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Anyone Receiving Fax Sound while on Voice Calls?

jc3pojc3po Posts: 13 ✭✭✭
in Digital Phone Feb 08, 2021

2/8/2021

Folks,

I live in zip code 30253 and since November 2020, our VOIP phone is intermittently interrupted for 5-7 seconds with a Fax sound. The person on the other end of our voice call hears high pitch Fax sound, but we hear nothing on our phone. After 5-7 seconds the call reconnects; However, since 2/7/2021 sometimes it disconnects.

This problem occurs whether we initiate the call or if we receive a call. It occurs while on calls with Spectrum 611 Support too. So far, as of 2/8/2021, Spectrum Support cannot resolve this issue. More than three (3) technicians have been to our home over the past two (2) weeks but nobody has identified the issue. All wiring has been checked. The pole has been checked. The only change I am aware of at Spectrum is the implementation/roll-out of the replacement of NOMOROBO to block robo calls.

Best Answer

  • jc3pojc3po Posts: 13 ✭✭✭
    Feb 11, 2021 Accepted Answer

    Hi Sach,

    Thank you for the response and suggestions. However, we already tested your recommendations, but nothing resolved the problem. Here's some info and the fix: After 4 different technicians, we finally found and corrected the issue. First, he removed a booster and reconfigured some wiring. Next (this is what fixed the problem), I had a splitter that connected 2 RJ45 connections/wires as input and 1 output, (one for printer/fax/scanner, and one for the VOIP phone). The splitter has been plugged into the wall since 1990’s and had worked flawlessly. However, since August 2020, we began getting the fax sound during calls and it became progressively worst.

    The fix was to move the splitter (2 wires input and 1 output) from the wall outlet and plug it into the modem. That corrected the problem as of 2/10/2021. I would like to give it about one week to be fully convinced 😊

Replies

  • SatchSatch Posts: 3,972 helper
    Feb 09, 2021

    Hello,

    The obvious question is do you have a FAX line at all? And how is that configured to the modem/router? Has any equipment been replaced by the techs? Are multiple callers hearing the FAX sound, or is it just one caller/number?

    What is the make and model of your phone modem and router if applicable?

    Satch

  • jc3pojc3po Posts: 13 ✭✭✭
    Feb 10, 2021

    We have removed power cord and the RJ45 jack from printer with fax capability. That does NOT stop the fax sound while on a voice call. The printer/fax machine is set to operate manually for both incoming and outgoing faxes. The fax sound happens on any call whether originated by our phone or when someone calls us. All wiring has been checked and replaced in our home and at the pole outside. The fax sound is intermittent. It can occur immediately when someone calls us, or after a few minutes and sometimes 30 minutes. We have also been on a call for over 30 minutes with no problem, but that's a rare occurrence. The modem was replaced and has been verified OK. I'm wondering if the CODEC fo our phone is set properly? It should be either G722 or 711.

    We've had multiple technicians examine this problem, but nobody has been able to resolve it. It’s been escalated to high level but still not fixed. It occurs when we’re on a call with Spectrum Support and while technicians are at our home. So far, nothing has fixed this problem ☹

  • SatchSatch Posts: 3,972 helper
    Feb 10, 2021

    Did you have a previous printer/FAX all in one system that caused no problems? I am starting to think the problem could be that specific hardware issue and not related to Spectrum's end. Is this a new printer/FAX machine?.

    Try a temporary unplug of the Printer/ FAX device and than if no problems occur, than for some odd reason, it has to be the hardware, or a configuration issue.. What is the make and model of the all-in-one printer FAX? We could research this and see if there is a problem with this model.

    What operating system is connected to this FAX/printer set up? Is the OS up-to-date? If this thing is still under warranty, maybe take it back to exchange it for a different make and model.

    Assuming that both the FAX/ residential phone are on the same line, the only other thing that I could suggest would be getting a second line just for FAX to isolate regular calls to one line only. It is unfortunate that there would be a second charge, (from Spectrum, or really from anybody else for a second line.)

    Are you using your FAX/Printer in a home or business environment? Maybe someone else could add some ideas? I am not an authority in this area.

    Satch

  • jc3pojc3po Posts: 13 ✭✭✭
    Feb 11, 2021

    Update on 2/11/2021 @ 12:50 PM... The last visit from Spectrum technician who reconfigured some wiring, eliminated, booster, and moved splitter from wall outlet to connect directly to the modem DID NOT FIX the problem. I've called Spectrum 611 and talked to a support rep to schedule another appointment, and the fax sound occurred after about 10 minutes during our conversation. Stay tuned :(

  • Julia_RJulia_R Posts: 4,546 Lead Mod
    Feb 11, 2021


    So that I am clear, I see a message from this morning and now this afternoon. The problem is or is not fixed? I dont want to let this flounder if its not fixed.


