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What Is a DECT Phone?

DECT phone - handset and base station.
Some DECT phones can be used in the same way as walkie talkies.
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  • Originally Written By: Garry Crystal
  • Revised By: G. Wiesen
  • Edited By: Niki Foster
  • Last Modified Date: 07 October 2014
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Digital Enhanced Cordless Telecommunications (DECT) phones are devices that can be used to communicate through phone lines without a cord connecting the handset and base. The analog technology used in earlier cordless phone models could result in sound quality that was not always very good. With digital technology, the sound is clearer, the distance between the phone and the base station can be greater, and a wider range of frequencies are available.

Properties and Features

A DECT phone, commonly known as DECT 6.0 in the US, requires a base station to charge the handset and receive the phone's signal. It usually comes with one handset, but additional ones can be added on some models. This makes them useful in homes with multiple floors or large layouts, and for offices that want several cubicles to access the same phone system. Each handset is set up to communicate with the same base station, and usually comes with its own charging dock or "cradle."

The range of use for a handset depends on the phone itself, though it typically can reach over 300 feet (up to 100 meters). Digital technology allows a DECT phone to have much greater range than was previously possible, though this can be affected by various environment factors. Objects between the handset and base, for example, can potentially disrupt the signal and reduce the range of these phones.

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Some DECT phones can be used with general wireless technology, allowing different handsets connected to the same base station to be used as walkie talkies. Other standards, such as Wi-FiĀ®, have been more popular in some markets, however, so DECT technology has not expanded to many other devices in places like the US. A DECT phone can often be used with Voiceover Internet Protocol (VoIP) technology, allowing it to remain functional with the new communication platform.

Risks and Concerns

One of the biggest issues with DECT 6.0 technology in the US is that it does not include a single technology profile for use by all manufacturers. This means that a handset produced by one company does not typically function with a base or accessory made by another. Someone using a DECT 6.0 phone should look for accessories and parts made by the same manufacturer to ensure all of the components are compatible.

There is some question of how secure the signal is from this type of phone. DECT technology uses encryption to protect the signal, but the encryption has been broken and someone could potentially listen in on a phone call. It is also possible for someone to intercept the signal from a handset to the base. This allows a different device to act as the base, sending a call through it to another location, rather than through the actual base and phone line.

There is concern among some people about the radiation released by DECT phones. In general, they emit only a low level of radiation during use and while charging; even using the phone frequently should not cause any health issues. Many devices used on a daily basis do emit some radiation, however, and while individually these items are harmless, there is some concern about the possibility that long-term use of multiple devices could result in sufficient cumulative exposure for health concerns. Research into this exposure is ongoing.

History and Terminology

The DECT phone was initially introduced in Europe, and was first referred to as a "Digital European Cordless Telephone." It has since become an industry standard in many parts of the world. The term "DECT" by itself is typically used in Europe and other regions, such as Australia and different Asian countries.

In the US, the term "DECT 6.0" is used, but this does not indicate any particular technological designation. The "6.0" was chosen simply to indicate that it was a new technology for American consumers. A DECT phone in the US operates at 1.9 GHz, and often replaced phones that used the 5.8 GHz frequency. It was decided that "1.9" might seem inferior to "5.8," despite this not being technically accurate, and so "6.0" was chosen for US marketing.

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Discuss this Article

anon963118
Post 56

Where do I find the + sign on the dect phone?

anon944285
Post 55

I have a DECT 6.0 cordless phone and my next door neighbor, whom I know has a police scanner, seems to be able to listen and know what my conversations are about. How can this be? I thought these phones were secure and were the latest technology. Is there anything I can do about it besides going back to using a corded phone?

anon942015
Post 54

My DECT 6.0 broadcasts my own voice back through the earpiece when I speak. How do I get it to stop?

anon343994
Post 52

I have a Panasonic system in place now, but the number of satellite phones is maxed out. Can I get another Panasonic system (same or different?) and use them together? When a call comes in will they act independently?

anon328920
Post 51

@anon268421: I have the same GE product and came here looking for the same answer. The paper user manual only has a picture that points at the announcement button on the right side of the base unit.

