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Definition: analog telephone

The original telephone technology, which was introduced in the late 1800s. Analog phones convert sound (air vibrations) into analogous electrical frequencies. Many homes and small offices still use analog phones, where they are likely to remain for many years. The local loop that connects homes and offices to the telephone companies is mostly analog as well (see local loop).

From Analog to Digital
In contrast, multi-line office phones that connect to an in-house PBX, as well as most cordless phone systems, convert voice to digital (see cordless phone). In addition, a huge amount of voice traffic today has become Internet based, and the phones that connect to the Internet convert voice to IP packets and vice versa (see VoIP). See analog, analog telephone adapter, AMPS, key system, PBX and DECT.

An Early Analog "Skeletal" Telephone
This Ericsson model circa 1885 was called a "skeletal phone" because you could see through it. The hand crank on the right side generated a current that rang the switchboard operator in a central office. When telephones were first installed, human operators manually switched calls between the phones in their domain.