    Julia_R

  • SatchSatch Posts: 3,972 helper
    edited February 11 Feb 11, 2021

    Hello,

    I am confused also @Julia_R We have an accepted answer marked at 7:20 and an update at 11:53 saying it is not fixed. OP should confirm. If this is not fixed, the accepted answer should be removed.

    If it is not fixed, I would say get a second phone line just for FAX calls and clear up the main line for regular calls. Thank you for the information when you said, "We have removed power cord and the RJ45 jack from printer with fax capability. That does NOT stop the fax sound while on a voice call.."

    Satch

  • SatchSatch Posts: 3,972 helper
    edited February 11 Feb 11, 2021

    Another thought,

    Since OP has mentioned:

    We have removed power cord and the RJ45 jack from printer with fax capability. That does NOT stop the fax sound while on a voice call.."

    I wonder if there is some way that your phone number somehow got hacked to someone else's FAX line?

    How long have you had Spectrum land line service?

    Have you considered talking to Spectrum about getting a new phone number for your Spectrum land line account? I would mention this to the next tech that visits.

    Satch

  • jc3pojc3po Posts: 13 ✭✭✭
    Feb 11, 2021

    UPDATE: 2/11/2021 @ 5:30 PM

    Please know the Fax sound is NOT FIXED. We have another visit from Spectrum tech support scheduled for Friday, 2/12/2021 @ 10:00 AM. I have had print/fax/scan type printers at this location since 1990's. We started to get this annoying fax sound during calls in August 2020, but it became progressively worst.

    A new/different phone number is unacceptable. We use this number for many accounts. The mention of hacking the phone number is interesting. Is there a way to check if our phone number has been mistakenly assigned to a fax machine at another location?

  • SatchSatch Posts: 3,972 helper
    Feb 11, 2021

    I'm asking some people about this.

    Satch

  • SatchSatch Posts: 3,972 helper
    Feb 12, 2021

    Hello,

    Reaching out to others, they recommend that the OP gets a new phone. I would agree with this option. I am very supportive of Panasonic products. Here are some reviews of Panasonic landline phones from Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/s?k=panasonic+landline+phones&ref=nb_sb_noss_1

    This way, you will be able to keep your existing phone number. If THAT doesn't solve this, there almost has to be something with your existing number being intercepted by a FAX machine. You have disconnected your own FAX/Printer cord and it is still happening, so we know it can't be the printer/FAX combo unit. Get a middle-priced one I would say to insure quality.

    Satch

  • jc3pojc3po Posts: 13 ✭✭✭
    Feb 12, 2021

    Thanks for the suggestion about getting a new phone. For the record, we have 7 of them :( A Spectrum supervisor & tech are scheduled to arrive this morning @ 11:00 am. Stay tuned...

  • SatchSatch Posts: 3,972 helper
    edited February 12 Feb 12, 2021

    Another suggestion,

    Have you tried just plugging the phone straight into the cable modem with no splitters or other phone lines connected to see if you get a fax tone during calls? I never saw that mentioned.

    Data dial-up and fax machine sounds can sound similar. Do you have a home security or fire alarm system? A data unit on them connected to the phone system may be trying to connect.

    Satch

  • jc3pojc3po Posts: 13 ✭✭✭
    Feb 12, 2021

    Update 2/12/2021 @ 2:46 PM

    The Spectrum supervisor and technician came today at 10:00 AM and spent another hour checking wires/connections. They connected the VOUIP phone directly to the modem and it didn't fail; however, sometimes it takes 27-30 minutes to get the fax sound/disconnect/reconnect for aprox 6 seconds. They did NOT leave the phone connected directly into the modem more than 15 minutes. Around 1:30 PM today I called our VOIP home phone from my mobile. It didn't fail with the fax sound until 17 min 20 sec into the call.

    Spectrum suspects our alarm system (also connected our wire line) could be causing the issue; however, I already suspected that, and had our alarm company come check things out on Tuesday 2/9/2021. Everything from the alarm system checked out OK. I have rescheduled the alarm people to come again on 2/16/2021 to double-check the alarm system. Stay tuned...

