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How to setup FaxTalk to use Distinctive Ring (Alternate Number Ringing) services

Distinctive Ring is a service provided by your phone company that allows you to add a second or third phone number to an existing telephone line without having to physically install wiring to your home or office. The second or third phone number is shared with your primary telephone line. Your phone company may also call Distinctive Ring as alternate number ringing, Teen ring, ident-a-call, ident-a-ring, BT Call Sign or Smart Ring.

FaxTalk includes features to support Distinctive Ring capabilities. For FaxTalk to be able to utilize the Distinctive Ring features from your telephone company you must configure the FaxTalk software to identify the ring patterns your modem is reporting for incoming calls.

Note: Distinctive Ring requires specific hardware support from the modem hardware as well as a subscription to the Distinctive Ring service from your local phone company.  Also, FaxTalk must be set to use ‘Direct Mode’ for modem communications and distinctive ring answering options must be enabled & configured for Distinctive Ring answering. This is not the default setting.

Determining ring patterns returned by your fax modem

You will need to determine what ring patterns are reported by the modem hardware for each of the incoming rings provided by your telephone service. This information will be used by FaxTalk to properly detect incoming rings and route calls based on the incoming ring pattern reported by the modem. To determine to ring patterns used by the modem, you can use a free communications program such as TeraTerm, PuTTY or HyperTerminal program included with some older versions of Windows.  You can also use the Modem Doctor utility built into FaxTalk (see menu drop down Help, Modem Doctor)

Note: The HyperTerminal program is not included with newer Windows operating systems, and may or may not be installed when the operating system was installed (its not included with Windows 10,8,7 or Vista). You can use the same basic set of instructions with any serial terminal communications program.

Modem Doctor is included with FaxTalk. To start Modem Doctor, click on Help, Modem Doctor in the FaxTalk software.

TeraTerm is a free serial terminal program that can be used.

PuTTY can also be used as a serial terminal. PuTTY is an SSH and telnet client. PuTTY is open source software that is available with source code and is developed and supported by a group of volunteers.

To use PuTTY to determine the ring responses, follow these steps:

  1. Determine the COM Port your fax modem is connected to (Check Modem COM port in Device Manager, Modem Properties, Modem Tab).
  2. Turn off Auto Receive in FaxTalk and disable any other device that may use the modem.  You may see a message that the device cannot be opened if another application is currently using the modem.
  3. Start PuTTY.
  4. Switch the Connection Type to Serial.
  5. Edit the Serial line to match the COM port you want to use.
  6. Set the Speed to 9600.
  7. Select the Serial category from the menu on the left.
  8. Make sure all of the settings are correct (Should be the COM port your modem is connected to, speed (baud) 9600, Data bits 8, Stop Bits 1, Parity None, Flow Control XON/OFF).
  9. Click the Open button to start the session.  If session does not open, see step 1 and 2.
  10. In the blank Terminal window, type ATE1 and then press Enter. The modem should respond with OK. If the modem does not respond or does not respond with OK, it may not be properly configured in Windows.
  11. Type the AT command supported by your modem to enable Distinctive Ring. Please refer to your modem documentation or modem manufacturer for the commands required to enable Distinctive Ring. Most modems (Conexant, Agere) use AT+VDR=1 or AT+VDR=1,5 to enable Distinctive Ring reporting but some U.S. Robotics modems use ATS41=1 and some older Rockwell modems use AT-SDR=7. If you do not know what AT command your modem uses you should contact the modem manufacturer to obtain the correct modem commands to enable Distinctive Ring. The modem should respond with OK. If the modem responds with ERROR, either you entered an incorrect command or the modem does not support the command to enable Distinctive Ring.
  12. Dial the telephone line that is connected to the modem using another phone line/cellular phone and check for the responses to the incoming rings that the modem displays in the terminal window.
  13. The terminal window should display modem messages indicating incoming rings are detected. These messages may vary depending on the manufacturer of the modem. Take note of the specific ring message displayed, as you will need to enter the message text in the FaxTalk software. Typical ring messages (depending on the modem) could be RING1 or RING A or even a series of DRON= DROF= messages.For example a modem may report the ring pattern for a single ring as:DRON=4
    DROF=5
    DRON=4
    DROF=40
    Based on this pattern you would enter DRON=4;DROF=5;DRON=4 into the FaxTalk software. If your modem reports multiple DRON/DROF messages for a single ring you will need to enter the entire DRON/DROF sequence for a single ring. Each DR message should be separated by a semi-colon (;). You would not enter the DROF=40 as this signals the time between a ring and isn’t part of the actual ring pattern (this is the silence between ring signal).In another example a modem may report the ring pattern for a single ring as:RING ABased on this pattern you would simply enter RING A into the FaxTalk software.
  14. For each additional Distinctive Ring line assigned by your phone company, dial the telephone line that is connected to the modem using another phone line/cellular phone once again and check for the responses to the incoming rings that the modem displays in the terminal window. These modem responses should be different for each Distinctive Ring line in some way. Note each of the specific ring message patterns displayed, as you will need to enter the message text in the FaxTalk software for each Distinctive Ring line.
  15. When you are done type ATZ in the Terminal window and press Enter. You should receive an OK.
  16. Close the Terminal Window.

