How Do Cordless Phones Work

The telecommunications industry has immensely evolved in the last 20 years. And especially since Steve Jobs introduced the Apple iPhone, smartphones have dominated the mobile and telecommunications market. From 13-year-olds up to the elderly, everybody relies on smartphones these days.

But even though a smartphone has millions of features, some older phone types are still used around the average household. We are not talking about the ancient button phones of Nokia. Rather, it’s our very old friend- the cordless phone.

In today’s informative article, we will talk about how cordless phones work at an office or around your household. All the information you’ve ever wanted about them is here right now.

What Comes With A Cordless System?

A cordless phone set comes with a base and one or more handsets.


The base is the square-shaped box where you keep the actual phone. It’s the place that sends the signal to the handsets wherever they are in the vicinity.

The cordless handset can be kept in the base when it needs to charge.

Signal range from a base varies from system to system, but you can buy range extenders which will re-strengthen and redistribute the signal to make it go further.

Some bases have additional functions, such as working as an answering machine or being used as an intercom between multiple handsets.


The cordless handset is used for making and receiving phone calls. This handset will only function if it is within the range of the base.

When the charge of the handset is low, it has to be returned to the base in order to charge.

In cases where there are multiple handsets, a smaller charging base should be available to place in the area you want to keep the handset.

How The Technology Works

  1. A cordless phone is a combination of quite a lot of things. It consists of a telephone, radio transmitter and a receiver.
  2. The base is connected to the standard telephone line via a wired connection. It receives incoming phone calls as an electric signal and converts this electronic signal into a radio signal.
  3. Next, the base transmits this radio signal over a certain area according to the signal strength and range.
  4. The handset receives this radio signal and converts this radio signal into an electric signal.
  5. The electric signal goes to the speaker of your handset, and you finally hear the voice of the person who has called you.
  6. When you speak, the sound of your voice is converted into an electric signal.
  7. The electric signal is converted into the radio signal by the handset again and transmitted back to the base.
  8. The base receives the radio signal and converts the radio signal back to an electric signal again.
  9. This continuous process is what goes on back and forth during a phone call so that you can hear the person speaking, and they can hear you.

Features Of A Cordless Phone

Three features matter the most for a cordless phone. These are:

  • Range
  • sound quality
  • security

Interestingly, these three things are symbiotic with each other in many ways.


The range is determined by how far away you can take your handset from the base while talking. The sound quality can deteriorate when the phone is too far away from the base. Once you are too far away or out of range, the handset and base are no longer able to communicate.


Security is also a concern while using a cordless phone. Since the mechanism works on radio signals and these signals travel through open airways, they can be picked up by other devices such as other cordless phones, baby monitors, or radio scanners.

With this in mind, many cordless phones now operate with DECT 6.0 technology. This technology prevents interference from other wireless networks, and in making the cordless phone network more secure, it also increases the range of a cordless phone and the sound quality.

Cordless Phone Frequencies

The higher the radio frequency, the greater distance your phone call can get transmitted and allowing you to take your cordless phone further away from the base.

The frequencies at which cordless phones operate are:

  • 43-50 Hz
  • 900 MHz
  • 900 MHz w/SST
  • 900 MHz (EnGenius)
  • 2.4 GHz w/SST
  • 5.8 GHz
  • 6.0 DECT

The most common frequency for a cordless phone used at offices and homes is 900MHz. This frequency gets a range of 75 to 400 feet depending on the obstacles in and around the area.

6.0 DECT will cover between 300 to 2000  feet, with security to prevent eavesdropping.

900 MHz (EnGenius) technology will travel between 2500 feet to 5 miles. However, this technology is out of the price range for most homes and offices.

Final Word

Cordless phones have made life much easier for those who still use landlines.

Gone are the times when you had to stand next to the phone in a specific location to talk to someone.

The technology behind cordless phones is forever improving, but right now, this article has summed up what you’ll find in the majority of households and workplaces using this type of technology.

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