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I write as a DC resident whose dial tone has become rare. Verizon claims their tests show no problems on their end and to check the "Junction Box" . Regrettably, they don't describe it and leave it for the consumer to guess. Presently looking for an image of this thing to assist in my own troubleshooting.
Look where most wires enter your house. You should be able to find the telephone wires. Typically a very small round wire. It's often beige. Pictures of some of the boxes can be found http://www.lmgtfy.com/?q=phone+junction+box+image.
In some cases you might have an actual jack within it. If you plug your phone into that jack and still have issues it is either the phone itself or on the Telco side of the box. If the problem goes away your problem is on your internal wiring side of the box.
You don't indicate if you are a homeowner or a resident of an apartment building or condo or the age of the residence in which you live. Newer residential construction will have a "junction box" or "dmark" usually located on the outside of your house near where the wiring enters your premises. Start by looking for any overhead wires or near your power meter if you have underground service. The "dmark" will usually be a square box a four to six inches approximately on each side and a couple of inches deep. It may or may not have phone company markings on it although you should be able to see what looks like phone wire coming out of it. It will usually have a small screw in the front with an arrow pointing to one side say "customer side" and possibly another saying "telco". The boxes do vary greatly as the previous poster indicated, so you're really looking for some kind of enclosure which appears to have phone wire running into and out of it mounted near where the wiring enters your home.
If you can find such a box, open the "customer" side by unscrewing the screw and inside you will usually see what look to be two or more phone jacks (one of which will be plugged in). If you have such a setup, unplug the jack which is plugged in and take a non-powered standard telephone and plug it into that jack. If you get dialtone, the problem is inside your house. If you don't get dialtone, you can tell Verizon that you tested "at the dmark" and there is no dialtone. At that point, they will likely roll a technician.
Older residences may not have a dmark box and the wiring may terminate on a block in your basement somewhere (if you have one). This is a bit harder to diagnose and if you have this situation, I would advise ponying up for the service call and have them come out and install a proper dmark (which will have the side effect of fixing your dial tone).
If you live in a multi-tenant apartment building, then you will likely need to involve your landlord and complain that the dial tone is not reaching your apartment.
Hope that helps.
Much thanks for your timely repy. Really did not think I'd get a response. I did find a ceiling panel that has something similar to the link. Not sure what your personal expertise is in this but I did upload images and posted them to an online photo album at : https://cid-63220807a7f4accb.photos.live.com/brows
Hope someone can confirm this. As for the rest of your reply... please know that this is a witch of a landlord you could not imagine. This is a brownstone basement unit. I truly appreciate your efforts on my behalf
Actually he can't ... he's a new poster and the ability to upload attachments doesn't come until you have a bit more history -- copper or bronze - I think (to prevent, I supposed, individuals from opening accounts and posting image spam).
That's not what Verizon is looking for you to find ... it's little hard to make out, but it looks like someone just used a piece of 66-block to terminate all your extensions to the same place and then connect the incoming phone line to them. Pretty poor job actually ... but that could well be the source of your issues.
Do you have multiple phone outlets in the house? If so, do you lose dial tone on all of them or just some of them?
If it's all of them, then you really need to figure out which of the cables is the one coming from the main entry point and check it (could be loose on the block or it could be upstream somewhere). If it's just one outlet, then it's likely a poor connection on this block. If it were me, I would start by rewiring the block pictured, but then I have a punchdown tool and could do it fairly easily. That would at least remove the possibility that one of the wires shown is loose or shorted.
What you really want to find however is the next hop up the line ... where the phone wire goes after it leaves the pictured block. This is the spot where the Verizon service enters the residence and is the point to which Verizon is "testing" the service.
My guess is that the beige/pink one in the lower right corner is the supply line. All the others are white. Notice the red and green jumpers going around the bottom to the other side. Then the two bridge clips at the top to go to another line (probably added later). Wouldn't call this a works of art.....Picasso maybe;-)
Yeah ... that was my thought as well. Although I thought I saw a second beige wire there as well particularly since it looks like there might be several other wires punched down onto the same post. Definitely not going to win any awards for demonstrating proper wiring technique.