Lower frequencies usually provide better range because the signal’s wavelength is longer and can travel around obstacles. This is why analog cellular phones, which use the 800 MHz frequency band, have better ranges than digital PCS systems, which use a the higher 1900 MHz band. So why do 2.4 GHz cordless phones have a better range than other cordless phones? Wouldn’t a 900 MHz cordless phone, which has a longer wavelength, perform better? In most cases, the answer is no. Interestingly enough, it all has to do with confined space.
Confined spaces, like those found in a home or office, create an unique environment for people using cordless phones. Obstructions are everywhere; office equipment, home appliances, cubicles, walls, and doors all obstruct the direct handset-to-base path required to send and receive signals. Therefore, a signal must bounce from object to object until it finds the reception antenna. The lower frequency signals at the 46-49 MHz range have wavelengths of about 18 feet, so they must be repeatedly deflected to cover an area completely. This causes the signal to loose strength before finally reaching the reception antenna. Also, these types of cordless phones require longer antennae in order to catch the signals, usually about 2 to 3 feet. Signals in the 900 MHz range have wavelengths of a few feet, making it easy for the signals to bounce around the room and cover the area more effectively.
900 MHz cordless phones use a smaller antenna, usually about 6 inches. The wavelengths of 2.4 GHz cordless phones are even less than those of the 900 MHz type. With a 2.4 GHz cordless phone, the room is covered even more quickly and antennae are only a few inches in size!
The 5.8GHz bands have much greater spectrum available. In this band there are 12 non-overlapping channels, each with 20MHz of bandwidth. The 5.8 GHz Frequency-Hopping Spread Spectrum technology operates on a different wavelength with much less traffic than the 2.4 GHz technology while maintaining the great security, incredible clarity and long range. This means significantly better performance as compared to the 2.4 GHz band. The entire 2.4 GHz band is 80MHz wide, which only allows three non-overlapping channels.
DECT 6.0 has proven multiple applicability as a network access in residential, business and public environments showing easy mobility, speech quality comparable to wireline telephony, a high level of security through advanced digital technology and encryption, allowing for high subscriber densities, flexible bandwidth allocation, multiple service support, cost competitiveness, flexible deployment and simple installation.
Power to the people.
The first cordless phones used a very low wattage output of about .001 watts. This prevented you from hearing your neighbor’s conversations. A lower wattage meant that clarity and range were being limited. With the advent of DSS (Digital Spread Spectrum) and SST (Spread Spectrum Technology), signals are scrambled or divided, making eavesdropping less of an issue. With an increase in wattage came an increase in cordless range as well as greater call clarity.
Most 2.4 GHz phones include SST as a standard features. Many 900 MHz phones also feature SST. Because SST requires a higher wattage, the battery life is slightly shorter than non-SST cordless phones. How much shorter? Not much really. Case in point: the Engenius SN920 features a battery talk time of up to 4 hours and the ability to fully charge a spare battery in 80 minutes.
Have a wireless computer network, or thinking about getting one? 5.8 GHz technology will not interfere with wireless networks such as 802.11b or 802.11g WiFi. If high performance is an important requirement, then lean toward the 5.8GHz band.
DECT 6.0 operates in the preferred 1880 to 1900 MHz band using GFSK (BT = 0.5) modulation. DECT has been designed to provide access to any type of telecommunication network thus supporting numerous different applications and services. The benefits offered by this high quality access technology are recognized by more and more users, regulators, standardization bodies, network operators, and equipment manufacturers.
Clarity, Range, and Security.
It is a well established fact that clarity increases as you move up in frequency range. A 900 MHz cordless will have a greater clarity than a 46-49 MHz cordless phone, and a 2.4 GHz cordless phone will have a greater clarity than a 900 MHz cordless phone. And 5.8 GHz technology operates on a different wavelength with much less traffic than the 2.4 GHz technology while maintaining the great security, incredible clarity and long range.
The DECT 6.0 standard provides the measures to counteract the natural security flaws that generally appear when applying cordlessness. Effective subscription and authentication protocols have been included to prevent unauthorized access and an advanced ciphering concept provides protection against eavesdropping.
Probably the most asked question we hear is "What is the range on this phone?" The answer to this question is very subjective. Several factors, including obstructions, interference from other electronic devices, and weather can affect the range of a cordless telephone.
Here is a general guide for cordless phone ranges. The higher numbers represent expected range under ideal circumstances.
Cordless Phone Ranges
Frequency Range 46-49 MHz 40 to 250 feet 900 MHz 75 to 400 feet 900 MHz w/SST 200 to 1500 feet 900 MHz (EnGenius) 2500 feet to 5 miles 2.4 GHz w/SST 300 to 2000 feet 5.8 GHz 300 to 2000 feet 6.0 DECT 300 to 2000 feet
Without question, the EnGenius DuraFon 1X Long Range Cordless Phone System is the best cordless phone when it comes to range.
If you’re looking for a more affordable cordless phone, or one with more features, we highly recommend Panasonic’s line of Gigarange phones. Panasonic handles the 900 MHz vs. 2.4 GHz controversy in an interesting way: 2.4 GHz/900 MHz Twin Band Transmission Design. These phones also come with SST standard and offer a wide selection of features like Caller ID and Answering Machine. Did we mention they come in black, silver, and even blue?