For problems with no dial tone or noise/static on your phone lines the best thing to do is first reset the phone system followed by testing at the Network Interface Device (NID) (sometimes called the "Phone box".)
Performing a CPE Reset
To perform a CPE (customer premise equipment) Reset, unplug everything that is plugged into the phone jacks of the line having the problem. For example, all telephones, DSL modems, satellite dish receivers, fax machines, answering machines, and possibly even your water meter need to be unplugged from the phone line. All of these devices can affect the service in the home; if even one of them is having an issue it can affect all of them. After about 2 minutes plug one phone back in to see if the dial tone has returned. If the problem was static on the line, make a test call to see if the noise has cleared. Continue to test for noise or dial tone after you plug each device back into the wall jacks. Often one of the wall jacks or telephone devices can cause the problem and you can determine which one it is by testing after reconnecting each device. If the CPE reset doesn't resolve your problem we recommend that you try testing from the NID.
Testing from the NID
The NID (or Phone Box) is a small gray box about 6 inches by 9 inches that is typically installed outside your home, although it is sometimes located on the inside. The NID is the point where your TDS wiring meets your internal telephone wiring. If your NID is inside the home it is usually in the basement or on a porch. The inside NID is often just a junction block where your internal wiring meets the TDS line coming in from outside your home and is not contained within the small gray box.
- Troubleshooting from an outside NID
An outside NID usually has a customer side that you can plug a corded telephone into. It is best to test with a corded phone so you don't need an alternate source of power; if you test with a cordless phone you may need an extension cord as well. You will need a screwdriver to open the customer side of the NID. Once inside you will see 1-6 test jacks depending on how many lines the home can be wired for. One of these test jacks will have a line plugged into it labeled with your phone number. If you have more than one phone number coming into your home they should both be labeled with the correct numbers. To test, simply unplug the line that is already plugged into that jack and you can plug your corded telephone in. If you have a dial tone and the line is clear there is something on the inside of the home causing the issue. If that is the case please ensure you have followed the CPE (customer premise equipment) reset instructions on this page. If there is still no dial tone or noise on the line, the problem would likely be a TDS issue and you will want to call us to open a trouble ticket so we can investigate the problem for you.
- Troubleshooting from an inside NID
If you locate your inside NID and it is a small gray box; follow the same steps outlined above. If it is just a junction block without a test jack, please try the CPE Reset instructions outlined on this page. If the reset fails to resolve the problem, please call TDS to open a trouble ticket so we can investigate the problem for you.