Upgrading a 600-series phone socket to RJ11

Live in Australia and have an old, crusty phone socket that needs to be upgraded?  Not sure if you can DIY or whether you should call a sparky?  If so, read on.

Telecom/Telstra has installed millions of 600-series phone sockets in houses all across Australia since the 1960s.  If you have one, it probably looks something like this:

If you’ve bought a phone recently, however, the chances are it no longer has a 600-series plug.  It probably has an RJ11, RJ12 or RJ45 plug instead — something like this:

So, what you probably want to do is upgrade your old phone socket to one that will suit your new phone’s plug — something like this:

Whilst there are a lot of possible combinations of old sockets, wires and new socket options, I’m going to explain the simplest case so that you can grasp the bare essentials of what is involved.  If you are still confused at the end, keep researching or call an electrician.

If you remove the cover plate of the old (600-series) phone socket, you will see six screw terminals attached to six connectors arranged in pairs.

Each screw/connector should be numbered (from 1–6) but, if they aren’t, just start your numbering from the outermost connector in the group of four.  Thus you should have 1&2 then 3&4 then a gap (to receive the non-conducting spigot) followed by 5&6.

In the simplest case, you will only have two wires connected to screw terminals.  A white and blue striped wire should be connected to terminal 2, and a blue wire should be connected to terminal 6.  By convention, the white and blue striped wire is referred to as the “white” wire — thus white connects to terminal 2 and blue connects to terminal 6.

For a single, regular, no-frills phone line that’s all you need — one pair of copper wires.

NB:  These wires usually have ~50V DC open circuit which jumps to ~100V AC when a call comes in.  Shorting or earthing them can give you a nasty zap or damage expensive equipment at the exchange which can easily be traced back to you.  If you aren’t competent to handle such live wires without causing damage, don’t proceed — call an electrician instead.

Remove the mounting screws holding the socket’s mounting-plate to the wall.  Carefully pull the plate out so you can check the back for any surprises.

Using an insulated screwdriver, release the white wire from terminal 2.  Snip the exposed/stripped section of wire off with insulated cutters to minimise the chance of an accidental shock or short.  Carefully withdraw it from the socket.  Bend the wire out of the way and tape it for extra safety if you wish.

Using an insulated screwdriver, release the blue wire from terminal 6.  Snip the exposed/stripped section of wire off with insulated cutters to minimise the chance of an accidental shock or short.  Carefully withdraw it from the socket.  Bend the wire out of the way and tape it for extra safety if you wish.

Dispose of the 600-series socket and mountingplate.  Keep the mounting screws.

Now let’s turn our attention to the replacement socket.

The simplest Registered Jack (RJ) that will support a single phone line (pair of wires) is the RJ11.  The RJ11 has 6 Positions where wires can be inserted and connected to pins, but only 2 Contacts have actually been made — thus RJ11 is also known as a 6P2C connector.

NB:  Your phone may have an RJ12 plug.  This is exactly the same size and shape as the RJ11 but instead of only 2 Contacts it may have 4 Contacts — thus RJ12 is also known as a 6P4C connector.

All you need for a basic phone service (which fully supports ADSL in both its normal and naked forms) are two copper wires, so a 6P2C RJ11 socket is all you need.  If you can, get one.  But since it costs a negligible amount more for manufacturers to make 6P4C RJ12 sockets (which get used a lot by companies) it will probably be easier to find and use one of those instead.  Something like this would work just fine:

RJ12 IDC Socket

(“IDC RJ12 Telephone Wall Plate Socket” from Jaycar Electronics)

The back of the socket will have colour-coded slots for wires.  You run each wire through the channel in the middle, then through the same-coloured slot.

NB:  You should easily find the blue slot, but you will not find a plain white slot.  Look for a white-blue slot (often a rectangle or square split diagonally with white in one half and blue in the other) — the white and blue striped wire goes in the white-blue slot.

In each slot are two small conducting blades.  If you push the wire down to the bottom of the slot, the blades will cut through the sides of the sheath and make contact with the bare metal inside.  To help you with this process you may want to get yourself a punch down tool — something like this:

Punchdown tool

A punch-down tool is not required — you can easily accomplish the task with one or two thin screwdrivers, a pair of scissors/clippers, and by exercising a bit of care and patience. However, given that punch-down tools can be found for ridiculously low prices on eBay (e.g. $1.61 from Hong Kong with free international shipping) why not buy the tool and make your life easier?  Especially if you have more than one socket to replace, or know other people that have sockets that could do with replacing down the track?

