Need a cordless phone to work with AT&T Uverse
November 7, 2011 10:28 AM   Subscribe

I'm trying to find a simple cordless phone that will work with AT&T Uverse. I haven't had a land line, VOIP or cable in ages so I have no idea what I'm doing.

First, this is for my grandparents so simplicity is key. They want an answering machine - will this work with VOIP?

They have a IPN4320 ... router or whatever that connects their system. Their older Panasonic KX-TGA101S does not work (or we can't figure out how to hook it up) - no dial tone, no calling in or out (although when we call in, a notification appears on their TV). The TV and Internet work fine.

There is no phone jack on the back of the router thing. (I do know the difference between the Internet router and the TV router thing.)

Anyway, help?
posted by desjardins to Technology (4 answers total)
The IPN4320 is just the TV tuner; it's not a router. The phones hook up to what I think you're calling the "Internet router," the Residential Gateway (RG). Unless AT&T is using different equipment these days, there should be one or two regular old phone jacks on the back of the U-Verse gateway. Depending on the model of RG your grandparents have, look at this picture or this picture. The phone jacks are on the right hand side of both. Just plug the old Panasonic or any old phone in and you'll be in business.
posted by zsazsa at 10:42 AM on November 7, 2011 [1 favorite]

answering machines should have no problem with VoIP. it's usually fax machines that have issues with it. and, U-Verse may offer them voicemail anyway. (I vaguely recall it being accessible through the TV? I just have internet on mine.)

apart from that: is this the unit you're talking about? 'cause that's not the box to fiddle with. somewhere there should be a 2Wire box (looks like this, though yours may be a bit different as it'll have a battery backup) that does indeed have phone jacks on it. note that one is connected already; that'll be your incoming phone connection, the actual phone line connections are marked as such. (there's a photo of the back of the box on there; the two white colored jacks down at the end are the ones to use.)

they may have tried to set it up so that the existing phone jacks in the house work and are connected to the 2Wire box. if you find the box and there's already something hooked into the "Phones" jack, then you may want to try (if you haven't already) hooking the phone into a regular wall jack. if that doesn't work, then you may want to call AT&T, because if they set that up, it's broken and they ought to fix it. if it's not hooked up that way, then you may want to call AT&T anyway to see if you can get them to set that up; I'm not sure if they'd do that, but, if they did, you'd be able to just use any phone jack in the house just as you would with a regular land line.
posted by mrg at 10:46 AM on November 7, 2011

Any standard analog phone, corded or cordless will work with AT&T Uverse VoIP service. Any answering machine will work with VoIP as well. The only issue you may experience with an answering machine is that the central office voicemail (COVM) is typically activated as a service through Uverse. If they want to use the answering machine instead of COVM, call AT&T and have COVM turned off.

A Panasonic KX-TGA101S is the model number for the cordless handset only and cannot be plugged directly into a phone line. The model number for a base (where the line actually plugs in) should be any of: KX-TG1032S, KX-TG1033S, KX-TG1034S. All three of those base units should work.

Disclaimer: I work for a major landline phone manufacturer.
posted by Mister Fabulous at 12:00 PM on November 7, 2011

Response by poster: For the record, the top plugin on the 3801HGV internet router is clearly marked PHONE LINE. We bought an AT&T handset/answering machine and it was as easy as plugging the power into the wall and the phone line into the router. #facepalm

I've been hanging out with old people too long, apparently. I blew someone's mind yesterday by telling him how to close a "save as" dialog. (He'd been force restarting his computer as a workaround.) Apparently I'm a freaking technology wizard... except when it comes to phones.
posted by desjardins at 8:25 AM on November 8, 2011

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