This is our attempt to space text in a way that resembles an

 old fashion type of  telephone set (that us old guys used in the

 olden days) solely for the purpose that you might be really totally

 impressed with                                                   our creative abilities

 or maybe we are                            It                     just simply warped!!


 be neat if

 you would read

 this whole document

 since it contains a lot of useful

 stuff and it took us a long time and a

 bunch of money to put it together.... but if you

 aren't inclined to read it all right now, at least read the

 parts you think will be helpful to you right away and save the

 boring items for times when you need to cure a case of insomnia.





                                                                            And not to be upstaged by the nifty use of text to make a stunning image of a phone,
                                                                                                     We                                                                                                                          ca

                                                                      n       al                                                                                                              so   d

                                                                      o           an                                                                                                   en         v

                                                                      e                  lo                                                                                       pe               w

                                                                      h                        ic                                                                             h,                    u

                                                                      n                             fo                                                                 rt                            u

                                                                      n                                 at                                                        el                                 y

                                                                       ,                                      is                                                no                                   t

                                                                      a                                          so                                       li                                         d

                                                                      b                                               lo                             ck                                             s

                                                                      o                                                    it                    s                                                   m

                                                                      o                                                                re                                                             d

                                                                      i                                                                                                                                 f

                                                                      f                                                                                                                                 i

                                                                      c                                                                                                                                u

                                                                      lt to read. Now that the task has been completed, it is time for us to take a long rest.  






                                              "HOW TO" INFORMATION...SERVICES...FEATURES...ASSORTED GOOD STUFF

or if nothing else



.... don’t I already have enough to do ....


This is a whole lot of stuff, some of which may not be the most interesting to every person.  As incredible as it may seem, not every person may need to know the entire range of campus Direct Inward Dial numbers. (If you do, see page 5.) There is useful information…. really…. for residents who use the room phone, take advantage of PhoneMail, need to mail something, want to ship a package, fax a document, scan something into a file….  Communications Services offers a bunch of student services that will most likely be helpful at one point or another during your time on campus.   Take a minute and look the sections over.   Read the ones that may be of interest now.   Keep this document tucked away for future reference.   If nothing else, remember the Comm_Store number, 22222, a place that can answer your questions and give you another copy of this fine document… we had a lot of them printed.



. what if I don’t need to buy a Comm ….


What is it?  The Department of Communications Services, know as Comm_Serv, oversees a plethora (neat word) of activities, which include telephone applications, PhoneMail, Campus Card and Mail Services.  To better reach out to everyone, we opened a storefront customer service center in the middle of campus.   Since we had to name it, and we abbreviate/underscore all our operational units (Comm_Serv, Mail_Serv, Camp_Card), Comm_Store seemed logical.   Besides, it was late and we were tired when we had to have the sign made. So what comm’s can you buy at the store:



You can buy one stamp or a hundred, in any denomination that is made by the United States Postal Services (USPS).   Most anything mailing related is available including padded envelopes, CD mailers, flats and tubes.  We can tell you how much postage to put on and the different (least expensive) mailing options that are available.   USPS offerings, such as Priority and Express Mail, as well as services, such as certified, registered, return receipt and insured mail can be done conveniently at the counter.  Parcels brought in by 3 PM and letters by 4 PM will be taken to the USPS post office that  same day.



If you have more than just letters to send, we can take care of your shipping needs also. We have a wide variety of shipping boxes and all the stuff needed to pack, seal and label them properly, even anti-static bags for your delicate electronics.   Whether you packed it in the store or at your place and bring it in, we can arrange shipping for you through the USPS or FedEx.   Most all your shipping needs can be handled quickly and easily from the store.



The store’s the place if you need guidance or help with your campus phone or PhoneMail box.   Opening a “locked” voice mailbox is just a call away.   Need to make that broken phone work again?   Walk-in service offers a no hassle, immediate replacement phone to get you talking again.  If the campus provided phone doesn’t meet your needs, you can arrange for optional or private services through us.



While not part of Communications Services, the Office of Food Services resides in the store and is always ready to help with meal plans, be it the need for information, the desire to change the selected plan or the application of an adjustment.  Likewise, food and beverage machine refunds can be handled as well as problem reports taken.



If you didn’t have a chance to get your Campus Card during orientation, stop by and have one made. If you did get one and don’t know what to do with it, just ask. Cards can be replaced, accounts can be adjusted, problems can be fixed … all at The Comm_Store.



You can send, and receive, a fax at the store.   A copier is available and so is a scanner and color printer.  If you need a document notarized, that can be handled also.   Where?   At:









....what you have, how it works and what can break....