Using a punch down tool (or otherwise) punch the white(-blue) and blue wires down into the correct positions on the RJ11/12 socket:

Punchdown in action

The above image shows not only the white(-blue) and blue wires being punched down, but others as well.  Orange and white-orange are the second pair that enable RJ12’s extra functionality.  For RJ11 you do not need to punch down anything but white(-blue) and blue.

Once you have punched down the white(-blue) and blue wires it should look something like this (but with the loose ends trimmed off):

Punchdown complete

Two wires punched down into their corresponding slots on the back of a RJ11/12 socket with all of the other wires folded out of the way (not punched into the socket).

Secure the unused wires with electrical tape, cap the back of the socket (if it has a cap) and then plug your phone into the socket and test to make sure it works.

If everything is working then push the socket into its mounting-plate and mount it on the wall using the original screws that you saved.

Tidy up and you’re done.

PS:  Assuming that you buy a RJ11/12 socket, mounting plate and punch down tool, you’re still going to have change left over from $30 and should be able to complete the above process in less than half-an-hour.  Each additional socket would cost you less than $20 (since you now have a punch down tool you would only need to buy the socket and plate) and would only take about 10 minutes to upgrade.  A sparky would charge around $80 per socket.

113 thoughts on “Upgrading a 600-series phone socket to RJ11

  1. Hey Tim,
    I have a bit of a different cable colour situation it seems. I’ve got 2 cables coming (seperate strands) with each having 1 red, blue, orange and white wires. The old 600 series socket is connected to the red and the white from one of the strands. I have ADSL running on these wires, giving me decent speeds, but I don’t get any dial tone on my phone. what could be the cause of this, if I wanted to upgrade to an RJ11 what colors correlate to the red, blue, orange and white cables (I assume they are a bit older and from the 50s/60s. thanks in advance.

  2. If you pop the cover off the 600-series socket and can see one wire connected to terminal 2 and another connected to terminal 6, treat the one connected to terminal 2 as the white(-blue) wire, and the one connected to terminal 6 as the blue wire. All of the above advice/information then applies. Ignore the other two wires.

    As for why you don’t have a dial tone… you haven’t really explained your situation. Have you ever had a dial tone? Is it a new house that you’ve just moved into? Did you once have a dial tone and it suddenly stopped working? Do you have a dial tone on a different socket, just not the one the ADSL router is connected to? I could list a couple of dozen reasons why there might not be a dial tone, but guessing is just a waste of time. A more detailed explanation of your situation would help.

  3. Thanks Tim, so the situation is that we moved into a renovated place where the 610 socket was removed from the skirting board, with just the red and white hanging out of terminals 2 and 6 (cut off). When I re-connected the red and white wires to the socket I had an internet connection but no dial tone. apparently there used to be a working phone line before we moved in, but I haven’t seen that yet. the provider did line checks and fixed some things, but still no dial tone – internet works though.

  4. The two most likely explanations are:

    1) The previous tenants had a PSTN phone connection on red and white with ADSL piggy-backing on top. Then they decided to get rid of the phone connection, which left them with Naked ADSL. Thus red and white had a dial tone but lost it.

    2) The previous tenants had a PSTN phone connection on the orange and blue wires, then added an ADSL connection on the second pair (red and white), then decommissioned the PSTN connection. Thus red and white never had a dial tone, but orange and blue might have (had) one.

    If you check the voltage across the orange and blue pair with a multimeter and get ~50VDC then 2) is probably what happened. If there’s no voltage across orange and blue then 1) is probably what happened.

    You haven’t made it clear whether or not you actually want a dial tone on the line. There’s no point worrying about the dial tone unless you are planning on signing up for a Telstra landline. There’s also no point worrying about the dial tone (or getting a Telstra landline activated) if you ever want to get the NBN, because once you sign up for the NBN they will literally cut your copper wires off and terminate your landline (within ~18 months).

    Having a dial tone on the same line won’t improve the quality/speed of your ADSL connection.

    If you are not planning on connecting to the NBN, and do want a Telstra landline, then it is your choice which “pair” you want that landline to be on. The most hassle-free option is to put it on orange and blue (your “spare pair”), as that won’t disrupt your existing ADSL connection/plan. Unless you are connected to a “congested” exchange, where lines are limited, Telstra shouldn’t have a problem with such a request.

  5. Hi Tim,
    Ive changed from older socket like in your post above with krone 8p4c connector, over the period techies both from isp etc always end up taking the wires out to do their so called check on the line etc now my concern is with the krone 8p4c jack when you take wire out and resit it multiple times just say3 times evry 2 yrs (when i have issues with line) would the 8p4c metal connector where you connect the blue white wires ware out since its been taken in out so much? Would it be best just to replace the krone 8p4c withnew one

  6. Nate, even though three line tests every two years suggests a major problem with your line, I seriously doubt that dull blades in the back of your socket are the cause. When the wires are punched down into the slots, the blades only cut through the plastic sheath surrounding the copper wire — something they should be able to do thousands of times before you need to worry about them becoming so dull that they fail to cut and make contact with the wire within.