  • SatchSatch Posts: 3,972 helper
    edited February 12 Feb 12, 2021

    The Spectrum supervisor and technician came today at 10:00 AM and spent another hour checking wires/connections. They connected the VOUIP phone directly to the modem and it didn't fail; however, sometimes it takes 27-30 minutes to get the fax sound/disconnect/reconnect for aprox 6 seconds. They did NOT leave the phone connected directly into the modem more than 15 minutes. Around 1:30 PM today I called our VOIP home phone from my mobile. It didn't fail with the fax sound until 17 min 20 sec into the call.

    Spectrum suspects our alarm system (also connected our wire line) could be causing the issue; however, I already suspected that, and had our alarm company come check things out on Tuesday 2/9/2021. Everything from the alarm system checked out OK. I have rescheduled the alarm people to come again on 2/16/2021 to double-check the alarm system. Stay tuned...

    Did Spectrum say they can escalate further, or did they stop at believing it's your alarm system? I have this vision of all these companies passing the buck in blame to a rival company, because you likely have some complex configuration that they have never seen.

    I know you don't want to change your phone number. But let us know if they mention the phone number change or a new phone recommendation. I don't know what the alarm company is going to do that hasn't already been done. This sounds like a mess!

    Satch

  • SatchSatch Posts: 3,972 helper
    edited February 12 Feb 12, 2021

    Question,

    Is this at your business or residence?

    If this was happening to me at my residence, I would want to completely eliminate the alarm system by plugging a phone directly to the modem and making an hour long call to see if it still happens. I know it's a pain, but I would not take the alarm company's word for it that everything "checks out OK". If the issue still happens, then I would try another phone connected directly to the modem. If it still happens then something is definitely screwy with the modem or on spectrum's end.

    I don't really know how those alarm system's work, what are they designed to do if it tries to "phone home" for some reason while the line is in use?

    Very odd for sure.

    Satch

  • SatchSatch Posts: 3,972 helper
    Feb 13, 2021

    Finding out more,

    Normally the alarm system won't try if it detects the line in use (done through voltage check). If it finds it not in use, it grabs the line and dials out to it's monitoring station. Most classic alarms are wired through an RJ-31X jack to the demarc to capture the line and cutoff the house wire. Since the phone input line is now upstream of the normal phone demarc, the RJ-31X jack would have to be rewired to work correctly.

    Would recommend that mods uncheck the "Accepted Answer" until OP determines that this is solved, due to the compleity of this issue, and the fact that this is not solved.

    Satch

  • jc3pojc3po Posts: 13 ✭✭✭
    Feb 13, 2021

    UPDATE: 2/13/2021 @ 7:54 AM

    Thanks for the continued help. FYI... This is a home residence located in 30253 zip code. After the Supervisor and Technition departed yesterday morning on 2/12/2021, I received a call from Spectrum person located in Stockbridge. He said they have been monotering our phone line and saw some unusual things happening.

    In the early morning of 2/12/21 around 5:30 AM, my spouse noticed one of our phones red light (off-hook) turning on for about 6 sec, and then turns off. This happened aprox every minute for about 30 minutes. I also noticed one of the wire phones was going off-hook, and displaying "Extension In Use" after sunset last night.

    If it is the alarm system causing the issue, It's my understanding that when the monotering ststion checks the phone line to verify it's OK and detects an error, it will stay in a loop until it makes a error-free connection.

    Stay tuned :)

  • SatchSatch Posts: 3,972 helper
    Feb 13, 2021

    One of my helper guys had a question:

    Have you really paid attention to the sound to make sure it's a "fax" and not just static from a bad or nicked cable?

    Satch

  • jc3pojc3po Posts: 13 ✭✭✭
    edited February 13 Feb 13, 2021

    UPDATE on 2/13/2021 @ 1:02 PM

    Hi Satch,

    I assure U it's a Fax-Like sound. FYI... my background and experience is IT - Started as programmer in 1972. Experience in several computer languages, and promoted up the ranks to management in multi-national company. I recognize the sound of a fax-like sound, and used to get on the internet via 9600 baud modem before cable & DSL was available (:

    The Fax-Like sound only last 6-7 seconds and normally reconnects the conversation. It has only disconnected the conversation one (1) time and gave a dial tone. All the 5 technicians who have visited here along with the 611 Spectrum Support Reps have experienced the sound too.

    Spectrum seems to belive it's NOT their problem and wants me to double-check the alarm system set-up. Hope that helps… Stay tuned…

  • SatchSatch Posts: 3,972 helper
    Feb 13, 2021

    Another helper update:

    My bet is the Alarm system. But its likely not the Alarms fault.

