2011, VoIP providers are not limited to major carriers. Solution providers sell devices that directly connect to the Internet, either as stand-alone devices connected to your modem or router or by connecting through your computer. Major carriers provide box solutions enabled with advanced calling features, such as call waiting, caller ID, call forwarding, voicemail and three-way calling. Premium packages may be required for advanced phone service.

DSL Connectivity

Digital subscriber lines, or DSL, provide high-speed Internet access through your existing telephone wiring. DSL service requires access to the phone service outside the home.

VoIP Connectivity Through DSL

VoIP devices do not differentiate between the Internet connection type, and will work fine with DSL service. VoIP devices require minimum download and upload speeds that, when achieved, enable voice service through the Internet connection. Connect your VoIP solution to the modem, home router or Internet-connected computer to receive service.

DSL Limitations

Because DSL utilizes your existing home network wiring to connect to the Internet through a phone carrier, VoIP solutions won't be able to also use the same home network wiring to distribute phone service throughout the house. VoIP whole-home service requires disconnection from the external phone service to prevent signal contamination, but DSL won't function without that connection to the external service. Therefore, you'll have to connect your phone directly to the VoIP device with a single phone.

Single VoIP Phone Connection Expansion

Many wireless home phones come with multiple receivers that all connect to a single connected source. If you are limited to a single phone to connect to the VoIP solution through DSL, using wireless receivers expands the number of connected phones in your home. Connect the wired phone transceiver to the VoIP solution, then expand the number of wireless phones linked to the single transceiver.