SBC Wireless Phone/Modem Jack (SB0900)—It works!

A few months ago, the single phone line into my home office quit working.  Since I do most of my work using a high-speed cable connection and use a chordless phone for calling when I’m home, it wasn’t a huge impact.  If the high-speed went down and I temporarily need to use dial-up to connect to the Internet or needed to send or receive a fax, I strung a fifty-foot phone chord from my office to an open phone jack in the living room and hooked it up to the PC or Mac, whichever I need to use. 

This past weekend I needed to send two faxes.  All my phone chords are buried under a tong of hurriedly thrown-there stuff in the garage, the pile made to clear out enough room to store our Mitsubishi Montero inside while we ran from Hurricane Rita.  We haven’t had time to clear that stuff out, most of which is my wife’s anyway.  So, I went to Wal-Mart with the intent of buying a fifty-foot phone chord; but while I was shopping for that, I saw a wireless phone/modem jack unit made by Southeastern Bell Communications (SBC).  Retailing for $69.99, the package consisted of two somewhat rectangular units that promised to provide wireless phone and modem access to a room that didn’t have a phone jack.  The units simply needed to be plugged into an electrical outlet, and the base unit needed to be hooked up to a phone line.  The other unit, which I’ll call the “slave”, had two outlets on it, one for your modem and one for your phone.  If this thing would work, I could re-wire both my iMac and my XP for fax/modem access and also put a phone in my office if I desired.  I decided to take the plunge and give the units a test.

My home office is located in one of two small bedrooms located on one side of my house, the master bedroom is on the other, and the living room and kitchen are in between.  I had hoped to locate the base unit in the living room; but while there was an open phone jack there, the nearest power outlet was in the kitchen, requiring me to run an extension chord up over our bar to an outlet already being fully used.  No open phone jacks existed in the kitchen, so I was forced to look elsewhere.  In the master bedroom, I did find a phone jack I could use that was close enough to a power outlet to plug the base unit into it and still connect it to the phone jack.  From a test standpoint, putting the base unit in the master bedroom and the slave unit in the home office was the best set-up since that provided the largest distance between units I could get.

Installing both units was easy.  I simply plugged each unit into a power unit, hooked the base unit to a phone line and the bedroom phone into it, and hooked the PC into the slave unit.   That was it.

My first test consisted of connecting my Windows XP PC to the Internet via dial-up.  This worked on the first try and connected with a 31.6K bps speed.  Next, I hooked up my G5 iMac to the modem and also used dial-up to connect to the Net.  It took the Mac modem two negotiations to connect, though it did so, but only at slightly more than 21k.  (In a later test, I got a 28.8 K hook-up.)  So, both machines were working from a modem/dial-up standpoint.

Having tested the units’ ability to support the modem end of operations, I then set up a fax to an avionics retailer in Florida using Win Fax Pro 8 on my Windows XP PC and commanded the software to send it.  The fax transmission went without a hitch, as did a second fax transmission sent to my insurance company here in Texas.    I haven’t tested fax capability using OS X, but that is more a function of the fact I haven’t seen fax software for the Mac as capable as Win Fax Pro nor a need to fax anything from my Mac.

In general, I can recommend this unit.  It has saved me several hundred dollars in costs; before I found it, I had planned on biting the bullet and having someone crawl around my attic and re-wire the connection.  So, far, though my connection speeds have not been as fast as I remember my wired connection, the connection speed is reasonable and the trade-off  well worth the money and time I saved.  

 I give it 4 CD's.

SBC0900 Wirless Phone/Modem Jack