If you’re typing “Can I plug my router into any phone socket?” in the search engine, you’re definitely using a DSL (Digital subscriber line) internet service provider. There’s a difference between DSL and cable internet service providers.
Also, there’s a difference between routers and modems, and the cables we can plug into a phone socket. So, let’s discuss these differences a little further to help you understand if you can plug a router into any phone socket.
DSL Internet vs. Cable Internet
The fundamental difference between DSL and cable is that DSL is slower than cable. It offers slower speeds, and because of that, it’s cheaper. There are other differences, so let’s look at these:
- Availability: These are widespread and available in most locations. Almost every household has access to these internet service provider types. Fiber is on the rise, as the fastest type of connection.
- Speed: As we already said, DSL is slower than cable. DSL speeds go up to 400 Mbps (Megabits per second), and upload goes up to 8 Mbps. Cable download speeds go up to 1 Gbps (Gigabit per second) and upload goes up to 50 Mbps.
- Reliability: Seeing as cable connections are faster, they are also more reliable than DSL connections. Cable uses distinct lines from DSL. That’s why you’re wondering if you can plug your router into any phone socket. DSL uses old telephone lines while cable uses coaxial cables.
Different Internet Cable Types
There are three different cable types that we currently use to have an internet connection. Even if it’s a wireless internet hotspot, we need one of these to connect the hotspot to the internet access point. These are telephone lines, coaxial cables, or fiber optic cables.
DSL uses twisted pair phone cables to send and receive data. It’s not a bad connection type, but it is the slowest internet connection out there. Depending on what you need your internet connection for, this type of internet cable can be more than enough for you.
It connects through the phone socket, this is its internet access point and there’s only one jack compatible with the current DSL services, and it’s the RJ11 (Registered jack 11). This jack connects to a phone socket and to your modem.
Coaxial cables also transmit data into electrical signal form. The difference between coaxial and twisted pair cables is that coaxial cables can transfer more data. They were first used on cable TV, so they’re also referred to as coax TV cables.
If you were using a cable internet service provider, you wouldn’t be asking if you could plug your router into any phone socket. For this type of cable, you need a coax jack, and you need to connect the modem to it.
Fiber optic cables
These are cables that use fiber optic jacks, a completely different type of jack, and that’s the reason they’re not so widespread yet. Optical fiber cables use different signals from the two previous types. They transmit light signals.
They are more expensive than both twisted pairs and coaxial cables, but they offer greater speeds than other types. It’s also very reliable because weather such as storms and increased rainfall doesn’t interrupt the connection.
Router vs. Modem
Now that you know the different cable types, let’s see the difference between the router and the modem. The question “Can I plug my router into any phone socket?” might be formulated wrong because many people don’t understand the difference between these two.
Regarding that question, we cannot plug a router into any phone socket, because with a router we only get an ethernet cable, and we need the RJ11 to plug any device into a phone socket.
However, we can plug a DSL modem into a phone socket because it comes with an RJ11 cable. Other modems provided by cable or optic fiber internet service providers cannot connect to a phone socket.
Now, if you have a router/modem combo, and you’re using DSL, then you’re definitely able to connect your router/modem to a phone socket. Still, the question is, can you plug it into just about any phone socket in your house.
Can I Plug My DSL Modem Into Any Phone Socket?
The answer is yes. If you plug your DSL modem or router/modem into any phone socket in your house, and you’re a digital service subscriber, it will work. The only thing you need to worry about is the telephone you’ll be using.
If you’re still a landline user, then you might need a separate phone socket or a splitter for the internet connection and the telephone connection. Another thing you should think about is the type of cable you’re connecting.
A telephone cable that comes with your DSL modem looks a lot like an ethernet cable, but an ethernet cable can’t be pushed into a phone socket.
Technically, you can’t connect a router to any phone socket, because a router is not the same as a modem. You can connect a modem or router/modem combo to a phone socket, but it still has to be a DSL modem.
Finally, there’s a difference between the jacks you should use to connect the modem to the phone socket, and if you’re wondering between the Ethernet and RJ11 phone jack, just use the one that’s smaller. If you’re still asking yourself “Can I plug my router into any phone socket?” call your DSL provider’s customer support.
Hey, I’m David. I’ve been working as a wireless network engineer and a network administrator for 15 years. During my studies, I also worked as an ISP field technician – that’s when I met Jeremy.
I hold a bachelor’s degree in network engineering and a master’s degree in computer science and engineering. I’m also a Cisco-certified service provider.
In my professional career, I worked for router/modem manufacturers and internet providers. I like to think that I’m good at explaining network-related issues in simple terms. That’s exactly what I’m doing on this website – I’m making simple and easy-to-follow guides on how to install, set up, and troubleshoot your networking hardware. I also review new network equipment – modems, gateways, switches, routers, extenders, mesh systems, cables, etc.
My goal is to help regular users with their everyday network issues, educate them, and make them less scared of their equipment. In my articles, you can find tips on what to look for when buying new networking hardware, and how to adjust your network settings to get the most out of your wi-fi.
Since my work is closely related to computers, servers, and other network equipment, I like to spend most of my spare time outdoors. When I want to blow off some steam, I like to ride my bike. I also love hiking and swimming. When I need to calm down and clear my mind, my go-to activity is fishing.