    I'm betting when switched from POTS to Spectrum the NID was mucked with as it should have been to disconnect the POST line so the Spectrum could be backfeed from a jack to the home wiring, I'm also betting the POTS side of the RJ-31X (this is what allows the alarm to seize the line) was somehow bridged to the now inside wiring, which would really have to be done to even give the alarm a chance to dial out, So now the alarm is not reading a line in use correctly and/or trying to seize the line and make a call.

    The Alarm should be removed from the phone line completely anyways and replaced with cellular monitoring as alarm systems and VoIP do not mix anyways.

    Satch

  • SatchSatch Posts: 3,972 helper
    edited February 14 Feb 14, 2021

    Bottom line recommendation,

    You really has to eliminate issues from your own house wiring by connecting 1 phone direct to the modem, nothing else, and doing extended tests. You need a total process of elimination here.

    1 Phone + 1 modem ONLY= No other connections at all--- Remove all routers, splitters, your alarm system, your printer/FAX machine, everything. Than start testing with some one hour long calls for I would say about a week. Than, you gradually re-connect only one device at a time and repeat the process. This is going to be a long process, but it is really the best way. That's the only way this is going to get totally resolved.

    Satch

  • jc3pojc3po Posts: 13 ✭✭✭
    edited February 14 Feb 14, 2021

    UPDATE: 2/14/2021 @ 7:26 AM

    First, Happy Valentines Day! Next, Alarm company is scheduled to arrive on 2/16/2021. I will begin testing by connecting phone directly to modem. However, the testing will be performed during times when the phone is normally NOT in use, because when I connect the main VOIP phone directly into modem, none of the other six (6) phones work :(   Stay tuned....

    UPDATE: 2/14/2021 @ 8:51 AM

    OK folks, my first test I did NOT connect the main VOIP phone directly into the modem. However, I removed the splitter (2 lines in - 1 lone out) and dialed the VOIP phone number from my mobile, let it ring twice and answered the call. After 41 minutes, I got the fax sound. This reoccurred about every minute for 5 times. On the 6th recourance the fax sound took aprox 2 min 40 sec per my mobile phone timer. On the 7th reoccurance it was 6 minutes from the previous reoccurance per the timer. The 8th reoccurance was 2 minutes from the previous fax sound. After 1 hr and 4 min I ended the call. Stay tuned for next test :)

    UPDATE: 2/14/2021 @ 9:27 AM

    For this test, I connected the main VOIP wired phone directly to the modem at aprox 9:10 AM. None of the other 6 phones will have a dial tone. They are unusable during the direct connect to the modem. I will post the results of this test in another message due to the 4 hour editing limit :)

    Stay tuned...

  • Julia_RJulia_R Posts: 4,546 Lead Mod
    Feb 14, 2021


    I would definitely eliminate all but the phone direct to the modem for a test. That is going to give us a lot of information. If with nothing else in line it does not happen that tells us it is something there, the alarm system sounds most likely. The phones showing off hook is very odd. I would do a test with a regular hardwired phone direct to the modem.

    Julia_R

  • jc3pojc3po Posts: 13 ✭✭✭
    Feb 14, 2021

    UPDATE: 2/14/2021 @ 3:35 PM

    Results of testing:

    ·        At aprox 9:05 AM I disconnected the main VOIP phone from the wall outlet and connected it directly to the modem. This is the 1st or main phone that is normally connected into a RJ11/RJ45 wall outlet. I also disconnected our security alarm system via kill-switch we had installed years ago. I called the VOIP wire line from my mobile at 9:10 AM while it was directly connected to the modem. After 1 hr 5 min without any fax sound or disruption, and while all other phones (3 phones) were disconnected from the wall outlets for this test, I ended the call at 10:15 AM. Next, I reconnected the main VOIP wired phone back into the RJ11/RJ45 wall outlet with the splitter (2 in-1 out) reconnected back into the modem.

    ·        At 10:25 AM I switched the alarm system back on, and it performed a power-on/update procedure (hummm).  At 10:32 AM I called the VOIP line from my mobile phone. After 1 hr 7+ min, there was NO fax sound or disruption so I ended the call at 11:40 AM. This ended the test for the security alarm system.

    ·        At 11:43 AM I reconnected the wire phone in our kitchen and called the VOIP line from my mobile at 11:45 AM. This is the 2nd of 4 phones that connect into a RJ11/RJ45 wall outlet. After 1 hr 5 min at 12:50 PM there was no fax sound or disruption, and I ended the call.

    ·        At 12:52 PM I reconnected the wire phone in our master bedroom onto the wall outlet and called the VOIP line from my mobile at 12:55 PM. This is the 3rd of 4 phones that connect into a RJ11/RJ45 wall outlet. After 1 hr 7 min, there was NO fax sound or disruption so I ended the call at 2:02 PM.