To use HyperTerminal to determine the ring responses:

  1. Click Start, point to ProgramsAccessoriesCommunications, and then click HyperTerminal. The HyperTerminal folder window appears.
  2. Double-click HyperTerminal or Hypertrm.exe. The HyperTerminal window appears.
  3. Type any name for the connection in the Name field of the Connection Description dialog box.
  4. Click OK. The Phone Number dialog box appears.
  5. Type any number in the Phone Number field.
  6. Select the modem from the Connect Using drop-down list. Generally your modem will be the default selection.
  7. Click OK. The Connect dialog box appears.
  8. Click Cancel.
  9. In the blank HyperTerminal window, type ATE1 and then press Enter. The modem should respond with OK. If the modem does not respond or does not respond with OK, it may not be properly configured in Windows.
  10. Type the AT command supported by your modem to enable Distinctive Ring. Please refer to your modem documentation or modem manufacturer for the commands required to enable Distinctive Ring. Most modems (Conexant, Agere) use AT+VDR=1 or AT+VDR=1,5 to enable Distinctive Ring reporting but some U.S. Robotics modems use ATS41=1 and some older Rockwell modems use AT-SDR=7. If you do not know what AT command your modem uses you should contact the modem manufacturer to obtain the correct modem commands to enable Distinctive Ring. The modem should respond with OK. If the modem responds with ERROR, either you entered an incorrect command or the modem does not support the command to enable Distinctive Ring.
  11. Dial the telephone line that is connected to the modem using another phone line/cellular phone and check for the responses to the incoming rings that the modem displays in HyperTerminal.
  12. HyperTerminal should display modem messages indicating incoming rings are detected. These messages may vary depending on the manufacturer of the modem. Take note of the specific ring message displayed, as you will need to enter the message text in the FaxTalk software. Typical ring messages (depending on the modem) could be RING1 or RING A or even a series of DRON= DROF= messages.For example a modem may report the ring pattern as:DRON=4
    DROF=5
    DRON=4
    DROF=40
    Based on this pattern you would enter DRON=4;DROF=5;DRON=4 into the FaxTalk software. If your modem reports multiple DRON/DROF messages for a single ring you will need to enter the entire DRON/DROF sequence for a single ring. Each DR message should be separated by a semi-colon (;). You would not enter the DROF=40 as this signals the time between a ring and isn’t part of the actual ring pattern (this is the silence between ring signal).In another example a modem may report the ring pattern for a single ring as:RING A

    Based on this pattern you would simply enter RING A into the FaxTalk software.
  13. For each additional Distinctive Ring line assigned by your phone company, dial the telephone line that is connected to the modem using another phone line/cellular phone once again and check for the responses to the incoming rings that the modem displays in HyperTerminal. These modem responses should be different for each Distinctive Ring line in some way. Note each of the specific ring message patterns displayed, as you will need to enter the message text in the FaxTalk software for each Distinctive Ring line.
  14. When you are done type ATZ in the HyperTerminal window and press Enter. You should receive an OK.
  15. Close HyperTerminal. A message box will appear asking if you want to disconnect. A second message box will appear asking if you want to save the session, click No.

How to setup FaxTalk software to use Distinctive Ring

You will need to enable the Distinctive Ring features in FaxTalk and enter the ring pattern information for your modem so that FaxTalk can correctly answer incoming calls based n Distinctive Ring. You’ll also need to specific commands that enable Distinctive Ring.  Usually, this information is entered for you but you may need to modify these values based on specific ring patterns used by your phone company or variations of the fax modem model you are using.

