What do I do if I can't hear a dial tone?

Article author
Cogeco support
  • Updated

If you hear dead air or a constant busy signal instead of a dial tone when you pick up your phone, there are several possible causes. To troubleshoot, try the following:

  1. Check the Reported Outages page to see if you may be affected by an outage.
  2. Make sure that all of your phones are hung up properly.
  3. Check if the lights on your modem are on.

The light patterns are different on each model, but there should be some lights on the front of the modem. See below for examples or refer to our fibre optic modem article.


If you don't see any lights:

  • Check the power supply. The black cable at the back of the modem must be plugged into an electrical outlet.
  • Try a different outlet.
  • If the modem is plugged into a power bar or other switched outlet, make sure it is turned on.

If all the modem’s lights are on:

  • Make sure a telephone wire is plugged into the TEL1 port on the back of the modem and into a phone jack (or directly into your phone/base station).
  • If you subscribe to two phone lines, make sure that the two telephone wires are plugged into the correct TEL1 and TEL2 ports.

If only some of the modem’s lights are on:

  • Try to resynchronize the modem:
    • Use a straightened paper clip to push in the reset or reboot button at the back of the modem (the button is in a small hole).
    • Hold the button for 5 seconds, then wait for the modem to come back online before checking for a dial tone. 
    • Learn more about resetting a fibre optic modem.

If these solutions do not fix the problem, please contact our Technical Support team.

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