At first, I tried the review button on the base station which says, "Press and hold the announce key to record an announcement." So I thought a "key" should be on the face of the base or maybe on the hand set. It was only after I noticed the buttons on the side did I find my answer.

anon268421
Post 50

How do I erase the first outgoing message from the

answering machine, on a 27909 DECT 6.0 cordless handset with answering machine?

anon256232
Post 46

I have just bought a dect phone and when I ring it, my number doesn't ring and I can't get a dial tone, just a crackling noise, but when I plug my old phone in, it works fine. Why?

anon245755
Post 45

Is any DECT phone with GAP protocol supported ready for using for IP telephony (SIP-over-DECT?)

Poppins
Post 44

I am still confused about DECT phones. Do they emit more radiation than a 2.4ghz digital spread spectrum phone? Help! Are the new Siemens Eco phones less radiation than my old 2.4? Where can I find these answers? Thank you!

anon163954
Post 42

Got a Uniden DECT 1480; not mechanically bad but it's clear the technician that programmed the bloody phone had strictly no intention of ever purchasing one. Typical engineering behavior.

anon142050
Post 41

DECT phones have been reported to trigger heart rhythm abnormalities.

anon134779
Post 40

Yes, anon9937, there are reported health risks in using DECT phones. Many papers are published on this. Searching the web will quickly bring up the findings.

anon119111
Post 39

I recently purchased a panasonic DECT 6.0 with Bluetooth.

It is the worst phone in the world. This phone continually drops calls, either incoming cell or land calls. Also, an outside caller has to make several calls to me for this phone to recognize the call. That is, we pick up the phone, cell or landline, and the phone appears dead.

I finally deregistered blue tooth, but this phone as does not recognize fax signals automatically. I need to initiate the fax manually to receive the fax message.

I requested that panasonic refund my money because their technology is totally unsatisfactory.

Panasonic has one of the worst warranties in the world. They will not refund my money and they will not replace the phone with a new one. Panasonic stinks.

anon107012
Post 38

In cases where you have both telephone service and high speed DSL services using the same line, you will need to have a filter involved.

There are two common setups:

a) The telco technician will run a dedicated phone line from the phone box (NID) outside to the jack that the DSL modem uses with the filter installed in the NID itself.

This kind of setup will only allow the DSL modem to work on that one phone jack in the house.

b) The second option is through the use of DSL filters on all devices inside the house that connect to the phone line (except for the modem itself).

This option allows the modem to be connected to any jack in the house. This is the most common setup and will work fine with most phones.

Keep in mind that each additional device that you connect to a phone jack will make it harder to manage with individual filters so if you have a lot of devices (more than four), you might want to consider calling the phone company to get an NID filter with a dedicated line installed.

anon106561
Post 37

Help! I want to record my own outgoing message and am prompted to select Command 8, but the manual does not tell me how to find Command 8. Any help is needed now. Thanks.

anon105808
Post 36

Interesting comments. The problems that anon105659 describes are exactly the same problems that I had with my 5.8 gz phone. Switching to dect improved reception, and significantly reduced the number of complaints that I got from friends on the other end of the call. I am on cable with Primus voip. No problems whatsoever.

anon105659
Post 35

dect 6.0 is a farce as far as I am concerned. I have had two (Uniden and AT&T). Both had the same problem. I could not walk from the family room to the living room without losing the signal. Couldn't hear a word from the person I was talking to.

With my old 5.8, I could walk out of the house, over to my neighbors house, around the back to the pool and if I got a call, I could hear them as if I was standing next to the base unit. So, two units back for a refund and broke out the Uniden 5.8. Works just as great as always. So much for globalization and DECT 6.0.

anon105324
Post 34

Uniden DECT 1580 phone is a nightmare. I have DSL internet, and the phone interferes with the internet connection regularly. It may work fine for four or five days, but then the connection problems start. When this happens, the phone refuses to give a dial tone, and people calling me get a busy signal.

