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Pulse to Tone Converters for Old Rotary Phones

Updated on July 2, 2014
Old Rotary Phones with VoIP
Old Rotary Phones with VoIP

Older Phones and Pulse Dialing

Smartphones have become indispensable for everyday living in many countries across the world. Several households have multiple mobile devices per individual such as mobile phones, tablets etc. With the high cost of these devices and the accompanying data plans, lots of people have considered disconnecting their landline completely in favor of mobile phones since it fulfills the majority of their needs anyway.

Even those who need a landline have switched to using VoIP rather than traditional phone services. But in spite of the growing popularity of modern devices, quite a few people still have and wish to use older rotary phones with their current phone service. However, using rotary phones is not just a matter of making sure the device can still work.

Converting Between Pulse and Tone

Rotary phones work by emitting small electrical pulses which are used by equipment at the telephone provider’s end to decode the number being dialed. On the other hand, modern touch phones use a distinctive key tone for every number which is instantly recognizable by the phone provider’s network. Even if these dial tones can be recognized by analog telephone networks, most VoIP equipment will fail to detect them. So the biggest hurdle to using a rotary phone is purely a technological one.

Nevertheless, the solution also lies in technology. There are a few vendors who sell pulse to tone converters for rotary phones which ensures that such devices can work with modern phone equipment and hosted PBX systems. In most cases, the equipment is nothing more than a small box into which the rotary phone has to be plugged. The box will also have an RJ11 connector which can plug into a regular phone jack. The equipment does not require any installation and as long as the rotary phone still works, it can be used to make and receive phone calls.

Adding Additional Features

In fact technology has even gone a step beyond just allowing rotary phones to work with VoIP. In many cases, the converter enables additional features such as speed dialing as well as the ability to dial special characters such as “*” and “#”. It even allows users to dial numbers in the middle of a call which is often necessary when navigating customer service phone trees (where you have to press 1 to continue or similar).

The reasons for using a rotary phone vary – some people have fond memories of using rotary phones when they were kids and some like the reliability of these antique devices. Whatever be the reason, those who wish to can still use these pulse to tone converters for making calls with their old and beautiful rotary phones.


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