How to Select a Wireless Phone

August 13, 2010 by Joe Shanahan

In previous posts I discussed some of the benefits of wireless VoIP, as well as how to design your wireless VoIP network.

Now it’s time to look into choosing the wireless VoIP phone that is right for you. Before selecting a phone there are several factors that you should consider. Things such as why you are looking for a wireless IP phone, what type of phone you require, who will be using it, what is the budget, and what do you expect and need out of the phone should all be thought out prior to purchase.

Let’s first take a look at the two main types of wireless VoIP phones – WiFi and DECT.

Wireless Versus DECT

WiFi phones require a wireless access point in order to connect and register with a service provider or PBX. These phones normally work with the 802.11b/g standard and will scan to find the nearest access point. At this point, all WiFi phones are single line units and there are none that support multiple lines.

DECT phones are wireless, but they have a base station that is hardwired to an internet connection and then the signal is transmitted wirelessly to the handset. These are single line phones as well and usually have a range of 300 square feet from the base station. Signal repeaters are available if you need to increase the range that the phone can move from the base station.

Now that we have identified the two different types of wireless phones, it is time to consider which type is appropriate based on the user’s needs and preferences.

Determining Your Needs

The first question is ‘where will the phone be used?’ If the user wants to be mobile and use this phone while traveling, or is in an environment where he or she can’t be tied down to an area within 300 square feet of a base station, then the WiFi phone is probably the best choice.

Once that is determined, the factors to consider before selecting a model include budget (prices can range between $150 and $400+ per unit), and what specific features are required. Features to think about include roaming between access points (most wifi phones will do this), ease of configurability, headset compatibility, conferencing, call forwarding and speaker phone among others.

If the environment where the wireless VoIP phone is needed is a single location and traveling with the phone is not required, then a DECT solution is most likely the way to go. The call quality and reliability of the DECT phones is generally better than that of the WiFi phones as the internet connection is hardwired to the base station.

DECT technology does a great job in sending the signal wirelessly to the handset, and multiple handsets can work off a single base station.


3 Comments

  • Bobby

    Succinct, thorough overview. DECT units might be the wise choice for the majority of businesses for their stability and sound fidelity.

  • voip

    I personally like dect phones the most! Great post though!

  • Hello,
    I have Uverse ATT service which gave 1 router EWIRE I38HG with two IP lines.

    I need to have 4 wireless phones for my small business, hopefully with two lines access.

    What is the DECT configuration I need ? Thanks

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