To configure Distinctive Ring in FaxTalk:

  1. Open the FaxTalk application.
  2. Click on the Tools menu, and then click Options.
  3. In the configuration list on the left, click on Modem.
  4. On the Modem configuration page, click Properties.
  5. Click on the Direct Mode tab on the Modem Settings dialog.
  6. Enable the Use Direct Mode for modem communications setting.
  7. Enter the initialization string for enabling Distinctive Ring required for your modem in the Distinctive Ring modem initialization string field if not already filled in. Most modems use +VDR=1 or +VDR=1,5 to enable Distinctive Ring reporting but some US Robotics modems use S41=1 and some older Rockwell modems use -SDR=7. If you do not know what AT command your modem uses you should contact the modem manufacturer to obtain the correct modem commands to enable Distinctive Ring.
  8. Based on the incoming ring patterns reported for each of your Distinctive Ring numbers that you determined using the “Determining ring patterns” instructions found earlier in this document enter the modem ring messages your modem reports when calls occur on line 1 in the Distinctive Ring Pattern 1 field. Then enter the modem ring messages your modem reports when calls occur on line 2 in the Distinctive Ring Pattern 2 field and enter the modem ring messages your modem reports when calls occur on line 3 in the Distinctive Ring Pattern 3 field.Note: If your modem reports multiple DRON/DROF messages for a single ring you will need to enter the entire DRON/DROF sequence for a single ring. Each DR message should be separated by a semi-colon (;) For example, DRON=4;DROF=5;DRON=4

    For example:Distinctive Ring Pattern 1:  DRON=20
    Distinctive Ring Pattern 2:  DRON=4;DROF=5;DRON=4
    Distinctive Ring Pattern 3:The values listed above are in milliseconds, 10 = 1 second.

    What the above example would sound like on your phone:

    Distinctive Ring Pattern 1: {Long Ring lasting for 2 seconds}
    Distinctive Ring Pattern 2: {Short Ring for 0.4 seconds, Silence for 0.5 seconds, Short Ring for 0.4 seconds}
  9. Click OK to save the changes and close the Modem Settings dialog.
  10. In the configuration list on the left, click on Answer.
  11. On the Answer configuration page, enable the Use Distinctive Ring settings for answering incoming calls instead of the settings above setting.
  12. In the configuration list on the left, click on the plus sign next to Answer to expand the list.
  13. In the configuration list on the left, under Answer click on Distinctive Ring.
  14. On the Distinctive Ring configuration page set the desired answering options for each Distinctive Ring pattern.

    For example
    , if you want FaxTalk to only answer ring pattern 2 calls, then for Distinctive Ring Line 1 and Distinctive Ring Line 3 drop down options, uncheck the Automatically Answer Calls check box. For Distinctive Ring Line 2, enable the check box Automatically Answer Calls and set the appropriate number of rings to answer. Remember to configure each Distinctive Ring Line 1, Distinctive Ring Line 2 and Distinctive Ring Line 3 drop down options one at a time and select only the ring patterns you want FaxTalk to answer.
  15. Click OK to save the changes and close FaxTalk Settings.

ADDITIONAL NOTES:

You can only program up to three distinctive ring patterns with FaxTalk. If your modem only supports RING A, RING BRING C or RING1, RING2, RING3 you can only use these three distinctive ring or ‘common’ ring patterns.  These types of modems are limited to these three common ring patterns. If your phone company uses a different type of ring pattern, it will not work (Contact your phone company, they may be able to set a different ring pattern for you).  Modems that use the DRON and DROF codes allow for any type of ring combination, so they allow for you to define the length of the ring and pause time between rings. This flexibility allows for any type of ring that can be assigned by your phone company.

Here are some examples of ring patterns.

  • Long-Long. (this ring pattern is often called “Short-Short” by phone companies, usually the 1st ring pattern by some phone companies) Modem may detect this type of pattern as RING B or RING2
  • Short-Short-Long. Two quick short rings followed by a long ring. This may be used for the 2nd ring pattern by some phone companies. Modem may detect this pattern as RING C or RING3
  • Long. This is the standard telephone ring pattern usually to announce incoming calls. In North America this is usually defined by the modem as RING A, or RING1, or DRON=20 (2 second long ring, usually followed by DROF=40 or 4 seconds of silence)
  • Long-Short-Short. This may be used by some phone companies to announce incoming long distance calls. This may be optional with some phone companies and may conflict with distinctive ring detection, so you may need to disable this option.
  • Short-Long-Short.

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