For many years, cordless phones have provided us with the convenience and freedom to go anywhere within the phones range to talk. But with some cordless phones this freedom comes with a price. With analog cordless phones anyone with a radio scanner or baby monitor, within a mile or more from your home, can eavesdrop on your conversations. All cordless phones use a radio signal to transmit your conversation from the base station to the handset, and a slightly different radio signal to transmit it from the handset back to the base station. Older cordless phones, and even some of the least expensive newer models, use an analog radio signal to transmit your conversations. Radio scanners, baby monitors, and other wireless communication devices also use analog radio signals to transmit and receive information. To make things worse, they use the same frequency range that some cordless phones use. This makes it easy for anyone with a baby monitor, radio scanner or even some walkie-talkies to tune into your phones frequency and listen in on your conversation.
Digital cordless phones eliminate most eavesdropping.
A digital phone converts your conversation into binary code, a series of zeroes and ones, before it is transmitted from the base to the handset or from the handset to the base. Then the base or handset converts it back into the original analog signal so you can hear it or it can be sent over your phone line. Analog radio receivers used in scanners and other wireless communication devices can not convert this binary code into usable sound. Newer cordless phones also transmit between the base and handset at a higher radio frequency then can be picked up by most scanners and baby monitors. The most advanced cordless phones, DECT 6.0 phones, transmit at a radio frequency that has been dedicated exclusively for voice communication applications by the FCC. There are other features that can make your cordless phone conversations even more secure. Digital Spread Spectrum Technology, or DSS, sometimes called Frequency Hopping Spread Spectrum, or FHSS, uses frequency hopping to transmit your conversation between the base and handset. The phone rapidly switches from one frequency to the next several times per second making it almost impossible for others to follow your conversation. The pattern of which frequency the base and handset will switch to next is reset each time you place the handset back on the base.
So what security features should you look for in a new cordless phone? Depending on your security needs and your budget, look for cordless phones with these security features.
- 2.4GHz digital phones using DSS (Digital Spread Spectrum), or FHSS (Frequency Hopping Spread Spectrum) technology.
- Â 5.8GHz digital phones using DSS (Digital Spread Spectrum), or FHSS (Frequency Hopping Spread Spectrum) technology.
- Â DECT 6.0 phones. The FCC has set aside the 1.9GHz frequency range these Digitally Enhanced Cordless Telecommunication
devices use exclusively for voice communication applications.