    Having said that, accidents and manufacturing defects do happen, and it is possible that either a technician punched down a wire at a strange angle or you have a defective blade (housing). If either of these has actually happened, however, then the damage should be clearly visible upon inspection of the slots and you would have an open circuit with no dial tone or Internet at all. A socket either works or it doesn’t — there’s not much room for anything in between.

    You didn’t mention why you have to get techs in so often, so I’ll speculate:

    If your Internet connection is slow for hours on-end, then dull blades in the back of your socket are definitely not the problem.

    If your Internet connection drops out intermittently when it’s windy, then varying tension caused by a loose cable swaying due to drafts may be the cause. For this to be even remotely likely, your phone socket would need to be on an external wall, the cable would need to run up a bay (between studs) most or all of the way to the top plate, the bay behind the socket would need to be devoid of insulation, and you would probably hear a faint tapping when it’s windy as the loose cable sways and part(s) of it strike studs or noggins. Sockets are designed to hold wires attached to cables that don’t move. If the cable is moving, all bets are off as to how the socket will perform.

    Finally, if your Internet connection cuts out when it gets really cold, then the strain caused by a tight cable that contracts as it gets cold might be causing the problem — as may a ‘dry’ (cracked) joint within the socket itself. The symptoms are temperature-dependent — so disappear when it gets warmer.

  7. Hi Tim,
    Really usefull info, terrific thanks.
    My elderly father is about to get NBN turned on, his first internet experience ever. He had only and old 600 series plug in his bedroom with and extension in the dining room… I wanted to situate his router in the room with his computer, so wanted to run Cat5e cable direct from the incoming telstra copper to a nice clean RJ45 outlet. My question is about joining the cable to the incoming copper pair – had thought just about using the crimp wire gel connectors to join blue to blue and white to white/blue but have also seen Cat 5e punch down junction box connectors – have you any feelings on either method? The join would be in the roof cavity…

    cheers

  8. Your question is a bit beyond the scope of this article. Having said that, you may want to consider the following:

    Both approaches will be electrically identical — at least to start with.

    The gel connectors have the benefit of being cheaper and providing resistance to corrosion in spaces that might be somewhat humid. If your house has exhaust fans in the kitchen or bathroom that vent directly into the ceiling cavity, or recessed light fittings, or if your ceiling is poorly/minimally ventilated, then you’d be surprised how humid it can get up there. Humidity > rust > line noise > slow transfer speeds > grumpy poppa.

    Gel connectors, however, provide virtually no physical protection. Mice may chew on them, and someone crawling in the roof space may bump/yank one of the cables and tear a wire loose.

    Punch-down junction boxes cost more but provide far better physical protection. Depending on the make/model they can offer quite satisfactory IP (ingress protection) values for use in a ceiling space.

    That said, the most robust way to run a cable is in a single length with no connectors at all, which is why that’s generally the way it’s done. Terminating a cable into the back of a wall socket near the floor offers a huge amount of protection against vermin, humidity, and physical damage — especially if it’s an interior wall.

    The mere act of connecting two wires together will introduce far more line noise than a few extra metres of cable… so disconnecting the incoming line from the main socket, pulling it up into the ceiling space, then using a connector (of any sort) to extend it to a shiny new RJ45 socket in the computer room probably won’t give you as “clean” a connection as you think it would.

    If I were in a similar situation — but living in a country where citizens weren’t shackled by onerous and petty regulations — I would leave the incoming line connected to the main socket in the bedroom. I’d disconnect any other extensions that were not required (fold back and tape the bare ends of the wires so they can’t cause any problems; tag the loose end with a label noting where it runs to). I’d then run a new Cat5e extension all the way to the computer room. The existing socket in the wall would effectively act as a zero-cost connector.

    If it were done that way then if the occupants of the house later wanted to re-enable the old extension in the dining room (maybe move the router there because that location provides better WiFi coverage), then it would be trivial to do so. Also, since you’ve got a continuous Cat5e run to the computer room, you have no humidity/physical issues to worry about in the ceiling space.

    Perhaps one last thing to consider: AC power cables emit radiation that induces currents in other wires that run near to or across them. If one wishes to minimise line noise, then phone lines and power lines should be kept as far apart as practicable.

  9. Hi Tim,
    I have a non colour coded RJ 11 (or 12? Six terminals from Ideal Electrical). There are no markings whatsoever. How can I ascertain where each wire needs to go? I’m ok with wiring, but this stuff is a dark art. Because this is on an offshore island, Telstra tell me that can’t change the socket.