All student living areas have a campus provided telephone that is shared by the occupants of the apartment or dorm room. Please don’t use that phone you brought with you from home or got from Radio Shack! Unlike the typical, everyday telephone, which works through the local Telephone Company, UMBC provided instruments work on dial tone provided through a private telephone system. While the technical aspects are quite different, it still looks, feels and rings like the same old basic telephone we all know and love. The difference, however, is that THE UMBC SYSTEM IS DIGITAL BASED and MOST campus dial tone IS NOT "analog" as would be found in the typical home setting. Analog devices such as MODEMS, ANSWERING MACHINES, CORDLESS PHONES and FAX MACHINES/CARDS will not work on digitally provided dial tone - even if the device has been described as "digital" in nature or features. Please DO NOT PLUG any analog device into your digital telephone jack. Under some conditions digital channels can be damaged by the attempted use of analog devices on them and the liability for such damage to switch hardware ($100) rests with the room's occupants. Likewise, the mismatch of service type may be detrimental to your analog device. If you are curious about digital based service, and why we provide this kind of dial tone, or you can't resist the urge to plug the wrong thing into the wall jack, call us at THE COMM_STORE, extension 22222. We are friendly, fun to speak with and can relate the entire history of telecommunications to you if you have a few hours. Shorter versions are available if you have a class to attend. We even have an analog jack in the store that you can plug your stuff into if that plugging urge really needs to be satisfied...


As part of your residential lease agreement, a digital telephone (technically referred to as a ROLMphone 120; non-technically referred to as a phone) is provided by ORL in each Resident Hall room and in each Apartment common area. For reference, ROLMphones are quite durable in design but have been known to break when dropped or used for non-phone purposes, particularly during parties. They make very poor frisbees and beverage containers. ORL can hold the residents of a room liable for damages to the phone ($50.00).  This, of course, does not include normal “wear and tear”. Typically, questions will be raised if there is damage to the phone's housing (cracks or deformed plastic), major liquid spills into the innards (multiple sticking keys or corroded solder connections) or disassembled components.



....which outlets actually work....


Resident phones have a unique DID telephone number which is shared by the occupants of the dorm room or apartment. [Quiz...what in the world is a DID telephone number? ….. Answer: DID stands for “Direct Inward Dial” and is the kind of number that can be "dialed into" from an off-campus location.] In addition, a separate data outlet is provided for each resident to allow for high-speed campus network access.  A cable television outlet is also present in each dorm room and apartment .  Jack locations in the apartments are quite uniform.  The voice and cable outlets are always in the common area. A data outlet is located in each bedroom, typically near the closet, for high-speed campus network access.   A more nomadic approach was used in the resident halls.


In Susquehanna, Chesapeake and Patapsco Halls, all services - voice, data and cable - are contained in a single outlet box located on the entrance door wall, near the floor, on the same side of the room as the light switch. Unless we were confused during installation, the wall plate usually has two telephone jack inserts present, side by side, towards the top of the plate. The left jack insert, as you face the wall, has campus dial tone on it. The data insert(s) are always located in the bottom portion of the faceplate. The number of data inserts typically matches the number of occupants sharing the room and each one can be activated for individual use. The CATV outlet is typically located on the underside of the outlet box.


Potomac Hall has wall-mounted phone jacks typically located on the side panel of the built-in wardrobe unit. Data and cable outlets are typically on the block wall near the telephone outlet. The number of data inserts typically matches the number of occupants sharing the room and each one can be activated for individual use.


Erickson and Harbor Halls have an outlet on each side of the room with data in each but voice typically only in the outlet on the same wall as the entrance door. In Erickson Hall the voice jack insert is marked “-2” in the “A” room and “-3” in the “B” room. In Harbor Hall the voice jack insert is marked “-2” in the “A” room and “-4” in the “B” room. The data outlet is in the bottom left position and can be activated on both room jacks. The CATV outlet is typically in the common area, or in the individual room if there isn’t a common area.


Now that you’ve mastered the location of everything, to make life more interesting, in the older resident halls there may be some "older" phone jacks still hanging around. All the old stuff should have been removed but some may have been missed or grew back. Only the nice new cool looking outlets have active service to them. If you have any other phone outlets - the dirty, old, un-cool kind - ignore them.


....what numbers work and what numbers don't....


UMBC telephone numbers use two different Catonsville exchanges: (410)-455 for academic and many business functions and (443)-612 for resident student rooms and special applications. As the campus uses 5-digit internal dialing, the first digit of any campus telephone number is the last digit of the exchange. What was that???  If you are in the 443-612 exchange, your campus extension begins with a “2”; likewise, those in the 410-455 exchange have campus extensions beginning with a “5”.  Under the 410-455 exchange, if the four digits after the “5” begin with 1, 2, 3, 55 through 59, 623 through 629, 63, 65, 67, 68, 80, 81, 82, 84 or 86 through 89, they may be dialed "into" from off-campus. Under the (443)-612 exchange, if the four digits after the “2” begin with 0 through 8, they may be dialed "into" from off-campus. These are known as DID - Direct Inward Dial - numbers and are associated with, and transferred to, UMBC by the Telephone Company. Not all of the numbers in these ranges are currently in service and non-assigned numbers will still be routed to campus but will result in the caller hearing an error message since these numbers do not appear on any instruments.


