Sharing Devices on a Phone Line

I have several devices, including a landline, a fax machine, and a modem. I reaaaally don’t want to get separate phone lines. Advice?

Having multiple dedicated phone lines for different devices can get expensive pretty quickly. Putting everything on one line makes a lot of sense, provided that you don’t need to use any of your devices simultaneously. If you need to be on the phone and sending faxes at the same time, get two lines (or switch to internet faxing).

If you want more than two devices to share a phone line, you’re need to get an intelligent phone switch or three-way splitter. It’s a device with multiple ports that plugs into your wall jack. You can then plug in your fax machine, modem, and phone and have them all work on the same line. Most of these devices will also recognize what type of information is coming in and switch over to the proper device accordingly.

If you’re OK just having your fax machine and phone share the line, there’s probably a built-in setting for that on your fax machine. Plug your fax machine into the wall jack, and then plug your phone into the fax machine (usually in the “Outgoing” port or extension). Under “Fax Mode” in your fax machine settings, make sure it’s set to Fax/Tel so your machine can switch from one to the other.

Do you have a question about faxing? Send me your fax question.