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What are the Different Types of Modular Jack?

By Tess C. Taylor
Updated May 16, 2024
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Modular jacks are the actual physical components that connect electrical devices, such as telephones and computers, to their outlets. Before connecting any electronic equipment for home of office use, it’s important to select the correct modular jack for the job. Once a technician has identified the type of modular jack needed based on the equipment to be connected, then the equipment will operate correctly under normal use and conditions. Modular jacks come in a wide range of different types from modular connectors and plugs, phone jacks, computer and Ethernet jacks, to Internet connections and electronic components.

In many buildings, the most common form of modular jack is the electrical connection, cord, or plug. Outlets which provide electricity to electrical-powered devices connect them via a wire or cord that hooks together in a special modular ending, such as a set of metal prongs found on the average electrical cord. Once the prongs are inserted correctly into the associated outlet, electrical power is transferred from the outlet to the device and it is ready for use. The modular jack must correspond with the outlet in order for this power exchange to take place.

Another very common type of modular jack is that of the telephone or Ethernet jack. This small unit is connected to a telephone cord which then transmits a telephone analog signal from a special phone outlet placed on a wall, desk or cubicle to the actual phone unit. If the telephone jack becomes loose or is removed from the telephone outlet for any reason, the signal is lost and phone calls cannot be made. Telephone jacks are generally small square plastic attachments which contain tiny wires inside as well as a release tab.

A third type of modular jack belongs to the personal computer that can be connected to a local or worldwide network, such as the Internet. While older desktop computers or those connecting to an internal network can connect via a telephone jack sending a signal down telephone lines facilitated by the use of a dialing modem, many computers use cable or digital signals to connect to the Internet. In some cases, the signal can also be sent wirelessly through a router, which is connected to this modular jack with a special cable.

Modular jacks are in wide use in many buildings around the globe due to their ease of use. They are an inexpensive alternative to direct wiring of electronic devices. All modular jacks are distinguished by a special code established by the registered jack system and will display a number and letter code so that electronics technicians can choose the right type for each unit. In addition, modular jacks are defined as “male” or “female,” depending on if they will be inserted or if a component will be inserted into them.

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