Nov 07

Recently we wrote about a cordless Skype phone, but here is an even better solution that we setup on an Intel CoreDuo iMac under OS X version 10.4.8. A company named Von-Phone offers a great selection of Skype compatible hardware, and they have a special page that lists Mac Skype stuff. Among the items they offer is a Skype to RJ11 USB adapter. You connect your phone, your phone line (optional), and your Mac using a USB port and then you install a special driver that intercepts the Skype audio and ports it to this adapter, making a regular phone become a Skype phone. Here is a diagram of how it connects:

Now the diagram does show a PC, and it will work with a PC, but this vendor is offering a Mac driver as well, which you need to download here.

You can also see a PDF online.

I bought one, and it works great! The driver includes a volume control you can use to adjust the microphone and earpiece audio levels. I’m using it with a 2 line cordless phone. I have an ordinary phone line and my Skype adapter, each on a separate “line” of the phone.

You can initiate Skype calls from your ordinary phone by dialing 00 [number] #, so you don’t even need to touch your computer to make and receive Skype calls.

I did find out that if your computer goes to sleep with Skype running this adapter will need to be reset by disconnecting and reconnecting it. This does not seem to be a big issue, because if your computer is asleep you can’t receive Skype calls anyway. I just went into the Energy Saver Preferences Panel and set my iMac to Never Sleep.

I got fantastic service from Von-Phone. My order shipped in less than an hour, and I had the adapter the next day, partly because I live nearby in Southern California.

If you find yourself using Skype more and wishing it would work with your existing telephone, here is an inexpensive solution. I highly recommend it.

[tags]Skype, Skype phone, OS X, Reviews, Hardware[/tags]

written by Steve Rider

2 Pings to “Make Your Regular Phone Ring for Incoming Skype Calls”

  1. USB to RJ11 (phonejack) adapter? - MacNN Forums Says:

    […] As you know, the Yealink product states its Mac compatible: USB Skype Phone Adapter The Mac user manual is posted here:…)% 20V1.0.pdf There is also a Mac review of the product: Macs Are Great! � Make Your Regular Phone Ring for Incoming Skype Calls Last edited by rjt1000 : Today at 09:33 AM. […]

  2. Noticias y artículos interesantes del 2007-08-06 | hombrelobo, una mente dispersa Says:

    […] 11 – Macs Are Great! » Make Your Regular Phone Ring for Incoming Skype Calls […]

29 Responses to “Make Your Regular Phone Ring for Incoming Skype Calls”

  1. 1. Jim L Says:

    Does this unit throughput the called ID info to the phone from the skype call? I had a DLINK unit that did but DLINK is not supportive and the uit was icompatible with my VTECH cordless phones.


  2. 2. Steve Rider Says:

    Hi Jim

    Our phone and phone line are not set up for Caller ID, so I can’t give you a definitive answer to your question. However, based on 28 years experience in the telecommunications industry, and knowing what I do know about phone systems, I’d be very surprised if Caller ID information did not pass unaltered through this device.

  3. 3. Mike Says:

    What about my DSL filters? I have to have them with my reg. phones – does the adaptor have to have the DSL line filters?

  4. 4. Steve Rider Says:

    If you are going to connect your regular phone line as well as your computer, then I expect you would need the same DSL filter as you would use if you were connecting the phone line directly to the phone. You’d want the filter to be between the phone line and the adapter, then connect the phone directly to the adapter.

  5. 5. sohail Says:

    I installed Yealink’s Mac driver from Von-Phone to use Skype with the land-line option (dual mode). Had trouble dialing out at first (using 00-1-areacode + landline number) because I forgot to type a # sign at the end. Once I did, it works like a champ with my new 5.8 gig regular handset. Very nice!

  6. 6. roy Says:

    I bought the USB adapter from Von-Phone and downloaded skymacmate. I am getting a high pitch tone which goes away when I talk and comes back as soon as I talk. I have a 5.8GHz panasonic cordless. My voice also comes and goes if I move around the room too much.

  7. 7. Allan Says:

    Hi there was wondering if u could rack ur brains around these ones.

    I have acordless phone in one room and a normal phone in another. Both are connected on the same line.

    Firstly I can only get the fixed telephone to work, ie the portable won’t pick up the router. any ideas?

    Secondly, should the skype still be able to pick up my Logitech web cam?

    Your genius response is both awaited and appreciated.

  8. 8. Steve Rider Says:

    In order for this adapter to work with a phone, the adapter must be connected BETWEEN the phone line and the phone. It sounds as though this applies only to the phone that does work.

    The adapter connects either the computer or the phone line to the phone, it never connects the computer TO the phone line.

    I have not tried using Skype with video, but I suspect it would still work wqith the same computer connected to the adapter.

  9. 9. Marsha Fay Says:

    Will this adapter work for a fax line? I wanted to purchase another Skype Out Number and use it for a fax line when I move to Spain where I will purchase an all-in-one printer/fax/scanner to round out my office needs. This would allow my customers to send faxes using my regular U.S. number which will then forward to my Skype out number in Spain. I guess the first question really should be: “Can you use multiple Skype out numbers on one Mac?” I am running 104.10 on a Mac Book Pro 17.

    Your expert advice will be greatly appreciated. I was in Spain for a month and used the cordless phone offered by Von-Phone and it worked like a champ…customers were amazed at the clarity of the calls!!



  10. 10. Steve Rider Says:

    Hi Marsha,

    I would not expect sending faxes via Skype to work very well, if at all. Since a fax machine takes an analog image, converts it to a digital data stream, then converts that to an analog signal there is already a high degree of complexity involved. Skype takes analog signals and converts them to digital for transmission across TCP/IP networks. So in the case of faxing across Skype there would be so much signal processing that the risk of failure would be raised.