This technology is downright aggravating, and the phone is going back to the store tomorrow.

My former Uniden phone, a 2.4Ghz digital, didn't cause any problems at all.

anon99104
Post 33

I have a telecom brio dect cordless phone.

I've lost the manual and am unable to unlock the command.

"Calls Barred". Does anyone have a solution, please?

Thanks. Still a mystery to me.

khala
Post 32

response to anon92881: I had the same problem. Phones worked so I knew the batteries weren't dead. Tech advised removing and replacing existing batteries to reset the phone. It worked.

anon92881
Post 31

When a call comes in, people can't hear me at all, yet I can hear myself in my own ear piece when I talk. Is the handset broken or is it a programming problem?

anon88937
Post 30

is a dect phone the same as spread sprectum. can people listen in on your phone calls.

anon63675
Post 28

1.What about security? Is it possible for someone to listen in with a scanner like the old cordless phones?

2.Is the DECT phone radiating even when not in use and the handset is lying on the base station?

anon35023
Post 27

Is a DECT cordless phone safe? specifically :

1) Is the DECT phone radiating even when not in use and the handset is lying on the base station?

2) Is the radiation from a DECT cordless phone when in use less than or more than that of a mobile phone?

pattw
Post 26

We recently converted to FIOS phone service and we now have Caller ID, so I need to get some new phones for the house. I was looking at the DECT phones and am wondering if they will be compatible with our phone service, since we do not have digital.

Can anyone please help? We don't need any special features like fax or email or anything, just regular phone service. Thanks for any help!

anon23774
Post 25

Divvie blond question ...sorry!

We recently changed from having a landline at home as well as a broadband line to having both on only one land via BT Talk. We have had 2 months of problems with incoming calls now where they are inaudible. We have a cordless phone that works fine for outgoing calls and some incoming calls but is our problem with the incoming calls because our handset/telephone is not compatible with both the broadband and tel line coming in through the same source? Does it have to be a DECT phone to work on the broadband line?What do we need to look for on our phone to ascertain this? Please help as we are very stressed every time the phone goes!!!!!

khala
Post 24

When I use my dect phone to call another party that is on a 5.8 ghz frequency, or if the other party calls me from their 5.8 ghz phone what frequency is the call on and will there still be static on the line if the call is incoming from the 5.8 ghz phone?

MilesAhead
Post 23

I just purchased a GE 27909 DECT 6.0. It's the only phone I've ever owned without a switch to kill the ringer on the base unit. When you disable the ringer according to the instructions, it only kills the ringer in the handset!! So know I'm stuck unplugging the phone line as the only way to ignore early morning unwanted calls.

anon18455
Post 22

response to anon 9937: You are very wise to be concerned. Have the phone checked out for Electro Magnetic Fields (EMFs). We are more and more bombarded with these, from cell phone towers to household lights, particularly CFTs (compact fluorescent tubes).

pheasant
Post 21

My old Philips DECT phones are on their way out, and need to be replaced. One useful feature they have is that I can set up 3-way external calling by dialing TWO external numbers in turn (plus a little bit of button pressing). Is this feature common to all DECT handsets ?

davischris
Post 20

what is the difference between normal cordless phone and dect phone? i am working in a multi-storied building with a complex structure. can i use dect phone in the building with lot of terminals and more than 10 dect phones? (like a normal cordless phones, but the phone should be in "range" within every part of the building) Now my staff is using normal mobile phones.

anon10327
Post 19

A lot of DECT phones can be reset by pushing a reset knob or by a special command. I own two different DECT phones marketed by Philips: a Voip321 dual phone and a Philips DECT515. It seems that the Philips DECT phones have no provision to give the handset and/or the base station a hard reset.

The base station of the Voip321 can be reset with a registered handset. However, if the registration is the problem you are lost.

The handset of the DECT515 can be reset by removing the batteries for more than 8 hours. However, if that doesn't solve the problem there is no way to give the handset a hard reset.

