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FAQs & Troubleshooting

FAQs & Troubleshooting

What is Distinctive Ring and how do I program it?

Distinctive Ring is a function of your Brother machine that allows a person with one line to receive fax and voice calls through two different phone numbers on that one line.

Brother uses the term "Distinctive Ring" to describe this service, but telephone companies market the service under a variety of names, such as Custom Ringing, Personalized Ring, Smart Ring, Ring Master, Ident-a-Ring, Ident-a-Call, Data Ident-A-Call, Teen Ring, SimpleBiz Fax & Alternate Number Ringing, and BT Call Sign. This service establishes a second telephone number on the same line as your existing telephone number, and each number has its own ring pattern. Typically, the original number rings with the standard ring pattern and is used for receiving voice calls, and the second number rings with a different ring pattern and is used for receiving faxes.

  • You must pay for your telephone company's Distinctive Ring service before you program the Brother machine to work with it.
  • Please call your telephone company for availability and rates.


Once you have subscribed to the local telephone company for this service, your Brother machine will then need to be programmed to recognize the ring pattern assigned to the fax number.

Before programming your Brother machine, verify the telephone company has activated the distinctive ring number. Once the distinctive ring is programmed in your Brother machine, the unit will recognize a fax call through the selected ring pattern within 2 cycles of ringing and will automatically answer with a fax tone. When the voice line is called, your Brother machine will recognize the voice line ring pattern and will not interrupt the call.


Before you choose the ring pattern to program


You can only program one Distinctive Ring pattern with the machine. Some ring patterns cannot be programmed. The ring patterns below are supported by your Brother machine. Program the one your telephone company gives you.

  • Long-Long (this ring pattern is often called "Short-Short" by phone companies)
  • Short-Long-Short
  • Short-Short-Long
  • Very Long (this is the standard telephone ring pattern)

Please note that you can only select one of these ring patterns at a time. If the ring pattern assigned by your telephone company is not listed, please call your telephone company and request that they assign one of the selectable ring patterns.



Programming the Distinctive Ring pattern
To program your Brother machine to receive faxes using a Distinctive Ring number, please follow the steps listed below:

When you are using the Distinctive Ring feature, your Brother machine's Receive Mode is automatically set to Manual. This ensures the Brother machine will only answer the Distinctive Ring number and not interfere when your main telephone number is called.

In reference to voice mail and telephone answering devices, Distinctive Ring is the only time voice mail can be used on the same phone line as a Brother unit. When using a TAD or voice mail, they must be set up to always (even if the line is busy) answer after 4 or more rings and you cannot use Toll saver features. It takes the Brother machine two complete ring patterns before it answers the call. If the TAD or voice mail is programmed to answer in less than 4 rings or if you utilize a Toll Saver feature, the TAD, or voice mail may answer the fax line before the machine can recognize the Distinctive Ring pattern.


  1. Press Settings(Settings) > All Settings > Fax > Miscellaneous > Distinctive or BT Call Sign or Faxability.

    If your machine displays the All Settings menu on the Home screen, skip the Settings menu.

  2. Do one of following:
    • If you have not registered the Distinctive Ring pattern, press Distinctive, and then press On. Go to Step 3.
    • If you have already registered the Distinctive Ring, and want to change the pattern, go to Step 3.
    • If you press BT Call Sign, press On. Go to Step 5.
    • If you press Fax Ability, follow the steps listed below:
      1. Press On to set Fax Ability. If you have Fax Ability service, press On.
      2. Press Call Waiting.
      3. Press On to set Call Waiting. If you have Call Waiting service, press On to avoid the trouble caused by Call Waiting. Go to Step 5.
  3. Press Ring Pattern. (This step might be skipped in some models. Go to Step 5.)
  4. Press the stored ring pattern you want, and then press OK.
    You will hear each pattern as you press the four buttons. Make sure you select the pattern that the telephone company gave you.
  5. Press Home(Home).


Turning Off Distinctive Ring

If you currently have the Distinctive Ring feature enabled on your machine and you wish to turn it off, follow these steps:


  1. Press Settings(Settings) > All Settings > Fax > Miscellaneous > Distinctive > Distinctive.
    • If your machine displays the All Settings menu on the Home screen, skip the Settings menu.
    • (For some countries)
      Press Settings(Settings) > All Settings > Fax > Miscellaneous > Distinctive or BT Call Sign or Faxability.
  2. Press Off.
  3. Press Home(Home).


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