  10. If you view a RJ-11/12 plug from its end (with the clip facing down) and count from right-to-left, Position 3 is what you want the blue wire to connect to and Position 4 is what you want the (blue-)white wire to connect to.

    Of course, when looking at the socket (with the notch facing down) the order is reversed, so — left-to-right — you want blue wired to contact 3 and (blue-)white to contact 4.

    Take a multimeter, set it to “continuity” mode, and hold one of the probes against the contact in position 3 on the socket. Prod the metal terminals on the back of the socket, one at a time, with the other probe, until the multimeter beeps — indicating continuity between the two probes. That terminal corresponds with the contact in position 3. Mark it somehow.

    Repeat for position 4 and mark that as well.

    You now know what terminals your incoming blue and (blue-)white wires should be punched down into.

    PS: If your multimeter doesn’t have a “continuity” mode then set it to resistance mode. If the contact you are testing is connected to the terminal you are testing, the resistance will be very low. If the contact and the terminal are not connected the resistance will be very high/off the charts/infinity. Basically, only one of the terminals will “behave differently” and give you a noteworthy result whilst the other five terminals will behave the same — you are interested in the terminal that behaves differently.

  11. Thanks Tim, I really appreciate your prompt and detailed response.

    Tom

  12. Tim your article is very helpful. I am a technician myself but not recently familiar with phone connections. Thank you.

  13. You’re welcome. Once you stop doing a certain type of work the knowledge disappears at an alarming rate — you get rusty real fast. I’m all too familiar with that phenomenon! 😉

  14. Hi Tim, awesome post, thanks..! I was having drop outs recently on my NBN, and looked at my wires, they are as you say in your post, but the other way around. White is connected to 6 and Blue to 2. I tightened all the screws but did not change the wires around, and the drop outs so far have stopped. Any idea why it’s reversed?

  15. In the early days of the phone system polarity mattered. Installers, being human, made mistakes that led to fried circuits, downtime and expense. Phone companies realised that, no matter the training, this would be an ongoing problem, so they pushed through a change to the standards for telephony devices. Device manufacturers (from the era of touch-tone phones onwards) would need to include a bridge rectifier in their devices which would allow the device to ‘handle’ an accidental reversing of polarity. Since the phones were no longer sensitive to polarity, installers started caring less about getting polarity right… so from about the 1970s onwards more and more houses ended up with those two wires the wrong way around. Because the most common device connected to the line (analogue phones) still worked, and no damage was done at the exchange end, the error never got noticed/fixed.

    So, basically, your wires are reversed due to installer error, laziness or both… but thanks to bridge rectifiers connected devices still work so the mistake is rarely noticed and there is little motivation to correct it.

  16. Hi Tim,

    Great read and very informative.
    Is this white/blue scenario the same for a NBN connection??

  17. Justin, depending on where you are located, ‘a NBN connection’ can be delivered by a variety of different technologies — Satellite, Fixed Wireless, FTTP, FTTC, FTTN, HFC, etc… Only FTTC and FTTN make use of existing copper lines — so if you are going to be connected using Satellite, Fixed Wireless, FTTP or HFC then the answer is “no”.

    If you are going to be connected using FTTC or FTTN then the answer is “yes” — at least for the socket where the lead-in cable (from outside) connects. Both of those technologies transition from fiber to VDSL2, which is just a higher-speed version of ADSL. Single-pair VDSL2 has the same electrical connectivity as ADSL so interacts with in-house phone cabling in the same way.

    When FTTC/N is connected, the link to the PSTN is disconnected, so your dial-tone will be gone. Any phones you may have connected to extensions will stop working. Also, be aware that VDSL2 operates at different frequencies, so leaving old ADSL splitters/filters — and other crusty devices — connected may (probably will) cause reliability/speed issues — disconnect/remove them.

    One day we may see Bonded VDSL2, which basically takes two pairs of copper and groups them into a single logical circuit that allows higher (think gigabit) speeds and/or longer ranges than are currently possible. Most houses have two pairs of copper wires coming into them (even if only one pair has ever been used) so down the line you may need to have more than just blue and white terminated to the socket. That 4-wire technology is currently not offered by NBN.

