Troubleshoot Common Home Phone Issues

Symptom

  1. No dial tone.
  2. Voice quality issues such as:
    • Humming/buzzing/clicking/popping sounds.
    • Static/digital chirping.
    • One way voice.
    • Echo.
  3. Dropped/disconnected calls.
  4. Feature issues.
  5. Intermittent dial tone.

Cause

  1. Inside wiring issues (faulty jack, faulty splitter, deteriorated wiring).
  2. Customer owned equipment (Phone set issue, answering machine interference).
  3. Rogers area outage.
  4. Damaged cable lines.
  5. Degraded network.
  6. Power failure/no AC power to the eMTA (phone terminal).
  7. Wire misplaced or connected to the incorrect port. 

Resolution

  1. Check how many phones are connected to the line because the quality will be affected if there are more than five telephone sets.
  2. Check the phones for damaged keypads, stuck buttons, or old, damaged equipment.
  3. Ensure that the telephone cord is secure to the phone set and the telephone jack on the wall and is not frayed or damaged; a frayed or damaged telephone cord can prevent proper operation.
  4. Is this happening on a cordless phone?
    1. If yes:
      • Make sure that the base antenna is fully upright.
      • Move the handset closer to the base.
      • Make sure that the handset is properly charged.
      • Try changing the handset channels/frequencies (refer to your telephone manual).
        1. This will be necessary if there’s a Wi-Fi router in the house using the same frequency as the cordless phone).
      • Test with a corded phone if possible.
        1. Cordless phones can pick up interference, even when not in use.
      • Move the base away from any computer speakers or electronic or magnetic field.
    2. If no, proceed to next steps.
  5. If you are using cordless phones or a wired phone set that plugs into power attempt to reset the phone set by unplugging the phone from power and plugging it back in after 10 seconds. This can resolve issues such as:
    • Audio degrading the further you go from the base.
    • Others not being able hear you only when you call out.
    • No dial tone issues.
  6. If the display on your cordless handset is saying “No Link To Base” “Base Out of Range” “No Power At Base” “Connecting” “Searching” or similar, ensure that power is connected to the base and attempt a power cycle of the cordless phone if necessary.
    • If these messages persist, contact the manufacturer for further assistance as they indicate that the wireless handset can’t speak to the cordless phone main base (the charging station with the power cord and a telephone cord attached), and the phone set has an issue.
  7. Check if this issue is happening on all or just one phone set.
    • If the issue is happening on a single handset the issue might be with that particular phone or jack, if the issue is happening with all phones, go to next steps.
      1. If only one phone is not working connect a working phone to the same phone jack to determine if this issue is with that jack or handset.
  8. Locate the home phone modem (eMTA) – separate from the internet modem and usually by the fuse/electrical panel in a house or the TV or internet modem in an apartment - to see that there are at least three wires connected securely:
    • An AC power cord should be connected.
    • A coaxial cable should be screwed tightly to the back of your phone terminal.
    • An RJ11 phone cord should be connected to the TEL ½ telephone port and your wall jacks/phone set.
      1. If the phone jack is connected to the TEL 2 port instead of the TEL ½ port, remove the cord from TEL 2 and connect it to the ½ port and test your phone.
        • Note:if you have two phone lines there will be telephone cords in TEL ½ and TEL 2.
      2. If you live in apartment, attempt removing the telephone cord(s) from the eMTA and plugging it/them back in after 10 seconds have passed.
        If any of these three cords are missing, look around the box for loose cables either from a phone jack, power outlet or cable TV connection and reconnect to the back of the box, wait two minutes and check if your phone is working.
        If the issue is unresolved or you require further assistance go to step 13.
  9. Check the front of the eMTA to see which lights are on. There are eight lights and when the eMTA is working correctly the following lights should be on:
    • Power:solid green
    • DS:solid green/flashing if the primary and/or second line is in use
    • US:solid green/flashing if the primary and/or second line is in use
    • Online:solid green
    • Link:off
    • Tel1:solid green/flashing if the primary line is in use
    • Tel2:solid green/flashing if a second line is in use
