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"Home Run" or "Loop" Cable?  

Digital and electronic phone systems require one or more pairs of wire going from the phone back to the control unit. One cable going from the phone to the control unit is called a "home run." Two digital or electronic phones can be on the same piece of cable if there are enough pairs of wire, but they cannot be on the same circuit equipment in the phone system.

You can go to Radio Shack and buy a small plastic device that lets you hook two telephones up to one wall jack in your home. Because each "system" phone requires its own circuit in a digital or electronic phone system control unit, you cannot use that same Radio Shack device for multiline telephone systems. Each "system" phone requires a "home run" cable, that is a specific circuit that runs from the telephone system to the telephone itself.

Wiring in many homes is "looped." Many phone companies previously wired homes with two pair cable that "looped" from room to room to room, never thinking that there would be more than two lines needed in the future. This system works fine if you never need more than one or two lines and don't need intercom. However many homes these days have two lines for the parents, two lines for the teenagers, a fax line, and a modem line for the internet. "Looped" wiring does not work in these homes. If you unscrew a jack in the wall and see four wires, red, green, black, and yellow, you may very well have "looped" wire that cannot be used for most phone systems.

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