Cordless phone technology: a brief history
Cordless Phones – as the term suggests – is a phone sans any cord. Instead the handset communicates with a base unit using wireless technology. That is, through radio signals instead of electronic pulses in a traditional phone. And as long as the base unit could receive signals from the handset, the user is free to roam a few hundred meters without being tethered to any wire.
Even though a cordless phone uses wireless technology to communicate between the handset and the base unit, it is not quite the same as a wireless phone. A cordless phone handset must to be periodically placed back on the base unit for recharging, which is simultaneously linked physically to the incoming phone wire and an electric supply. In case of a power failure, the cordless phones may be rendered inoperative and hence the user may have to rely on specifically designed battery backups for temporary restoration of service.
Cordless phones first hit the market in the early 70s as the direct fallout of the then new wireless technology. The first of the models had long extendable antennas replacing the conventional cords and it used the same two-way radio technology as used in baby monitors or walkie-talkies for communication.
Soon the FCC allotted a bandwidth just above the AM frequency for cordless communication, but the quality of communication was poorer, often marred by electrical interference or faulty reception. Also, they did not have had any battery backup to meet accidental power failures.
But, over the years, wireless technology has improved dramatically and today’s models are almost free from all the technical issues its predecessors had. In today’s models, a strong transmission signal (900 MHz to 2.4 GHz) and an enhanced antenna and receiver system ensures that the user can have a crystal clear sound sans any interference.
Rechargeable batteries in the base unit could provide hours of uninterrupted backup power in case of a power failure (even though most phones can lose power without any warning), while different channels within the same bandwidth – which can be selected by the user – offers a new level of wireless communication experience to the user, in terms of precision and clarity.
Further, in the earlier models, it was technically possible to eavesdrop on an ongoing communication using scanners tuned to the same frequency. But the current models comes with enhanced security measures that uses techniques such as electronic scrambling or detuning to avoid unscrupulous ears. In other words, they are almost immune to electronic hacking, especially the latest DSS ones.
All of the latest cordless models offer additional features such as silent signaling, camera, encryption technology for better security, amplifier, caller id, intercom, memory, paging, dual-line capability, and self answering system, but the availability of these facilities varies with models, make and price tag.
If you are ready to shell out some more money, you can have all the cutting edge facilities available in your cordless phone. But this is for those who think that cordless phones are much more than for simple talking!
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