  18. Hi Tim , I have an aerial telstra leadin cable , 2 solid wires black ( no colour code) and about 3 times the thickness of the Blue and White wires which normally connect to the 600 series connector. The pair currently has no service on it because I have a HFC cable service which includes the phone service as well.
    I will be getting NBN FTHC service shortly, but would like to replace the current Telstra 600 series socket with a RJ11 socket but the 2 leadin wires are definitely Black and are too thick to attach directly into the RJ11 connector.
    My question is, for a NBN FTHC service does it really matter which way the wires go into the RJ11 connector ( pins 3 and 4 or visa versa). Also what would be the best method of connecting 4 metres of cat 6 cable between the thick telstra leadin and the RJ11 connector. Is soldering an acceptable practice.
    Many thanks
    Peter

  19. Peter, most devices have a bridge rectifier in them to protect against accidentally crossed wires, so it shouldn’t matter. Nonetheless, you can use the terminal numbers — to which the black wires connect — to infer the colours (2=blue-white, 6=blue), and then mark or tag the black wires somehow for future reference.

    It is no longer standard practice to terminate an aerial lead-in cable to the first socket. Lead-in cables now terminate in a box outside the house, and then a different (“tie-in”) cable comes inside the home to a panel that breaks everything out. Splicing cables is also no-longer accepted practice. If there’s something wrong with a cable you use it to pull through a replacement and then discard it.

    Soldering hasn’t been done in the field for decades. There was a phase of splicing with gel-sealed connectors (like this: https://www.jaycar.com.au/crimp-wire-connectors/p/HP1270) but the industry then moved to wholesale replacement of cabling in order to maximise revenues and profits. Electrically, in all but the harshest of environments, all methods will provide identical performance.

  20. My socket has two black wires that are just copper and no blue or white wire (same as above). I have an RJ11 socket, I believe I can connect them to 3 and 4. Does it matter which way around?

  21. Great Article.

    Why would my single pair connection to an old 600 series have an earth cable attached to it? Each wire in the pair is separated and run through what looks like an old circuit component with what I assume is a green earth wire attached.

  22. Kris, the chances are that you live in an older house that once had a rotary telephone installed. Rotary telephones used pulse dialling (loop disconnect) instead of tone dialling (DTMF) and were standard before touch-tone phones became fashionable in the 1980s. In that era folks would often hook up a remote ‘ringer’ or ‘bell’ to their phone system. The wire for the ringer/bell would be run to a small sound-generating device located in a distant part of the house (or outside) so that the residents could be alerted to an incoming call, then rush across (or into) the house to pick up the handset. One problem with this arrangement was that when you dialled out, the pulses on the line would cause the sound-generating device to make a ‘tinkling’ sound. Blocking capacitors (condensers) were used to prevent the tinkle.

    Similarly, extensions in other rooms could be made to ring (on incoming calls) by running bell wires.

    Less likely — but still possible — you could be living in an area that experiences a lot of lighting activity, and you could have ceramic capacitors installed to protect attached devices by absorbing the energy from induced voltage spikes.

  23. Hi Tim,

    Hoping you can help me out. We’re in the process of renovating our home and need to reconnect the phone line. The previous owners had phones in a few rooms that have been disconnected – the sockets have been removed but the wiring remains and is operational, I know this because we had ADSL when we first moved in.

    The line that I want to connect has 4 wires, red, white, blue and black (seems like there are a few combinations on colours based on posts here). Only the blue and black were previously connected with the red and white wrapped back. I have both a CAT6 and what looks like a standard phone connector (with two sets of 3,4,5,6). Would prefer to use the CAT6 plug as the faceplate would suit better.

    Any tips on how to reconnect these wires?

    Thanks in advance,

    Steven

  24. Hi Tim,

    Hoping you can help out with an issue.

    We are renovating our home and need to reconnect a phone line for NBN. The previous owners had phones in a few rooms, the sockets for the connections have been removed but the wiring remains and is operational – I know this because we had ADSL when we moved in.

    The problem is now that the socket connections have been removed, I’m not sure how to reconnect them. The wires coming out of the wall are red, white, black and blue. Only the black and blue wires were previously connected with the red and white wrapped back.

    I have both a CAT6 and regular phone socket (with rows 3,4,5,6), would prefer to use the CAT6 as the faceplate is a better match to existing outlets.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks in advance,

    Steven

  25. Hi Tim,

    Thanks for your post. I wonder if you could help with this issue. I’ve replaced an old 600 series faceplate & old connectors with an RJ12 faceplace. This connection point at the wall has wires in and out, as the wires out go the phone socket faceplate that I actually use. Only two connections to make but I traced it all through anyway just to make sure I would be connecting it up correctly.
    When done, I have internet and phone line out, but cannot call in. I get a message saying phone not connected. So I swapped one pair of wires around, just in case I’d made a mistake, but it was the same. Internet and calls out OK, but a message saying phone not connected when I called in.

    Any help you can offer would be greatly appreciated.

    Gary.

  26. Steven, if you are planning on using existing copper wiring for a NBN connection, then you are probably in a FTTC/FTTN area. That being the case, be aware that extensions — whether they are actively in use or not — can have a dramatic negative impact on FTTC/FTTN performance.

