When the first cordless phones appeared in the 70s, telecommunications authorities in many countries allotted them a tiny frequency band in the 1.7 MHz and the 43 MHz ranges. They offered analog wireless connection from the handset to the landline base unit over a few feet. Static and frequent dropouts were a problem. You could get a dropout if a neighbor started a car or someone in the kitchen ran a blender. If someone next door had the same model of phone, you could sometimes even eavesdrop on their conversations. Some 43 MHz phones are still available today; they are so cheap (no more than £15 or £20) that people sometimes prefer them. Better technology, though, doesn’t cost much more.
Modern cordless phone systems use newer technology for an excellent user experience
Current cordless phone technology is able to link the handset and the base station through a wireless digital link. Digital phones are somewhat expensive, though (usually over £60). Most people today continue to buy slightly older analog technology for its cost-effectiveness.
Analog cordless phones that work on the 900 MHz, 2.4 GHz and 5.8 GHz bands are very popular today. Since they use a high frequency range, conversations on them come with practically no static or interference. They offer reasonable range, too. Analog phones offer good sound quality; many people prefer the sound of analog systems to that of digital systems.
Choosing a digital cordless phone system
While many people stay away from digital systems because of their price tag, digital cordless technology offers a number of important advantages.
To begin, analog cordless phone systems are limited to two handsets. If you would like multiple handsets placed around your house, you need to move up to digital technology.
Analog cordless systems, no matter how high the frequency range, are able to be intercepted by neighborhood radio enthusiasts with scanners. If you don’t like the idea of being overheard, digital systems offer you some security. For the best kind of security, you need to look for a system that offers Digital Spread Spectrum (DSS) technology. The latest in cordless technology is something called DECT. While models with this technology can be used as high-quality residential cordless phones, they really have much better capabilities. For instance, many models feature Wi-Fi ability. Most homes don’t need such advanced capabilities.
Deciding which cordless phone features you need
Caller ID: While nearly every cordless phone on the market features caller ID to show you the number of the person calling you, only some models offer caller ID on waiting calls. For caller ID to work well, you need a phone whose phone book function has room for entries for all the people you know. Only then do you get to see the name of the person calling you. Most cordless phones have room for no more than 50 entries.
Multiple line operation: If you have more than one phone line coming to your home, you need to buy a cordless model that accepts multiple phone lines. Multiple-line phones should come with a Hold button on the handset. This way, when you are on a call on one phone line, you can put the call on hold and speak to a caller ringing you on another line. If you would like to speak to multiple parties at the same time, you should look for a model that allows conference calls.
Recent activity memory: Just like cellphones, cordless phones offer you a list of recent phone calls, too. Some phones only offer you a list of numbers that you’ve recently dialed. They don’t include numbers that you’ve received. You need to look for a phone that offers you full recent activity history.
Digital answering machines on cordless phones
Answering machines aren’t separate units that record phone messages to cassette tape anymore. Instead, they are just a feature built into regular phones. You get phone answering ability very cheaply this way. The answering systems that are built into cordless phones offer better performance and a better set of features than stand-alone answering machines.