Why does HomePhoneWiring.com exist?
Put simply, because I enjoy helping people.
The history of Phone-man's Home Phone Wiring Advice Page:
I started "Phone-man's Advice Page" while working for Bell Atlantic (now part of
Verizon) so that when I was on commercial jobs and "by standers" asked for
advice about wiring projects at their home, I'd have an easy way to point them
in the right direction by just giving them a card with the web site address.
That saved me a lot of time by not having to repeatedly explain how to wire
jacks for two phone lines! "Phone-Man's Advice Page" existed from 1997 to 2003
as a completely free "non-commercial" advice only site, hosted at
Yahoo/Geocities for free. I didn't even accept support donations until late in
2002 after a visitor asked how they could support the site. In 2002 the monthly
traffic level began to exceed the Geocities allowed bandwidth and I was planning
to add info about DSL, which would only make matters worse. So in 2002 I
registered the domain "HomePhoneWiring.com" and moved the site to paid commercial
hosting. In 2003 I began offering some items for sale, to cover the cost of the
hosting and justify the increasingly significant amount of time spent responding
to queries generated by visitors.
Why not just refer people to other web sites?
When I started the site in 1997, there was little if any information about
telephone wiring available on the web. In fact, that is why I felt the need to
create the site: the info wasn't available elsewhere. Most manufactures now
have web sites that provide some information about installing their products.
These are typically the best "source documents" available to the general public.
Many manufactures offer some fairly general advice, but it will normally be
slanted toward use of their product. Where appropriate, I have provided links
to information at some of those sites from various pages on HomePhoneWiring.com.
Especially significant are the links regarding 66 and 110 blocks on page
http://www.homephonewiring.com/blocks.html. Unfortunately, manufactures tend
to update their sites and sometimes remove access to extremely useful
"generic" info, with little regard for maintaining access via previous URLs.
I know there are now a lot of other advice sites that offer information about
phone wiring, but I also know that a lot of people still find the info at
HomePhoneWiring.com very useful.
What is the basis of the advice offered on the site?
The advice I offer via HomePhoneWiring.com is based largely on "standard
practice", learned over the past 30-plus years. I would acknowledge that my advice
based on "standard practice" occasionally conflicts with "industry standards"
published by organizations like EIA/TIA. For example: EIA/TIA recommends using
8 pin (often referred to as RJ-45) jacks for all cable terminations, for both
voice and data. Standard practice today and I believe for the foreseeable
future is to use 6 pin (often referred to as RJ-11) jacks for residential
telephone wiring and much commercial telephone wiring, especially in very small
single location businesses where owners or employees are doing their own wiring.
So my advice focuses on using RJ-11/RJ-14 type jacks. I think that advice based
on the actual materials commonly in use is much more useful than "pie in the
sky" "industry standards".
What is my background?
Do I live off what I make via HomePhoneWiring.com?
My background includes over 30 years in the telecom field. I was in the US Army
Signal Corp for 20 years. During my Army career, I worked with voice and data
circuits and eventually was responsible for installation and management of large
telecom facilities. After "retiring" from the Army (they call it "retirement
pay", but you can't live on it!), I worked for Bell Atlantic (now part of
Verizon) for five years as a "Systems Tech", servicing voice, ISDN, and high
speed data circuits and voice switching systems. In 2000 my wife also "retired"
from the military and I left Bell Atlantic so that we could return home to
Texas. I now own my own company, CEWIM, LLC
providing telecom cabling and equipment installation and maintenance services,
mostly to customers in the Central Texas Hill Country, including the Austin and
San Antonio metro areas. CEWIM, LLC local customers include private individuals
(residential), small companies, large corporations, and government
organizations. For accounting and tax purposes, sales via HomePhoneWiring.com
are also handled as a sub-operation of CEWIM, LLC. Processing
HomePhoneWiring.com orders accounts for an ever increasing portion of my work
week. Perhaps at some point in the future I'll be able to curtail CEWIM, LLC
local operations and just operate HomePhoneWiring.com, but I suspect that day is
far in the future. Answering emails and updating and improving the advice
portions of the web site already accounts for a large chunk of my "leisure" time.
That keeps me out of my wife's way! (She has her own business, Clear Creek Originals
creating vases decorated the Texas Wildflowers.)
How is HomePhoneWiring.com different from other internet vendors?
HomePhoneWiring.com is an advice site first and an on-line store second.
Visitors can get free advice from me even if they buy materials and tools
elsewhere. Most of the items I initially offered for sale at HomePhoneWiring.com
were selected because they were not readily available in local stores or on-line
and people needed a source for those products to complete their wiring projects.
Those initial products were mostly related to DSL or more complicated
residential installations. HomePhoneWiring.com is not a large business with a
huge warehouse of products and a large work force trying to sell to as many
people as possible. HomePhoneWiring.com is just a sub-operation of my small shop
and office and I personally process almost every order; if I'm not available my
wife takes over that task. As I say in the box at the bottom of page
http://www.homephonewiring.com/materials.shtml, HomePhoneWiring.com "was not
conceived as a money making venture and I don't expect to get rich..." and
"Offering these products for sale is really just an extension of the concept of
helping people complete their home telephone wiring projects at a reasonable
cost." As time has passed, I've added numerous other items,
such as jacks, based on requests from customers. I must admit, sales have
significantly exceeded my expectations, but it won't pay the bills; I'm still
working as a cabling and equipment installation contractor. If I just wanted to
sell a lot of materials and get rich, I should remove all the "advice pages",
quit answering emails queries about things like color codes and jack
configurations, put up a really fancy on-line store, advertise, cut prices a
little, and work to achieve maximum sales volume. That's a business plan; that
was not the concept behind "Phone-Man's Advice Page". As an independent
contractor, I'm sure that the advice provided on the site has occasionally cost
me a wiring job. Many would argue that I should take the site down and quit
helping people do their own wiring because it's bad for business. Guess I think
a little different than a lot of people. I figure that people who are doing
their own work are going to do it with or without my advice, either to save
money or to gain knowledge and enjoyment. I just like to help them do it right
if possible. I'd say it's too bad some other people don't do think the same way!
Back to Phone-Man's Home Page
Copyright © 1996-2008 Keith A. Michal All Rights Reserved.
All trademarks and logos shown herein are the property of their respective proprietors.