Basically, all other numbers that are currently used on campus are not DID enabled and cannot be dialed “into” from off-campus using the 410-455 and 443-612 exchanges. These "internal" or “phantom” numbers are used on campus to place calls to other campus phones or, if not restricted, to outside telephone numbers. Not that we’re trying to be confusing, or build memory skills, but the mechanics of the system requires that these phantom numbers also be 5-digit, so they also begin with a “5”. Non-DID numbers will not connect to UMBC from the outside and, therefore, should not inadvertently be given out to people who need to call the campus unless you want the caller to meet new people who probably over the years have chatted with many individuals trying to reach UMBC. Perhaps numerous friendships have developed through our non-DID connection and one day we can hold a reunion of the long-term relationships that have evolved.


Internal on-campus dialing should always be done using the five-digit campus extension . Loop back dialing - calling out with a "9" to come back in using the 410-455 or 443-612 exchanges - is not permitted and attempted calls of this type will produce an error tone.  As noted above, for DID numbers the correct exchange is always indicated by the first digit of the internal number, 5 = 410-455 and 2 = 443-61 2.


Non-Maryland residents may not be aware that Maryland uses 10-digit local dialing. The state has four area codes divided into two geographic areas - 410/443 and 301/240. The use of an overlay format rather than a strict geographic division requires the dialing of all 10 digits for correct number identification. Ten-digit dialing is mandatory everywhere in the State, even if you are only calling the pizza shop down the street.   While UMBC is physically located in the 410/443 area, there are actually a few 301/240 telephone exchanges that are local from the campus because of our location. 



....what you can dial and some known problems....


As part of the resident contract, all student extensions are allowed unlimited local and toll-free (1-800, 1-888, 1-877, 1-866, etc.) calling privileges. Outside dial tone is accessible by dialing a "9". Due to accountability and billing considerations, the campus does not offer outside Operator ("0") access on residential extensions. Information calls, 411, are allowed but please note that with the existence of four Maryland area codes (410, 443, 301, 240), limits may exists as to the availability of "411" provided information due to the Telephone Company's definition of local and "long distance". Resident extensions do not have access to long distance information (1-area code-555-1212) services. Additionally, there have been a few problems in the past – and more may show up in the future - in cases where local calls must cross an area code boundary. Also, new local exchanges are frequently added by the Telephone Company and these cannot be dialed from campus until we add them to our system. As the Telephone Company does not inform us of these additions, we often don’t even know these exchanges exist until someone on campus tells us that they couldn’t dial the number.    We always endeavor to smooth out all technical problems as soon as we learn about them. Whenever there are questions or concerns with any aspect of making telephone calls, please call THE COMM_STORE, extension 22222, so that we may render assistance. There is no such thing as a "dumb question" and we will endeavor not to give out "stupid" answers.


STUDENT LONG DISTANCE CALLING to call home when home is not close by....


As long distance toll calls are not part of the residential contract, students needing to have long distance calling capabilities must use alternative methods not provided by the campus.  Cell phone users most likely have a ready means to place long distance calls and, if not, should check with their service provider to see what offerings are available.  Various calling card plans, as well as prepaid cards, are available and, as long as they are accessible through a toll free number, may be used from any campus phone that allows outside dial tone.  Resident telephones do not have access to “0” (operator services), can not utilize “10-10” services and can not be presubscribed to a long distance carrier.   The following covers some important considerations with respect to using long distance calling services from residential phones at UMBC:


…please read this one…


Residents who use personal calling cards MUST TAKE SPECIAL CARE when ordering their calling card to see that their room “443-612-" or any campus "410-455-" number IS NOT THE LISTED BILLING NUMBER for the service. It is a common practice for part of a calling card's account number to be the user's telephone number and the carrier often uses this information for bill back purposes. Charges against a campus "443-612-" or "410-455-" number are automatically billed to the main UMBC telephone account, regardless of the personal information given to the calling card company, since these extensions are registered to UMBC. This fact has been frequently missed by the order-takers for numerous long distance carriers. Since personal calling charges cannot be paid from a State account, any such billing will be returned to the carrier and the calling card using the UMBC number will immediately be canceled by the campus. Automatic bill back also negates the use of the “10-10-XXX” types of services since they charge to the calling number.  


There are many entertaining, and some not so entertaining, commercials from time to time as price wars are waged among long distance carriers. We cannot pass judgment about the values and merits of one-company verses another. If you are interested in any "deals" please check them out as they could save you money. One very important fact to remember is that your campus provided service is NOT A RESIDENTIAL EXTENSION as defined by government regulations. UMBC owned telephone numbers are business lines, which are the property of the State of Maryland. Any plan, which is offered for residential customers, may not be applicable to your campus number. Under no circumstances can a campus number be PRE-SUBSCRIBED to a particular carrier - a common requirement for many special "deals". Please see the OPTIONAL SERVICES section of this document for some additional guidance on expanded offerings by the campus as well as for arranging private service with an outside vendor – an arrangement which would not have the noted campus restrictions.


