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How to work around the "stutter" dial tone problem.


Read how I encountered this problem and how hopeless the Bell Atlantic staff were to help me. I subsequently found the solution by doing some searches on DejaNews.

Try this for AOL, Mac, or other systems. Try this for Windows 95, 98, or NT.

Cutting Edge Technology? -- You Decide


We use the voice mail service provided by the local telephone company -- recently swallowed up by Bell Atlantic. Bell Atlantic is saturating the media with ads about how they have such advanced technology and highly sophisticated staff.

When there is a voice mail message for us, we are notified by a special "stutter" dialtone. This tone can cause problems for modems. A simple configuration of the modem can avoid any conflicts with the stutter tone.

Recently the stutter dialtone stopped occurring, so we didn't know we had messages waiting for us. I called to complain. This is a verbatim transcript of the conversation that occurred on January 12, 1999.

[after being shuffled several times from one person to another]

me: I am a customer of yours. The stutter dialtone has disappeared from the voice mail service. Can you fix it please?

Bell Atlantic person: Oh, we got a lot of complaints from people who used computers. They said that when the stutter tone was on they could no longer use the computer. So we disabled the stutter tone for everyone.

me: Why didn't you tell all the people that there is a very simple solution in their modem configuration that will avoid the problem?

b.a.p.: Really? We never heard about this. Please tell me more -- a lot of people around here will be very interested in this.

me: I'm amazed. Give me your email address and I'll send you the information.

b.a.p.: We don't have email here, can you fax it to me?

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From: the Navas 28800-56K Modem FAQ (quoted with permission)

Many voicemail systems use a "stutter" dial tone or beeping when you pick up the phone to indicate that you have voicemail waiting. These unexpected sounds can make the modem think there is no dial tone. If you must use the modem on a line with these voicemail or similar sounds, you can try the following workarounds: [new 10/7/96]

1.Increase the amount of time that the modem waits for dial tone by setting the number of seconds to wait in register

S6 (e.g., S6=5).


2.Lower the Xn setting to an odd number value to make the modem ignore dial tone and dial blindly (e.g., X3 instead of X4, or even X1).

end of quote from the Navas 28800-56K Modem FAQ

Note: I am not a telecom guru -- if this doesn't work, don't ask me for help. Try your phone company (good luck) or search on DejaNews.


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2. For Windows 95, 98, or NT, you can solve this problem as desribed below (from:

To alleviate this problem in a more permanent way, you can instruct your modem not to wait for the dial tone before dialing so that a stuck stutter tone will not interfere with your internet connection. To do so, right click on the icon you use to connect to the internet, click on (modem) properties, click on configure, click on connect, uncheck "wait for dial tone before dialing". Then your modem will be able to dial (this will allow you to connect to the internet if for some reason your stutter tone remains even after listening to your messages).

Note: I am not a telecom guru -- if this doesn't work, don't ask me for help. Try your phone company (good luck) or search on DejaNews.


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