    Occams Razor teaches us not to add layers of complexity unnecessarily. Occams Razor is your friend.

    I use a service that converts incoming faxes to digital images and then emails them to me. I can also send faxes by uploading various types of files using a web browser. Check out I think it is a much better solution for what you want to do.

    I wish I could go to Spain with you! What a splendid country.

  11. 11. jon Says:

    Will this unit work with a IBook G4 ? There is only one place for plugging in a phone line…


  12. 12. Steve Rider Says:

    Hi Jon,

    I would expect it to work with your G4 iBook as long as you are running Tiger. It does not matter about your phone jack on the iBook, you only connect this gadget to your iBook using USB. The phone line and telephone are connected to the gadget, not your computer.

  13. 13. Bill D Says:

    Next obvious question is – does it work with Leopard (OS 10.5)?

  14. 14. Steve Rider Says:

    Hi Bill D,
    I’m retired now and I no longer need to use Skype as a second line, so I can’t tell you id this device works with Leopard or not. Sorry.

  15. 15. maria elena venturi Says:

    Dear: I have Vonage service (VOIP) and mac power bookG4 (wireless)I have high speed internet also wireless with the compania: Accelerated Broadband.
    I would like to know if this phone USB can read the wireless internet in my condo and I want to have one line (VOIP) to avoid paying a landline like I do with Vonge service. Please anwer me ASAP.

    Maria Elena Venturi
    Graphic/Web Designer/High Resolution Print

  16. 16. Harry Miles Says:


    I just installed the Skype adapter and SkyMacMate on an IntelMac with Leopard.

    Incoming landline calls through the adapter work great including caller ID (see question above).

    The problem is that using my vtech wireless phone, when I input the * to switch to Skype the USB light comes on briefly (500 ms), goes out and there is no transfer. Skype is activated for about the same period.

    Is there a problem with the vtech phones and this adapter?

    I will try to borrow a hardwired phone from a neighbor to check if the rest of the configuration is working. I’ll post the results.


  17. 17. Harry Miles Says:

    Tried using a phone hard wired to the Skype adapter with SkyMacMate running on an IntelMac Mini with Leopard. Worked flawlessly. It appears that there is something about the vTech wireless phone system that is not compatible with the Skype adapter.

    Any ideas?


  18. 18. Steve Says:

    Hi Harry,

    Maybe the vTech phone is eating the * key instead of sending the DTMF tone it should be. It certainly seems odd. Thanks for posting your experience.


  19. 19. Paul Says:


    I can’t seem to find the answer to this question anywhere, so I’m hoping someone here can help before I part with cash. How does the adaptor go with skype conference calls? I’d want to buy it really to use a couple of times a week for a study session with 3 other people. I’m assuming someone else hosting can dial you into a conference, but can you host one (it’s probably too basic a question). How do you dial a set of conference numbers from your phone (or would you have to do it from the computer)?


  20. 20. Steve Rider Says:

    You certainly can still dial with the Skype program while using this adapter, so I guess at a minimum you could use Skype to start a conference call.

    I don’t know how a conference call is set up in Skype, so I have no way to know if this adapter would affect it.

  21. 21. Søren Says:
    From link above it looks like that Skymacmate is not working on Intelmac or G5mac. (- also Von-phone no longer display the USB adapter as mac compatible).
    However, comment 466 from Harry Miles suggest different. Any other experiences on this matter?

  22. 22. Nil Says:

    I connected the RJ11 to the main phone line and the Cordless telephone with answering machine is connected to the RJ11. I am using skymacmate I am able to use the phone regularly but my skype calls are not going to my cordless phone.
    Please help

  23. 23. Cathy Says:

    This comment is probably way OT but I want to know if you can use this to connect a credit card machine to the Mac and then connect my Mac to a cell phone to use the credit card machine out in the field.

    The CC machine connects with a regular phone line. It’s a Macbook Pro Intel running 10.5.8 Or is there a way to connect the credit card machine directly to the cell phone (no data package) and process the charges that way?


  24. 24. John M Says:

    Hi Everyone … I am checking to see if there is any new information to add to what is already here. Some of these posts are almost antiques! I would like to buy something that will let me use a standard home wireless phone, which I have, with my MacPro sunning SKYPE. I have OS X 10.6.8. I have read so much contradictory information I am not sure what is what.

    Any good advice?


  25. 25. John M Says:

    I see where most of the postings to this site are from 2007. So, that information is four or more years old. And, following up on links and brand names mentioned here, tells me that a lot has changed since then.

    Does anyone have any current input regarding using home phones with SKYPE? I have become a real fan of SKYPE, but I am sick and tired of a head set, microphone and sitting in front of my computer. I have a nice cordless phone set up that is waiting for the right piece of equipment to come along.

    John M

  26. 26. U-C-Coskun Says:

    I wonder if you can use this device with two voip providers at the same time. ie. I use skype and 12voip. Can I use this device to receive phone calls from the same device.

  27. 27. Yishai Says:

    Whew… Figured it out on a Mac. I have this adapter. So I downloaded Skymacmate, and it would half-work (details not important). The trick was to only download and use an older version of skype, version 2.8, found here:

    Now, having skype and skymacmate running, I can pick up my regular phone (happens to be cordless), I dial 001 (for the US), then the 10 digit phone number, then # (to tell my adapter to go and use skype), and it works! It also hangs up at the end of a call by disconnecting the phone.


  28. 28. martin Says:

    Thank you Steve
    But I have a question, …
    Can I use my regular/analog line into skype? or Do you know how I can use my landline for prepaid numbers or tehcnical numbers, when it has a expensive cost and I prefer call it with a regular phone?
    thank in advance

  29. 29. bogdan Says:

    i do not have land line phone .Can i use Skype to call my parents in Poland