UW Telephone Service Basics

Last updated: February 14, 2019

Dial Tone is the solid sound heard when the telephone handset is picked up or the speakerphone is on, indicating the line is in-service and ready to place a call.

UW Phone Lines use three types of technologies; analog, digital, and VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol).  All UW sites have analog service but not all have digital and VOIP. UW IT connects the type of service based on the facilities available in your building.  Service and equipment must be of the same technology as the line they are being connected to.

Analog lines translate audio signals into electronic pulses.  Referred to as single or POTS (Plain Old Telephone Service) lines, are the most common type of landlines in residences and small businesses.  They support  such services as analog and cordless telephone sets, fax machines, modems, credit card machines, and alarm services. Note that cordless phones described as digital refers to the signaling between the handset and base, not the type of line needed for the service.  They are analog and must be connected to an analog line. All analog equipment must be provided by the department (a.k.a. Customer Provide Equipment /CPE)

Digital lines change audio signals into binary code. Sometimes referred to as multi-line services, allow for advanced phone features such as the ability to answer multiple phone lines for multiple phone numbers on a single set.

VOIP lines convert analog voice signals into digital data packets and supports real-time, 2-way transmission of conversations using Internet Protocol (IP).  They support multi-line services with advanced phone features as digital lines such as the ability to answer multiple phone lines for multiple phone numbers on a single set.

Telephone Service Order Requests are handled by UW IT, including new installations, moves, changes, and disconnections of existing services.  Contact UW IT, 7-10 business days prior to your desired effective date.  UW IT provides digital/VoIP telephone sets as appropriate, to use those services ordered.  Departments must provide analog equipment (telephone, fax machines, credit card machines, etc.) as well as the cord to connect the equipment to the wall jack.

Services continue to be active and billed until UW IT receives a request to disconnect.  Departments are responsible for reviewing their billing monthly for accuracy.  Errors should be reported as soon as possible.  Credits will not be made for more than three months.

Troubleshooting Phone Problems

Trouble: Action: If Not Resolved
Have dial tone but can’t answer/calls answered at a different number Calls may be forwarded to another number. Pick up handset, dial *73 to cancel call forwarding. Try action for hearing a short ring.

If still not working, contact UW IT.

Have dial tone, hear a short ring  but can’t answer calls Send All Calls (SAC) feature may be activated.  Deactivate but depressing pre-programmed SAC button or enter *78. Try action for calls answered at a different number.

If still not working, contact UW IT.

Have dial tone but the phone doesn’t ring
  • Analog phones must to be set to tone vs. pulse.  Normally the set has a switch.
  • Analog phones usually have a volume control button, slider, or wheel. Check your manual (often found online by brand and model)
  • Digital and VoIP sets have up and down volume control buttons/levers on the base of the phone
  • Departments must replace analog  sets. If you have questions, contact UW IT.
  • Contact UW IT for additional help resolving digital and VoIP trouble.
No dial tone
  • Verify cord is securely connected to phone and active wall jack.
  • Verify handset cord is securely connected to phone and handset.
  • If your set has a speakerphone, verify whether or not you can hear dial tone through it.
  • For digital and analog sets, try the phone set in another wall jack that you know is working for the same type of line.  For analog sets, a fax line can be used.
  • For VoIP sets, unplug the cord from the back of the set for a minute, then plug the phone back in to reboot it
  • If your set works in another location but not yours, contact UW IT.
  • Departments must replace analog sets that do not work. If you have questions, contact UW IT.
  • Contact UW IT for additional help resolving digital and VoIP trouble.


Cordless phone doesn’t work
  • Require batteries. Replace or recharge them.
  • Verify the power cord is plugged in.
  • Verify the phone cord is plugged into both the phone base and wall jack, and the power cord is connected.
  • Test wall jack by connecting another known working analog phone to it
  • Note that the range of use for cordless phone signal depends on the environment it’s used in.
  • If neither set works in the same wall jack, contact UW IT.
  • If the known working phone works in the jack, the cordless phone is the problem.


Report Trouble to UW-IT. An analyst will assist with various troubleshooting steps and check your line on our end. Technicians dispatched for repair, may be charged to the department if the trouble is not found in UW IT equipment or facilities.