I swung by a national discount department store the other day, and while walking through their electronics department strolled down an entire aisle of cordless phones on display. Interestingly enough I notice this enormous sign above the aisle that read “900 MHz Good - 2.4 GHz Better - 5.8 GHz Best.”

I suppose I really shouldn’t be surprised by blatant lies in marketing messages anymore, but this one got to me for some reason. So I thought I’d poke around on the Web to see what the manufacturers themselves were saying, and to my surprise found that they’re probably the source of this marketing ploy.

The truth is that the above referenced marketing sign was bass akwards. While reception and signal quality are impacted by a vast number of variables, typically lower frequency radio waves will penetrate through solid objects better. Therefore 900 MHz would technically be a better choice for a cordless telephone, as it’s signal is more likely to pass through walls allowing you roam farther away from the base. Unfortunately, many manufacturers have either discontinued or are phasing out 900 MHz phones and are moving to the newer, higher frequency bands for various reasons (including overcrowding).

Analog vs. Digital: It’s a Matter of Security…and Reception

Regardless of what frequency you decide to go with, I personally recommend that you choose a digital cordless phone using either DSS (Digital Spread Spectrum) or FHSS (Frequency Hopping Spread Spectrum). While there are a few different “flavors” of Spread Spectrum technology, the important things to note about it are that it:

  • Significantly increases range
  • Dramatically improves security
  • Makes the device less susceptible to interference

Spread Spectrum phones do cost more, but prices have dropped significantly over the last few years. Other features like voice mail and caller ID should certainly be considered when choosing a cordless phone, but if you’re at all interested in security and range you’ll want Spread Spectrum.

Anyway, that’s the gist of my unbiased opinion on cordless phones. I’m sure you can figure out my opinion on Technology Marketing Executives.