Regardless of which carrier is used, we strongly encourage all our residents to seek out the best arrangements that serve the particular needs of each individual. As is the case with any service offering, much variation exists and no single plan is ideal for everyone. Please "comparison" shop and get the best deal that meets your needs - it's your money that you are spending. We suggest that you be careful to compare the same values when making a decision. All too often there are "hidden" charges, limiting factors and/or conditions that make that great deal not so great.



....don’t have a cell phone handy and gotta make a call right away....


There are about forty public coin telephones located in and around the majority of campus buildings. In the residential areas, a pay telephone is typically located in or close to each apartment complex or resident hall. The campus service providers are Verizon for local calling and AT&T for long distance. For convenience, gray courtesy telephones are located in various areas around campus. These "campus only" phones may be used to call any campus 5-digit number. Also, yellow emergency telephones are located in various external locations. Many of these are mounted on poles and all have a blue light to assist in identifying their location. These instruments are single push button activated devices that open a direct speaker line to the University Police. An analogous phone (typically flush mounted, stainless steel) is located in each elevator. Should assistance ever be needed, a SINGLE PRESS of the call button on any emergency phone will ring down to the University Police. Please do not repeatedly press the button as this may delay the response or disconnect the call.



....things definitely not to do....


Nothing is free! There are "entertainment" advertisements and "info-mercials" skillfully crafted to entice people into placing phone calls. Don't be fooled! These are businesses that turn immense profits, often by automatically billing back to the originating telephone number for their "services". To create universal accessibility and by-pass 1-900 blocking, many of these businesses have switched to a 1-8xx "toll free" format as a prelude to setting up billable calls. Don't fall for it or you’re probably going to have to pay for it!


When any call is placed from a campus telephone, the functional elements of that call (time, date, trunk, number dialed, duration, etc.) are automatically tracked by the campus for accounting purposes. To realize economies of scale, outbound calls are actually transmitted on a "common pool" of special lines called trunks. These lines have different telephone numbers than the individual campus 443-612 and 410-455 numbers and are automatically associated with UMBC's main account by the billing Telephone Company. Many of the "entertainment" services use automated equipment, which identifies and bills against the calling number. As noted above, in our case this would be seen as a trunk number associated with the State of Maryland. Ironically, return calls placed directly to one of these outbound trunk numbers - which is how charges may be accrued since the originating call was toll free - will never find the caller since they could be at any one of the thousands of 443-612 and 410-455 numbers that exist on campus. Instead, these "undirected" calls are "intercepted" by a messaging device and, as is often the case if the company's call supervision is incomplete, can remain "connected" for lengthy periods of time at several dollars per minute. If only our intercept recorder could speak, we're sure it could relate quite a bit of entertaining conversation. Even though the return call would wind up in hyperspace, the originating caller initiated a chain of events, which could be construed as telephone fraud against a State account - a serious offense.


Please do not place yourself in a difficult situation by using a campus extension for this or any type of unauthorized use. While the amount of effort that must be expended differs from case to case, there are no calls from a campus phone that cannot be traced back to the source. We encourage you to call us at THE COMM_STORE, extension 22222, if questions arise about any type of service offerings through the public network, especially those that seem "too good to be true". A special note for the adventurous individual – call us. We love to talk and will be happy to share our telecommunications knowledge with you about how things work. We are old and have seen, and done, a lot of stuff. We actually were around when 16K, 1Mhz machines were introduced as the state of the art and we even had stereo equipment that used tubes. Some of us still have this equipment. Amazingly, even at our age, we still admire and support "curiosity". If you need to explore, try us first - it probably will be a lot cheaper and yield a lot more information.


Along the same line and much closer to home, please consider exercising the basic courtesy of STAYING ON THE LINE AND APOLOGIZING if you realize that you have dialed a wrong number. With Caller-ID becoming ubiquitous, there has been a correspondingly significant increase in requests for the release of information concerning short duration ring or hang-up calls from campus numbers. Individuals are becoming more sensitive to what is perceived as telephone abuse and the technology is allowing them to trace these calls. While we will only release calling information to an authorized law enforcement agency conducting an investigation in accordance with established Telephone Company and legal procedures, a simple apology at the time of the event can do a lot to defuse a potentially lengthy and troublesome investigation which will eventually identify your extension.


Students are also strongly cautioned NOT TO ACCEPT collect calls. It has been noted that some long distance companies allow the called party very little time to reject the call before completing the connection. At the first indication of a collect call, HANG UP. ORL policy prohibits students from accumulating charges against campus extensions and will recover these charges as well as possible service fees from any resident not adhering to this policy. The campus has initiated every available option to block these calls with the local telephone company but it is possible for some to still slip through.


