For most typical users, cordless phones offer more than enough range. The majority of models allow you to move freely around an average-sized home of office. However, some may find that the standard range of a cordless phone just isn't enough for them.
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As an example, consider an employee in a very large office building, or a job site with various locations distributed from each other at a distance which is quite considerable for your day-to-day cordless phone. The ability to move freely throughout the entire building or job site while still being able to maintain a phone conversation is a potentially highly useful one. It can improve efficiency and allow uninterrupted communications.
The Maximum Range
The majority of cordless DECT phones tend to offer roughly the same range. This is usually about 50 meters for indoor usage and 300 meters for outdoor usage. Indoor usage is assumed to be where the phones base and handset are used within a house or analogous structure, whereas outdoor usage assumes both devices are being used outdoors. Typically the range of a specific device will be included with its information or located inside its manual. These ratings are, in many ways, estimates.
There are many different factors which can affect cordless phone range. Naturally, manufacturers aren't able to test for every possible environment and set up. However, most of the bigger brands like Gigaset and Panasonic do perform in-depth tests on their models. But in certain environments or settings, obstacles have the potential to impede transmissions. This can lead to loss of signal strength and potentially reduced range. This effect is often accountable for poor performance of cordless phones and other radio devices in certain areas.
In the case of overcoming obstacles to signal, a cordless phone which simply has a longer range, such as the BT Elements, is not quite enough to solve the signal challenges. However, a device does exist which is capable of not only boosting the range of a cordless phone but also potentially helping to alleviate some of the headaches caused by less-than-optimal signal environments.
The Cordless Phone Repeater
The principle behind the cordless phone is fairly basic: an electrical signal is picked up from the phone line, translated into a radio signal by the phones transceiver (located in the base or charger part of the cordless set up,) which is then broadcast to the phones handset which finally turns the signal into audio heard by the user. To transmit data back from the phone, the process is simply carried out in reverse. With this in mind, it becomes quite easy to see how a simple device called repeater can be used to extend the range and capabilities of a cordless phone.
Placed in an optimal position, the repeater picks up signals from the phone or its base transceiver. It then amplifies these signals slightly and re-broadcasts them to be picked up by both phone and base. You can even buy a long range bundle that includes a repeater if you know that you're going to need the extra range provided.
By placing repeaters at specific positions, it becomes possible to vastly increase the range of a cordless phone. Multiple repeaters can even be used in sequence to further boost the signal.
Summing It All Up
So just what is the absolute maximum distance a cordless phone could operate at? For a standard cordless phone with no additional technology, the maximum range is probably somewhere around the 50 meter indoor/300 meter outdoor range. With the help of well-placed repeaters, it is in theory possible to extend the range of a cordless device indefinitely. This is because multiple repeaters can be daisy-chained together to provide as much range as desired.