Is there a way, such as a simulation tool, that would allow me to test some phone wiring + outlets without having actual phone service? A device that would fake signal from one end to another?

  • 1
    Quite a few I imagine. You just need to send low voltage over the wires from one end to a phone. Phone service only required to talk to people. Would do an amazon search for phone/ phone circuit/phone line testers.
    – crip659
    Commented Jan 11, 2023 at 20:48
  • @MonkeyZeus A traditional landline phone requires the phone company to connect the premises; their 48V current is what powers the phones. To test, you'll need a device to send active signal over the lines and termination points. Before the carrier lights up the property that's best done with a line tester, such as per answers by gnicko and Criggie.
    – zedmelon
    Commented Jan 12, 2023 at 20:09

4 Answers 4


There are devices called "Tone Testers" which plug in to each end of a run and test the integrity of the wires. You should be able to pick one up for about $20. You can get them for RJ11 (telephone) and Ethernet (RJ45) runs. Some will work for both.

Here is one example (https://www.amazon.com/Multifunction-Telephone-Ethernet-Collation-Continuity/dp/B09MRVTDHZ)

enter image description here

There are hundreds of other models for sale from thousands of retailers. This is just an example.

  • 1
    Remember voice is just a simple single pair of wires, so for testing wiring inside a home (up to the demarcation point) this is more than adequate. Any service problems outside the demark point are the problem of the telco not the customer/enduser.
    – Criggie
    Commented Jan 12, 2023 at 18:21
  • What you illustrate there is a cable tester with tone facility. A simple tone tester is for identifying pairs and will pass a tone across broken wires which will not wotk with a telephone.
    – grahamj42
    Commented Jan 13, 2023 at 10:42

If you're doing this a lot, a common tool is a Butt Phone amongst other things.

enter image description here

This is capable of being a subscriber phone talking to the exchange (aka the Central Office), or the other way, providing voltages to a regular subscriber phone and looking like it is the exchange/CO. They can also listen into an active line without drawing power and affecting the call quality because the have a battery inside.

So you could clip this to one end of your dry pair of copper cables, and have an analogue telephone at the other. Then you and an assistant could both pick up the phone and have a conversation. Some butt phones can cause the remote phone to ring/sound like a regular incoming call.

Downside, quality units will cost $500 US each refurbished or twice that new, so they're out of the reach of handypersons. I've also seen cheap knockoff ones for about $100 US, which is more accessible.

More info: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lineman%27s_handset


There are devices called phone line simulators which you can hook up standard handsets or modems and it will simulate connections. It can simulate calling and ringing as well.

Here is a popular vendor: https://vikingelectronics.com/products/dle-200b/


There are VoIP boxes that simulate real phone service and don't cost much. You could buy one, sign up for one month of some arbitrary VoIP service, and test away, making and receiving actual calls.

"Ah", you say, "but I don't have internet service either! If I did, I would have phone service". You did not say that .... but you're going to. So. Buy a router, for example an Eero but there are many, that can use your cell phone's hotspot as a backup ISP. Turn on the hot spot, connect the router to it, connect the voip to the router and test away.

"Nah", you might argue, "this does not answer the question about testing "without having actual phone service", because ..... it is actual phone service. Ok. But it gets the job done.

If all that is more than you had in mind, you can test the connectivity (but not functionality) of the wiring by building some RJ11 plugs that short pairs of pins together, plugging in to one of the outlets in the system, then going to other outlets and using an ohm meter to see that the pins that are either shorted or not shorted have the expected readings. This doesn't test things like poor connections that won't carry ring current, noise pickup, etc.

  • Once for a little project I set up my PC as a VOIP server and then I could make calls from the attached ATA (Analog Telephone Adapter) to various programs on my PC Commented Jan 12, 2023 at 14:21
  • 2
    What did Excel have to say for itself when you called it, @user253751?
    – FreeMan
    Commented Jan 12, 2023 at 15:39
  • @user253751 Excel wouldn't answer for FreeMan!
    – gnicko
    Commented Jan 12, 2023 at 17:29

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