DATA CONNECTIVITY you really need a phone if you have the web....


As part of UMBC's Technology Commitment, high speed Ethernet connectivity is present in all residential facilities. Communications Services, while not the provider of campus data services, does handle the wiring and physical infrastructure components of the campus network. The following information is presented on behalf of OIT:


From any student room, you will be able to connect directly to the campus Ethernet backbone. To do so, you will need an ethernet controller card for your workstation (3Com is the recommended/supported vendor for Intel based machines), a data cable to connect your machine to the wall jack and the appropriate access software. The cards and cables are typically available for purchase from the campus bookstore as well as most other vendors of computer supplies. Much of the necessary software is typically available from the Office of Information Technology. Questions may be directed to the OIT HELP DESK at extension 53838. Please refer to the web page at for more information.


SERVICE PROBLEMS to make it go after it stops....


Should service problems be experienced with the room telephone, we will be happy to fix it, hassle free.  We encourage you to check that the handset and line cords are firmly plugged into the proper receptacles on the phone and the wall jack. It is not uncommon for a cord to pull loose and a simple check could get you back in service immediately. A good check of a "dead" (no dial tone) phone is to press the line button with the hand set in place. If dial tone is heard over the phone's speaker, the handset or handset cord is the problem. (There is no microphone in the phone for two way conversation so this is a listen only scenario to test the handset and not a solution to the problem.)


To facilitate getting you back into service - we prefer happy users - THE COMM_STORE offers "WALK-IN" REPAIR. If the problem can reasonably be determined to be in the instrument, a resident may bring it to THE COMM_STORE during normal service hours, 8AM to 4PM. The phone will be repaired or replaced while you wait. How is the source of the problem "reasonably determined"? Find a working phone, call us at extension 22222 and describe what is happening. We will make a reasonable judgment if it is worthwhile for you to walk over to us.  The big question with respect to getting service – particularly if you are going to “walk over” – is:




....anybody remember Carmen Sandiego....


From the dawn of time, Communications Services was located in the lower level of the Central Plant Building. This is still a true statement, but if you travel up the hill to the old location you will now find the technical services portion of the operation – a bunch of old technician types, who are very helpful, but may grunt at you if they are busy.   The cheerful, customer service types may be found in THE COMM_STORE. Our customer service outlet is located on the first floor of the University Center Building, in the center of campus. For new students, and maybe some older ones, the University Center is located between Academic Building IV and the Chemistry Building, with its front facing the Math/Psychology Building and its back facing the Engineer/Computer Science Building. For all those who have not yet memorized the campus map, and are confused with all the building names, just call us from any campus phone at extension 22222 and we will guide you to us.  If anyone is into nostalgia, and would like to visit the original Central Plant site up the hill, we recommend enjoying some of the campus landmarks in that area. These include the 1.2 million gallon water tank, the high voltage transformer yard and, best of all, the very large pedestal mounted satellite dish near the main entrance of the building. We don't actually use it any more, but it looks real neat, especially if you have your picture taken standing next to it. If you ask, we can arrange to have a real live telecommunications technician stand with you in the picture. On the serious side (you may have deduced that we are somewhat warped) anyone interested in the mechanics of a real working telephone switch is encouraged to call us at extension 22222 and we will arrange a tour, let you touch the PBX, and answer all your questions (or make up a reasonable sounding one if we don’t know the answer).



....we can really get sidetracked at times....


If, after you find us and we discover that the service problem does not rest with the instrument, a technician will need to check the phone jack in your room and/or the wiring in your building. If a technician must enter a room, the resident is responsible for providing three 1/ 2 hour time slots during regular technical service hours, Monday through Friday, 8:00 AM through 3:00 PM, when someone will be present in the room. Every effort will be made to honor the first time given but obviously there are heavy activity periods and unexpected circumstances that can disrupt the best scheduling efforts. Failure of the technician to gain entry at an appointed time will require the rescheduling of time slots by the resident. Communications Services personnel will not enter an unoccupied area.


It is the policy of Communications Services that SERVICE CALLS HAVE THE HIGHEST PRIORITY and under normal conditions will be addressed within one business day after notification from the resident, contingent upon the given access times. Students bear fiscal responsibility for telephones damaged by negligence or abusive treatment. Damage to the phone's housing (cracks or deformed plastic) and major liquid spills (multiple sticking keys or corroded solder connections) disqualify the instrument for return to our maintenance provider. In such cases, service will be restored but the instrument will be returned to ORL for reimbursement. The resident must work out any liability issues with ORL. Please note that damage to a digital channel caused by the attempted use of a student owned analog device - as noted previously in the Student Telephone Section, page 3 – can be billed back to the room's occupants by ORL.