    • Battery: solid green
  10. If the LED light pattern is not normal check the faulty light patterns below for the next steps. If the light pattern is normal continue to step 11.
    1. Power light off or flashing:
      • Confirm that both ends of the AC power adapter are properly connected.
      • If using a power bar or a Ground Fault Interrupt (GFI) wall outlet with a reset button check that it is turned on or that the reset button has not triggered to protect the equipment. If necessary, bypass the power bar and go direct to the wall.
      • Make sure that there has not been a power failure (the backup battery will work up to five hours during a power outage).
      • Plug another device into the exact same power outlet socket to see if it is providing power.
        1. If the socket does not provide power, check your fuse panel to ensure that none of your fuses/breakers are off. Also look for light switches that may control the power outlet and ensure they’re not turned off. If none of these are the case, an Electrician would be required to repair the outlet.
        2. If the AC power adapter is properly connected, the power outlet is working, and the Power light is still out, go to step 13.
      • US and/or DS light is flashing:
        1. Check that the coaxial cable is screwed tightly and securely at both ends of its connection, and that the wire is not in any way damaged.
        2. Proceed to Step 12 and attempt to reset the eMTA.
      • Tel 1/Tel 2 is flashing or all the lights are flashing except Tel1/Tel2:
        1. This indicates that something is using or shorting out the line. Check the home for phones that may be off the hook.
        2. If no phones are off the hook, unplug all phones or fax/answering machines from the jacks one at a time to see if doing so causes the light to stop flashing.
          • If unplugging a device causes the light to stop flashing, it’s possible that device has failed or locked up and is the cause of your issue. If the device plugs in to power, you can try to unplug it from power and plug it back in and then reconnect to the telephone jack to see if resetting it resolves the issue.
        3. Unplug the telephone cord from the back of the eMTA. Check if the light pattern has returned to normal.
          • If yes,go to Step 11 and try to directly connect your telephone to the phone terminal (eMTA).
          • If no,go to step 13.
  11. Attempt a direct connectionof your telephone to the phone terminal (eMTA) using the RJ11 phone jack.
    • Bring a working phone to the eMTA; if it’s a cordless phone ensure to bring the handset, main base with the AC power cord and phone cord with you.
    • On the back of the eMTA remove the phone cord from the telephone ½ port and set the cord aside.
    • Connect the phone cord from your phone to the back of the eMTA.
    • If this is a cordless phone make sure you connect the AC power.
    • When everything is plugged in check the handset you just connected for a dial tone.
      1. If there is still no dial tone, proceed to step 12 and reset the eMTA.
      2. If there is a dial tonethere may potentially be a wiring issue in your home. You can use your phone this way, however only the phone connected to the eMTA and any associated handsets will work.
        1. If you would like to have a technician visit to repair this issue, go to step 13.
          • Please be advised a technician fee of $49.99 plus tax may apply to any technician visit if the fault found is a result of non-Rogers equipment, or you have made changes to your wiring since the installation.
  12. Attempt to reset the eMTA.
    • To do this you will need to bring a non-sharp, pointy object (such as a pencil or paperclip) with you to the phone terminal (eMTA).
    • On the back of the eMTA look for a tiny round dark hole labeled Reset (Arris) or Reboot eMTA (Cisco/Webstar/Scientific Atlanta).
    • Poke the pointy non-metallic object into the PIN reset hole and hold it for 3-5 seconds.
    • At this point all of the lights on the eMTA should return to normal.
      1. If the lights do not change when you press the reset button, perform a hard reset of the eMTA by removing the battery, unplugging the power cord, and then plugging the power back in after one minute.
    • Check if the light pattern has returned to normal.
      1. If yes, check that your telephone(s) are working now.
        1. If you still have the same problem, the issue may be with the phone itself. If possible test with a second phone set. If the issue persists with multiple sets, go to step 13.
      2. If no, go to step 13.
  13. Contact a Home Phone Technical Support Consultant at 1-888-764-3771 for further assistance.