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What is a DECT Phone?

Cordless Phones Explained

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What is a DECT Phone?

Panasonic DECT phone with one base and two handsets

DECT stands for Digital Enhanced Cordless Technology. In simple words, a DECT phone is a cordless phone that works with your landline phone line. It is the type of phone set that allows you to roam in the house or in the office while you talk. While a DECT phone is technically a mobile phone, we don’t use this term for it, as the nature of a mobile phone and a DECT phone are basically quite different.

A DECT phone has a base and one or more handsets. The base phone is like any telephone set, with a PSTN phone line connected to it. It radiates signals to the other handsets, wirelessly connecting them too to the PSTN landline. This way, you can take a call or make a call both with the base phone or the handsets. In most new DECT phones, both the base phone and handsets are cordless, meaning they can both be used to talk while walking around.

Why Use DECT Phones?

The main reason for which you want to use a DECT phone is to set free from being pinned on the office table or phone table. Also, you get different points at home or in the office where you can make and receive calls. A call can be transferred from one handset or base to the other. Another good reason to use DECT phones is intercom, which is why I bought mine in the first place. This allows internal communication at home or in the office. You could place one on one floor and another one on the other, for example. One handset can be used in your garden too. One set can page the other and there can be internal communication, like with a walkie talkie. Intercom calls are of course free since you don’t use external lines.

Range

How far can you be from the base phone and still be talking on a handset? This depends on the range of the DECT phone. The typical range is around 300 meters. High-end phones provide greater distances. However, the ranges displayed by manufacturers are only theoretical. The actual range depends a lot on many factors, including climate, obstacles like walls, and radio interference. So unless you have tried, you cannot pronounced on a definite range for a phone.

Voice Quality

Your DECT phone’s voice quality depends more on factors from the manufacturer than from you. You will definitely get clear voice quality from high-end and more expensive phones than you do with low-end ones. There are so many parameters that come into play when it comes to sound quality, including the codecs used, the frequency, the hardware used, like type of microphone, type of speakers. It all finally boils down to the quality that the manufacturer puts into his product. Your voice quality can however be affected by interference in your place of use. For instance, some manufacturers warn that voice quality might suffer if the phone is used near appliances like other phones or even computers.

DECT Phone and Your Health

As is the case with all wireless devices, people ask about the health hazards DECT phones entail. The Health Protection Agency states that the emission from DECT phones is too low, below the internationally set threshold of acceptable radiation level, to cause significant harm, so it is rather safe. You can read the detailed report from the Health Protection Agency there. There are however other sounds to the bell that many other agencies are speaking about. So, the debate is on, and we are not any close to getting a final verdict, especially with the booming DECT phone industry.

DECT Phones and VoIP

Can you use your DECT phone with VoIP? You sure can, since VoIP works perfectly well with traditional phones connected to a landline. Your DECT phone does connect to a landline, the only difference being that it extends to one or more handsets. But this will depend on the type of VoIP service you are using. Don’t think of using Skype or things of the like with your DECT phone (although something like this might come in the future, with more intelligence, microprocessors and memory being injected into DECT phones). Think of residential VoIP services like Vonage, Ooma etc.

DECT Phones Drawbacks

Leaving aside the possible health hazards associated with the use of DECT phones (while hoping they are perfectly safe), there are a number of drawbacks. A DECT phone relies completely on continuous power. The handsets have rechargeable batteries like mobile phones, but here, I am speaking of the base phone set. In the absence of a mains supply (like during a power cut), you are more likely to run into the situation where you won't be able to use the phone at all. Some base stations have options for batteries, which can't last for very long. So, you cannot consider a DECT phone as a solution for a place where there is no electricity, or to be used when there is a prolonged power outage.

Compared to a traditional phone set, a DECT phone gives you the hassle of getting two or more power sockets for charging and of having a mind (cum a habit) prone to charging the handsets before they go blank. Add to that the issue of voice quality and interference. But the benefits of using a DECT phone outbalance the drawbacks.

Buying a DECT Phone

There are many DECT phones on the market and there are factors you need to consider before buying one. Here is the list of factors.
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