VOICE PROBLEMS: All problems with campus provided services or those leased directly from Communications Services should be reported directly to THE COMM_STORE at extension 22222 or by dialing "2-HELP" (24357) from any campus phone..... ***TEST: Can you dial this number, 2-HELP, from off-campus.....? Answer: PRINTED BACKWARDS TO DISCOURAGE PEEKING... 5 egap ees...   egnahcxe 216-344 supmac eht ni rebmun DID a si ti...sey ***


DATA PROBLEMS: Problems with campus data, network and ethernet services are provided by the Office of Information Technology and should be reported directly to the OIT HELP DESK at extension 53838.


PRIVATE SERVICE PROBLEMS : Difficulties with private TELPHONE COMPANY service should first be reported to THE COMM_STORE, extension 22222 or 2-HELP, so that wiring issues may be eliminated before a service call is placed. The local phone company will usually charge the customer if they respond and the problem is found to be campus wiring. There is no charge for us to investigate and resolve local wiring problems.


CABLE TV PROBLEMS: Cable television issues should be reported to the Office of Residential Life at extension 52591 or to the ORL staff member responsible for your living area.



....extra stuff that you might need....


Several optional services may be obtained by the resident from THE COMM_STORE or a local telephone service provider. Please note that the leasing of any campus service from Communications Services will be billed directly to your student account. Should any provided service require the placement of campus equipment in your room, a photo ID (such as a driver's license) containing your home address is required. Services needing wiring to support a telephone may require room entry by a Communications Services technician. Conditions vary from room to room and often the technician will be able to complete the task at the building's wiring closet without actually entering the room. If entry is required, the student will be asked to provide access times and be present during the wiring process, which normally is less than 30 minutes. Should the student miss an appointed time, rescheduling will be necessary and this could substantially delay service activation depending upon the workload at the time of rescheduling. Under no circumstances will the technician enter an unoccupied area. All personal items blocking access to the room wall outlet must be moved by the owner. Available services are:


PERSONAL DID SERVICE - If desired, personal DID service can be installed in an individual resident’s room. This is an inexpensive - but somewhat restricted - alternate to the private phone service that is available from the local telephone company. It is important to remember that the campus DOES NOT PROVIDE FULL SERVICE PRIVATE TELEPHONE LINES other than the campus phone included with the room by ORL. A resident may lease separate, campus only DID service for their room. This would enable the resident to RECEIVE calls from off-campus on a separate line but NOT MAKE CALLS to the outside on that line.  Only the campus phone in the room can make and receive outside calls. The cost for personal DID service in a room is $20 for set-up and $20 per semester [$40/ one semester or $60/ entire academic year]. The set-up fee is a one-time charge and is not applied for the second semester. It is applied, however, if there is a change of location after the initial installation. Winter session is included as part of the semester. The $20 semester fee is a fixed amount and will not be discounted after the start of the semester.


CORDLESS PHONES - Some residents are quite productive during conversations, completing a variety of tasks in different room or apartment locations by virtue of the mobility gained through a cordless phone. Unfortunately, cordless phones are analog devices and, as noted, the university provides digital dial tone ... an incompatible combination. If there is a burning desire to have this ability, an analog line may be leased as noted above under PERSONAL DID SERVICE.   The difference, however, is that we can place the room's extension on that line, effectively creating an analog extension of the existing full service digital line in the common area. If this approach is desired, it is important to realize that as only one extension is involved and this will cause the room line be in use when either phone is active. A "cooperative" approach will be necessary among the room or apartment occupants as the room extension represents a shared, common resource.


PRIVATE TELEPHONE SERVICE - Since the University does not offer full service private telephone lines to individuals, other than the campus line that is part of the room contract, residents with this need may have private residential service installed by any telephone service provider operating in the area.  Residents are encouraged to investigate all available service offerings to determine the best deal for their particular needs.   The use of an outside provider is a private arrangement with the local telephone company, in the same manner as you would do in your home. The University's only involvement in this service is the provision of cabling (prepayment of $20 to the campus is required) from the main wiring frame at the Central Plant Building to the resident’s room. The student must notify THE COMM_STORE at extension 22222 after receiving an installation date from the phone company so that the campus portion of the wiring may be completed prior to their work. This will prevent unnecessary delays in getting service to your room.


As the local dial tone market is opening up in our area, several offerings may exist at any time. Regardless of the company chosen, it is very important when placing an order to inform the order processor that private residential service is desired for a “dorm” room on campus. As noted before, campus service is classified as a commercial account under the State of Maryland and, in the past, there has occasionally been some confusion on the phone company side about placing residential service on the campus. Plans will vary and we highly encourage you to request a full explanation of the various options available so that an informed decision may be made.   It’s your money, or worse, your parents, so aim for the best match of need to offering. The phone company may have extra charges for set up or service initiation fees and a security deposit may be required. As the University provides the cabling to the building, there is no need to include any type of wiring protection plans, should one be offered.  If problems arise or confusion hinders the ordering process, please call us at extension 22222 and we will assist you in obtaining the service desired.   We will even make a conference call with you to the phone company if such is required to get things moving.