    If you don’t like the idea of your download speeds possibly being halved, then it is in your best interest to simplify your internal wiring as much as possible. Work out what outlet is the first for your house, and disconnect everything else from it. Don’t use extensions. Connect your router to the first outlet and, if necessary, turn on WiFi or run ethernet to the rest of the house.

    Whilst extensions can be — and often are — any random combination of wire colours, you usually get a blue/white-blue pair coming into the first outlet via the lead-in cable. Most Cat6 sockets have a colour key to show you where to punch down the coloured wires — use that as a guide.

  27. Gary, the most likely cause I can think of that would make incoming calls fail would be a short circuit in a socket that is not the one you are using to call out on.

    Sometimes pets can lick (or urinate on) sockets, resulting in a DC short. If you look into all of your empty sockets with a flashlight and see that any of the gold-coloured pins are discoloured, or have corrosion-like build-up on them, then that’s most-likely your problem. Black, green and blue colours are what you should be looking for.

    Kids can also poke things into open sockets, which can bend pins enough so that they make contact with each other. Look for bent pins at the same time.

    Bent pins can also be caused by folks accidentally inserting the wrong type of plug into a socket. Many old handsets used a 4-Position connector, which is slightly smaller than a 6-Position connector (e.g. RJ11/12), and — if inserted — can bend the pins in the socket.

    Finally, if this symptom is recent, its onset was sudden, and you have been doing any renovating lately, consider the possibility that a plasterboard screw/nail, or finish nail/brad has actually managed to pierce one of the extension lines.

  28. Hi Tim.
    I’m hoping you can help with a rather vexing issue.
    We’ve recently had NBN connected (HFC), and internet and downstairs phone work a treat. The issue I’m having is with an upstairs phone, which allows me to ring out and take incoming calls, but refuses to ring on an incoming call (I only know to pick up if I hear the other phone ringing).
    The arrangement I have is as follows:
    TPLink Archer VR1600v Modem/router connected to NBN box;
    An ADSL filter/splitter is connected to the Phone 1 socket on Modem/Router, which gives me two connections, one for each of my phones;
    Downstairs phone (the one that works) is a Panasonic KX-TC1170ALN approx 20 yrs old, connected in series through a Telstra M450 Answering Machine, by RJ11 leads.
    The upstairs phone is a Telstra Touchfone T200R (yes, it’s ancient, but it used to work perfectly). It’s connected via an RJ-11 cable from the filter/splitter to an adaptor attached to an old Series 600 connector (2 wires: blue, white connecting to terminals 2, 6). The other end of this cable (approx 12 m away) ends in a RJ-11 socket on the wall, which takes my upstairs phone.
    I get a dial tone, but can’t get it to ring on incoming, when it’s on the wall upstairs.
    When I take this phone downstairs and connect it directly to the filter/splitter, however, it works perfectly.
    I’ve experimented with an extension lead (series 600 connectors at each end with RJ-11 adaptors), but don’t even get a dial tone with that arrangement. Yet the direct RJ-11 cable connection works fine!
    I’m not sure what’s going on, and hope you can advise.
    Thanks
    Les

  29. Hi Tim,

    Thank you so much for responding so quickly. I can’t tell you how much I appreciated that.

    So, the good news is everything is OK, there is however a bit of embarrassment on how I got there.

    From your message I was confident that I hadn’t done something silly on the connection side.  I was also about as confident as one can be that the things you told me to look out for were not the issue. Here is the problem.  When I was checking my landline by calling from my mobile, I was returning the call I had just made to the mobile from the landline.  The call on my mobile showed my local STD code & number. The system does not recognize this STD when you call it.  It  requires my State capital STD,  plus local STD without the zero, as I’m sure you and everyone else knows.  I didn’t give it a thought, just returned the call.

    I’m still puzzled as to why my mobile does not display the correct codes/number, but at this point just glad it’s all working and would like to apologise for effectively wasting your time.

    Thank you again.

    Kind Regards

    Gary.

  30. Les, if you have switched from ADSL to NBN HFC then you no longer have any need for an ADSL filter/splitter — throw it away.

    The “ideal” configuration for your phone system is to plug in the downstairs phone line into the Phone1 port on the back of the Archer, and the upstairs phone line into the Phone2 port on the back of the Archer. You don’t even need a splitter.

    If both phone ports have phones plugged in, and one VoIP number has been set up within the router with default settings, then both phones should ring on an incoming call. If they don’t, it should be straight-forward to log into the Archer’s web interface, and configure them to. You can ‘bind’ a VoIP number to a particular phone port, or to multiple phone ports. It’s just a software setting.

