How does the telephone work?


For a phone to function properly, a duplex coil and frequency generator/touch-tone keypad are needed. With a landline phone, two copper wires run from a box at the road to a box in the house. According to How Stuff Works, the way telephones work has not changed in nearly a century. In the simplest telephones, there are only three small parts: a hook switch, a speaker and a microphone.

Telephones change a person's voice into electric signals, and a receiver changes the signals back into a voice, according to the Telecommunications History Group. Each phone jack in the house is connected to the two copper wires. A large cable with about 100 or more copper pairs runs along the road. This cable usually goes to the phone company's switch. Every person's voice is sent down a single wire to the phone company's office. The phone line connects to a line card at the switch so a dial tone is heard. A voice can be transmitted by fiber optics, satellite or microwave towers. Computers and air help transmit phone calls unlike wires and operators from decades ago; however, if an older phone was hooked up to a wall with a phone jack, it would still operate.

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How Telephones Work
How Telephones Work
Although most of us take it completely for granted, the telephone you have in your house is one of the most amazing devices ever created. If you want to talk to... More »
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