ADVICE, CONCERNS or CURIOSITIES - The Department of Communications Services welcomes inquires about communications issues and concerns during normal business operating hours, 8:00 AM through 4:00 PM, Monday through Friday. Students interested in the elements of PBX and Public Network operations are encouraged to call THE COMM_STORE at extension 22222.  Should any resident ever feel that they have not been treated correctly by any Communications Services staff, please feel free to call the Director of Telecommunications, George M. Vitak, directly at extension 53262.   Your concerns will be addressed and all legitimate problems will be resolved.




....impress your friends with your knowledge....


Various convenience features are available for student use. These are accessible by pressing the appropriate button on the digital phones or by entering a "#" or "*" code from the keypad. The following summary contains the Voice and PhoneMail features that are generally available for student use:


Automatic Camp-on - If you remain on a busy campus line, the call will automatically ring through when the called number is no longer busy. The busy signal becomes silent after 5 seconds or changes to a "fast busy" if someone else has already "camped on" to that line – a condition that prevents you from doing so. This feature does not work with off-campus calls. When a caller camps on to a busy extension, the person on that extension will hear a beep and the call waiting light on the lower left of the key pad will blink. In this situation, the called party could use the connect feature to toggle between the two calls.


Conference - Conference allows up to eight parties (two of which may be external calls) to be in the same conversation. To use this feature get the first party on the line, press the FLASH button to get a dial tone, get the next party on the line and press the CONF button (or FLASH *4) to add the person to the other parties on the conference. If a busy signal or ring-no-answer is encountered, the CONNECT button (or FLASH *1) will reconnect you to the conference. To drop the last party added (helpful if a busy or ringing number is inadvertently added to the conversation), use FLASH **4.


Connect - This feature allows you to accept a call that has camped-on to your extension, reconnect to an unsuccessfully transferred call or to alternate between an ongoing call and a second call placed using the FLASH feature. To use this feature press the CONNECT button (or FLASH *1).


Direct call pick-up - If a separate campus telephone exists (such as a leased campus line), a ringing line on one can be "pulled" to the other by using this feature. To answer the ringing line, get dial tone on the free phone, press the PICK button (or enter *3) and enter the extension that is ringing. This feature can also be used to pick-up a call that has been placed on hold at another extension.


Flash - This feature places any call on temporary hold so that you may dial a second number or enter a feature code. A secondary high pitch holding tone will be heard when FLASH is activated.


Hold - Hold allows you to temporarily hang up a line without disconnecting the call. ROLMphones activate this feature by pressing the HOLD button and allow you to reconnect to the call by touching the line button.


Internal Call Forwarding - You may choose to temporarily send all your calls to another campus extension. Any call to a forwarded extension will ring at the forwarded number and not at the extension that has been forwarded. On the ROLMphone, the line light will flicker when it is in a forwarded state. An extension that is forwarded can still make calls, but will never receive calls until the forwarding has been canceled. To use this feature, get dial tone, press the FORWD button (or enter #9), dial the extension to receive your calls and hang up. To cancel this feature, get dial tone, press the FORWD button (or enter ##9) and hang up. Forwarding will be canceled if the forwarded extension is called from the extension to which it is forwarded.


Line button - Dial tone may be activated by touching the line button next to the listed extension number or by picking up the handset. By using the speaker, dialing may be accomplished without lifting the handset. The ROLMphone 120 does not contain a microphone so the called party may only be spoken to through the handset. When answering a call do not press the line button after picking up the handset, as this will disconnect the call.


Message Waiting - PhoneMail subscribers are alerted to new messages in their mailbox by a broken dial tone and by a flashing MSGWT button. The message-waiting indicator does not interfere with the functioning of the phone and will stop after the new messages have been retrieved.


Ringing - On campus calls have a single ring. Calls from off-campus have a double ring. The ROLMphone can have eight separate ringing tones. To set one, get dial tone, enter *572, enter digits 1 through 8 until the desired tone is found and hang up.


Save & Repeat - The dialed number on busy or ring-no-answer calls may be saved for later re-dialing. To save a number, press SAVE/RPT button (or enter FLASH #4). To redial the number, get dial tone and press the SAVE/RPT button (or enter #7).


Speed Dial - Up to ten telephone numbers may be stored for automatic dialing. To setup this auto-dial feature, get dial tone, press the STA SPD button twice (or key in ##3), enter a reference code (numeric keys 0 through 9), enter the desired number as you would normally dial and hang up. To place a call using a stored number, get dial tone, press the STA SPD button (or enter #3) and enter the reference code (0 through 9). The call will automatically be placed. Note: Programming the "0" key with the PhoneMail direct access number (20999 or 27999) will automatically dial into PhoneMail when the Message Waiting button is pressed.