    ·        At 2:09 PM I reconnected the wire phone in our guest bedroom onto the wall outlet and called the VOIP line from my mobile at 2:10 PM. This is the 4th of 4 phones that connect into a RJ11/RJ45 wall outlet. It’s also the base station cordless phone, and there are 3 additional cordless phones that work from the base station. At this time all phones are reconnected and have a dial tone. After 34 min I got the fax sound and it reoccurred about every minute for 3 occurrences, and didn’t reoccur for 43 minutes after the 3rd fax-sound occurrence. I ended the call at about 3:30 PM after 1:20 minutes. This concludes my testing.

  • SatchSatch Posts: 3,972 helper
    Feb 14, 2021

    At 2:09 PM I reconnected the wire phone in our guest bedroom onto the wall outlet and called the VOIP line from my mobile at 2:10 PM. This is the 4th of 4 phones that connect into a RJ11/RJ45 wall outlet. It’s also the base station cordless phone, and there are 3 additional cordless phones that work from the base station. At this time all phones are reconnected and have a dial tone. After 34 min I got the fax sound and it reoccurred about every minute for 3 occurrences, and didn’t reoccur for 43 minutes after the 3rd fax-sound occurrence. I ended the call at about 3:30 PM after 1:20 minutes. This concludes my testing.

    That tells a lot!

    Everything was fine til you got to the 4th phone in the guest bedroom. A tech communicated:

    "He maybe is exceeding the REN capacity (usually around 5) of the eMTA depending on the type of phones. Either way he has to troubleshoot his phone wiring."

    Another said: "Watch the alarm system. (I would note this to the alarm company.) Is their a pattern to when the alarm system dials out? "

    "If he watches the alarm system when he gets the ”fax” tones. He also doesn't know what the "check-in" schedule is for the alarm to call out. The system should indicate when it's attempting to dial out."

    Satch

  • jc3pojc3po Posts: 13 ✭✭✭
    Feb 14, 2021

    UPDATE: 2/14/2021 @ 6:01 PM

    Please

    know the security alarm technician is scheduled for appointment on 2/16/2021. The last alarm system technician changed our alarm check-phone-line pattern from once per day to once per month. What I will ask them to verify is: What is the date/time stamp of the process that checks status of our line for the past several months, and what were the results. Stay tuned...

  • SatchSatch Posts: 3,972 helper
    edited February 15 Feb 15, 2021

    Another update!

    Over at DSL Reports, where I have communicated with phone/connection techs, somebody found this thread from many years ago! Have not looked through it yet. But@jc3po I wanted you to see this before your Alarm Security tech comes!

    Satch

  • jc3pojc3po Posts: 13 ✭✭✭
    edited February 15 Feb 15, 2021

    UPDATE: 2/15/2021 @ 8:20 AM

    Well, my spouse resolved this problem last night. Read on to get how she resolved it :) First, she was sick & tired of trying to have a conversation with friends & family while our VOIP phone interrupted with fax-like sound, disconnected the conversation for 5-7 seconds, and reconnected the call. Her decision analysis was: "Our VOIP phone and all the phones in our home worked for years since we switched from POTS to the harter/Spectrum bundle. We started having problems last August 2020, and it got progressively worse. Spectrum has been to our home to attempt to resolve the fax-like sound over 4 times in the past few weeks. Our security alarm technician was here last week and all checked out OK. My tests I performed for approximately 6 hours on 2/14/21 passed the test for the security alarm plus other devices. It only failed after connecting the cordless base with its 4 phones. Her fix was... She called Spectrum and cancelled the VOIP wire phone. Problem resolved & case closed ☹

  • nelsonjwnelsonjw Posts: 10 ✭✭✭
    edited February 15 Feb 15, 2021

    While I see the OP's problem is now "resolved" by dropping Spectrum VOIP (and presumably going back to the local POTS copper-wire provider if such still exists), I am a late-comer to this thread and just went through this with a business that switched to Spectrum Voice.

    The simple answer is that a lot of alarm systems, due to the way they seize the phone line, are not VOIP compatible. The alarm system sounds like a fax or dialup modem on the line.

    The solution is to update the alarm system to an IP-with-cellular backup or strictly cellular-based system. You can't use an IP phone solution like Spectrum (or even what other legacy carriers such as AT&T are moving to) with this kind of alarm system, whether security, fire or both. Period.

    In my case, using Spectrum Business Voice for the phones (and even elevator system) and an ethernet solution with cellular backup for security/fire alarm is working great.

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