  31. Gary, rest easy knowing that something like that has happened to all of us at some point. I think it happened to me last year setting up VoIP for our new house. Don’t sweat it.

    I don’t know what landline phone you are using, but if it is a “more advanced” one, then you might be able to manually set/edit the phone number field that the phone uses to identify itself. If this is possible, ensure that you “fully qualify” your phone number by specifying the correct and full area code (i.e. use a 10-digit number). If your landline phone only identifies itself using the “local” (8- or 7-digit) number, then devices on the other end of the call have to make educated guesses about where you are calling from — which sometimes leads to confusion and “unpredictable” results. I’ve personally seen that happen on a number of occasions.

  32. Thanks, Tim , for prompt response.
    Yes, I agree with you on both points. I’m only using the filter/splitter to provide two outlets from the “Phone 1” port, because TPG advised me that the “Phone 2” port shouldn’t be used.
    However, it works, exactly as you’ve described … But… only when I plug my upstairs phone (T200R) directly into the “Phone 2” port (ie via a single RJ-11 cable).
    If I leave the phone on the wall upstairs, and plug it in via the existing RJ-11 adaptor- Series 600 connection – RJ-11 outlet, I get nothing: not even a dial tone.
    Which makes me think there’s an issue with the Series 600 connection, and /or wiring compatibility which prevents a proper connection being made. Or the upstairs outlet is too far away (12 m – doesn’t sound too far).
    I’ve inspected all of the connections; none of the RJ-11 pins are bent or appear discoloured, and the Series 600 connector wiring is exactly as shown in your pic above (connected to terminals 2 and 6, with what looks like a jumper to terminal 3).
    I’m not sure whether the RJ-11 connector upstairs can be affected by reversed connections, but the wires are in the same position as I found them originally.
    Pre-NBN, both phones worked perfectly.
    I’m mystified.
    If it helps, I can send photos of my arrangement.
    Thanks.
    Les

  33. Hi Tim,

    Thanks for your reply. I just wanted to let you know that you hit the nail on the head with the word “advanced.”

    It’s about 15+ years old, maybe up to 20, so there’s the cause.  I’ve still got the box & instructions so I’ll see if there are any relating to your fix.  Either way I’m just so happy the thing is working and I’ve got rid of the ugly cream coloured giant eye sore 600 series box from the wall!

    Kind Regards

    Gary.

  34. Les, I’m not sure why TPG would have given you that advice, but disregard it — it’s sub-optimal in a variety of ways, needlessly complicates your wiring, and introduces an additional variable into the situation that we can do without. Everything that follows assumes your upstairs line is connected to the Phone2 port on the Archer.

    First, can you flip your TouchFone around and check the position of the impedance switch. It’s the one that has “Norm” and “600Ω” as options. If it is set to 600Ω change it to Norm and see if your problem persists. Incorrectly setting it to 600Ω shouldn’t result in the problem you are experiencing, but we may as well check/correct that while we’re at it.

    Next, can you switch your two phones around for me, please. Only the phones — change nothing else (e.g. cables) if at all possible. If the Panasonic is upstairs (connected via Phone2), the TouchFone is downstairs (connected via Phone1), and you call your landline, what happens?

    Finally, I just want to clarify the upstairs wiring: Archer » Phone2 port » RJ11 plug » flat 4-wire cable » RJ11 plug » adapter » 600-series socket » 2-wire cable inside walls » RJ11 socket upstairs » RJ11 plug » flat 4-wire cable » RJ11 plug » TouchFone T200R. Correct?

  35. Hi Tim, and thanks again for your suggestions. Arrangement you describe is correct.
    Feedback:
    1. Impedance switch is in “NORM” position. I had fiddled with this previously- made no difference.
    2. Swapped over phones as suggested. Only one lead changed -for convenience, because original Touchfone lead upstairs was only 20 cm long. All worked perfectly.
    3. Returned phones to original configuration. No ring upstairs.
    4. Reconnected the longer lead to the Touchfone. Works perfectly!
    Tentative conclusion: dodgy final short lead to Touchfone. (And yet, it worked well pre-NBN!)

    So, Tim, speaking with you has been very instructive and helpful, and I thank you sincerely for your time and inputs. You’ve probably saved me a couple of hundred dollars or more by not having to call in a phone specialist.
    Cheers.
    Les

  36. Thanks Tim, I’ve done exactly that. Removed all extensions and connected the NBN unit (FTTC) directly to the line coming in, with a mesh WiFi system extending it throughout the house. On a 100/20 plan, I’m averaging around 98/17, which is lightspeed compared to my previous 20/8 4G connection.

    Thanks again for you advice, the info you provide here is absolute gold.