Are you aware of this problem with Philips DECT phones? Or is there a "secret" solution for my problems?

anon10293
Post 18

is panasonic handset 1034 compatible with 8231 base?

anon10138
Post 17

Why do DECT phones use only radio spectrum?

anon9937
Post 16

Are there any known risks by using or having a DECT phone in your home? When I lived in Germany 2 years ago, there was an issue about that type phone at my child's school.

dannykicks
Post 15

In response to anon4936:

It depends on the model phone you get. The Philips DECT 6.0 allows any handset to pick up the incoming call. However, once one handset picks up that call, another person can't listen in with the other handset unless the call is transferred or 3-way calling between the 2 handsets and external caller are initiated.

It sounds like a lot of work, but only takes 3 minutes to get it down without issue.

dannykicks
Post 14

The Philips DECT 6.0 High Def voice is compatible with headsets. Battery life is 12 hours talk time and 150 hours on idle. The exact model number is CD4402B/37 and runs for just about $68 at Walmart. Setup is under 10 minutes and includes a second handset and base station. The second base station does not require a phone cord to be directly connected. The first station obviously does require a phone cord.

The phone is compatible with Voip services such as Vonage. The set includes speaker phone and direct calling to the other handset (intercom style). The phone LCD and keys are completely back lit with a vivid blue light. My only complaint about this model is that the ring tones (or as they say on the phone; ring melodies) are kinda annoying.

anon8145
Post 12

I have the same number for phone and fax. Used to work perfectly with my old Panasonic phone. With new Panasonic DECT 6.0 phone, when people call me, they immediately hear the ten digit dial sound and "beep" of the fax (and if I pick up immediately I also hear it.) very annoying! Any ideas why this happens, and what can I do to stop it?

murkev
Post 11

Do the DECT phones ALL use the Spread Spectrum technology, or is it not necessary any more?

anon6286
Post 10

Are all digital phones DECT are does DECT specify a particular standard for digital phones? If so are DECT phones superior to regular digital phones?

anon5938
Post 9

What about security? Is it possible for someone to listen in with a scanner like the old cordless phones?

anon5367
Post 8

I purchased a Panasonic DECT 6.0 phone (KX-TG8232) recently. I find that whenever this phone is active, I lose my interconnection via my DSL. The DSL line is filtered by the splitter provided by the phone company. Any ideas?

anon4936
Post 7

I purchased a GE 5.8Ghz and you couldn't have two people listen on two handsets to the same call. You had to transfer the call to the other handset. Will the DECT technology allow two people on different handsets talk to the same incoming caller?

For example, incoming phone call is answered by two different people at same time in household. On my old phone, both handsets could hear the incoming caller and we would figure out who they wanted to talk to and the other handset was hung up. But the GE only allowed one handset to hear it and then you had to transfer it to the right phone.

I decided to research phones and the DECT seems best. But I need the capability of having more than one handset answer the call.

anon3997
Post 5

My dect 6.0 phone is great except when I use my headset I get an echo. Are there headsets made for dect 6.0 technology?

anon3212
Post 4

I have a Uniden 1060 (DECT 6.0).

Specification-wise, what is the Peak Envelope Power of the Base and Handset? I'd really like to adjust the antenna to optimize the TPO (Transmitter Power Output (TPO).

I'm a ham radio operator.. sorry for all the techie stuff..

jay

anon2474
Post 3

Actually, the lower the frequency, the longer the range (due to a longer wavelength). A 900MHz phone generally will have much better range than a 5.8GHz phone.

anon2090
Post 2

I have seen plenty of DECT cordless phones that are headset compatible.

As for my question - how would you compare the range and call quality of a DECT phone vs. a 5.8 GHz digital phone like the Uniden TRU 9360? My current phone is a 2.4 GHz and gets static when I go outside (but still not far from the base). I've heard DECT may be better quality sound, but at "only" 1.7 GHz - wouldn't the range be much less than a 5.8 GHz? Thanks.

anon459
Post 1

are there any DECT cordless phones that are headset compatible?

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