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 (http://www.cewim.com), 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 (http://www.ClearCreekOriginals.com), 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!



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