  37. Steven, I’m happy to have helped. A fast NBN connection delivered via a properly-configured mesh WiFi sure is nice to have and use. I’ve got a similar setup — used a few AVM Fritz!Box 7490s to create the mesh. No fibre in my neck of the woods, but Fixed Wireless hums along at over 60Mbps most of the time, which is plenty for our needs. Enjoy the new connection!

  38. Hi, I have a blue and white wire coming into my house and need to hook it up in the right position. Im hooking it into the back of a cat 3 socket, and have 4 slots, they are 1,2,3,4 with colours green/white, green, blue/white and blue. Where do I connect the blue and white wire?

  39. Thanks, this worked perfectly –
    Blue wire > Blue slot and White wire > Blue/White slot.

  40. Hi
    A great site and info
    I am wanting to extend my phone line with cat 6 cable and am wondering as to which cables I need to use.
    My phone line is red blue white black so how do I connect to the cat 6 cable please

  41. Bill, phones only need a single pair of wires to work, but Telecom/Telstra tended to install two pairs in older houses because it cost only marginally more to do so (most of the install cost was in labour and trenching, not in the cable itself). If you only have one active phone line, the chances are that it is on the blue and white pair. You can confirm this with a multimeter — you should detect about 50V DC across those two when you have an open circuit.

    If your Cat6 been assembled correctly according to the T-568A/B spec, then if you point the plug up towards the sky, with the clip facing away from you, you should see a blue wire connected to the 4th contact in from the left-hand side, and a blue-white wire connected to the 5th contact.

    If all of the above is true, then the incoming blue wire should connect to contact 4 (blue) on the Cat6 plug, and the incoming white wire should connect to contact 5 (blue-white) on the Cat6 plug.

    The incoming red and black wires should be inert/dead, do not need to be connected to anything, and can be safely trimmed/taped away.

  42. Hey Tim, please help, recently I bought rj 11 with red, green, black, yellow colored wire to replace old 600 phone socket, it has red, black, white, blue, green, orange colored wire, only blue wired to 2, white to 6 , I tried wired rj 11 to wall wires, red to red, green to green, black to black, yellow to orange but not working, could you please advise me how to make it work,
    Regards
    Michael

  43. Michael, cables are manufactured in different countries, to various different standards, and then imported into Australia. As a result, the colours don’t always match up. Combined with that, it looks like the polarity of your socket may have been wired in reverse by a lazy or incompetent sparky. Your telephony device should have a bridge rectifier installed that will let it handle reversed polarity, so I advise not trying to second-guess that and just make sure your end is wired properly.

    If you point your RJ-11 plug up towards the sky (with the clip facing away from you) and count from left-to-right, Position 3 is what you want socket terminal 6 to connect to and Position 4 is what you want socket terminal 2 to connect to.

    Assuming the RJ11’s colours that you listed above (red, green, black, yellow) are in order, that means you are connecting your incoming blue and white wires to the green and black pair (the middle two).

  44. Hi Tim,
    I need to replace my RJ11/12 wall connector to a CAT5 560A or B to a new wifi6 router. Now I know about the blue and white wire too. This is a NBN home. Ex Army Technician.

  45. Hi Chris. I assume 560 was a typo? You probably meant a Cat5 cable wired to the EIA/TIA-568A/B spec, correct? Anyway, I can’t see any question in your comment, so I assume you’ve got everything under control. That job should be a walk in the park for someone with your background.

  46. Hi Tim,

    I’ve spent the last few days reading over you post and multiple replies and have found it a great wealth of helpful information and knowledge – thanks very much! I think based on all of this I may have answered my own question and concerns around our current phone line setup but I thought I’d better clarify to make sure.

    As a quick background, we are renovating our current home which we purchased a couple of years ago and I’ve recently been upgrading and repairing the horrible DIY job that someone has done with the TV antenna cables. In doing this I’ve also noted that our phone outlets have some wires connected, some hanging loose in the wall, and one seemingly not connected at all. After reading all this info here, I’ve worked out that as per normal practice our phone cable comes in from the “box” on the front of the house, and is a off white cable with blue/white/red/black conductors. The blue/white pair go to the “main” outlet in the house, which our internet modem is connected to, and all works fine. The red/black pair are either not connected (loose in the wall – it appears though they have been pulled out of the existing sockets and not put back in) or connected to the outlets (which are/will be RJ12 sockets as per the Jaycar reference above).
    From that, my question is regarding the wiring of all 3 sockets in the house – should both pairs be connected to each socket as it runs through the house, or is it better to have the blue/white pair connected to the “main” outlet only, and bypassing the others? Or does having the blue/white connected to each socket make them all function the same without any issues?
    I hope that makes, but happy to clarify further if needed.

    Many thanks in advance!

    Chris.

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