Transfer - This feature is used to transfer a call to another extension. To use, press the TRANSFER button (or FLASH*7), dial the desired number, announce the caller and hang up. If the transfer cannot be completed, use the CONNECT button (or FLASH*1) to reconnect with the caller.


Volume - The two buttons above the keypad raise and lower the volume of the call in progress.




Each residential telephone extension has an associated voice mailbox. Calls automatically forward to the mailbox if the line is in use or not answered in 15 seconds. If desired, a subscriber may activate PhoneMail for immediate answering by forwarding the telephone line to extension 20993 (room extensions beginning with “20”) or extension 27993 (room extensions beginning with “27” or “28”). There is a visual indicator, a LED marked MSGWT, on the phone as well as an audio indicator, broken dial tone on the line, to signal the presence of new messages. PhoneMail is a shared resource among the occupants of the room or apartment and the individuals using the box should come to mutual agreement as to the "rules" that will support cooperative use. Residents are responsible for the security of their box and appropriate care should be exercised in setting and maintaining a confidential password. The PhoneMail System is designed as an answering and information exchange application. It is not a long-term storage medium. Mailboxes can hold up to 20 messages (new and stored) with a 90 second limit per message. Please note that parameter changes may be made during the semester to preserve system integrity and functionality. Residents are responsible for attending to their individual boxes and deleting messages daily to avoid taxing overall system storage capacity. Stored messages will automatically be deleted after 30 days. A system security feature "locks" the mailbox should multiple attempts be made to enter it with an incorrect password. The message, "your mailbox is protected", indicates that this has happened and it will be necessary to call THE COMM_STORE at extension 22222 to have the box "unlocked". PhoneMail sessions should always be completed by entering *76


ACCESSING PHONEMAIL - The PhoneMail System is "dialed into" using a telephone extension called the SUBSCRIBER ACCESS NUMBER. As there are actually two separate voice processors (nodes) serving the resident population, this number differs depending on location. The "older dorms" - room telephone extensions beginning with a "20" - must use extension 20999. The apartments, Erickson Hall and Harbor Hall - room telephone extensions beginning with a "27" or “28” - must use extension 27999. These numbers are DID extensions and may be accessed from outside campus using "443-612-xxxx" in the same manner as any room extension. Once entered, the system will request the user's 5-digit extension number. If calling from the phone with the same number as the mailbox, the "#" key may be used as a shortcut. The system will verify the number entered and request input of the user's password.


DEFAULT PASSWORD - All mailboxes start off with the password "111" (three ones). This must be used to initially enter the mailbox. Since the system, and everyone else in the world knows the default password, you will not be allowed to enter your box until you enter a new password [option 9, 3]. You must choose a number between 3 and 24 digits long..... something you and your roommate(s) have agreed upon and can easily remember.


PERSONAL GREETING - Until changed, the system will point out that a personal greeting must be recorded. This feature (accessed by choosing option 8, 1), allows the recording of the personal message that a caller will hear when their call is answered by your mailbox. There are actually 2 sets of greetings that may be recorded, regular and alternate. In the regular greeting set, a separate message may be recorded for a busy condition and for a ring-no-answer condition. The alternate greeting allows only one recording that will be played to the caller under all conditions. The system offers ample prompting to help with this process.


PERSONAL NAME - This feature allows the recording of a unique name that will be associated with the mailbox [option 8,4]. Typically, it is the names of the room or apartment occupants. This recording, which is used as the header for messages and the title of the mailbox, should only consist of names or similar designations.... it is not a greeting and should not be lengthy.


MAILBOX OPTIONS – Once you get through all the introductory stuff, and have rested, there are various options presented by the system: These exist in a menu form with each selection yielding more detailed choices.




3   LISTEN ..... Listen to Messages, Temporary Storage, Answer, Forward

1   RECORD ..... Send Messages, Delivery Options

8   ANSWERING....Personal Greetings, Answering (accept/reject), Referral Extension, Record a Name

9   MAILBOX..... Distribution Lists, Prompt Level, Password, Out-calling, Playback

7   TRANSFER..... Transfer out, Disconnect

0    HELP..... Help




*    - Pause key:                                     *3    - Stop, skip message header               

#    - Enter key                                       *6    - Stop, Delete message

5    - Increase volume                           *4    - Stop, Save message

7    - Decrease speed                           *72  - Stop, skip to previous header

8    - Decrease volume                         *73   - Replay whole message

9    - Increase speed                             *76   - Stop, end PhoneMail session

              *2   - Stop, skip to next header             *78 - Replay last several words




  1    - Skip personal greeting                                                                                                                               *#3   - Mark message urgent 

 0#  - Transfer to personal referral extension                                                                                                       *6#  - Cancel message, erase

 #1   - Camp on a busy line after PhoneMail has answered                                                                                 *61  - Cancel message, re-record