Vonage's monthly prices seem to have gone up a lot over the last few years. But there are still many other cheaper options.

VoIP Reviews & Prices - a chart comparing 13 different VoIP services.
This is in lieu of a post I wanted to write, but haven't had time for.

Primary phone line:
blue & white (twisted)
or
red & green (old style)

Modular connectors:
Phone jacks; space for 6 wires:
RJ11 = 2 wires (1 line) = 6P2C (6 position, 2 contacts)
RJ14 = 4 wires (2 lines) = 6P4C
RJ25 = 6 wires (3 lines) = 6P6C
4P4C = smaller plug for phone handset

Ethernet; 8 wires:
RJ45 = 8P8C
CAT5 = ethernet cable (8 pins). Normally only 4 of the 8 wires are used.
CAT5e & CAT6 = also ethernet cable; supports faster speeds.
"gigabit" ethernet - uses all 8 wires.
We bought a new set of cordless phones due to problems with the answering machine on our old set. (After the answering machine had picked up a call, picking up one of the other phones didn't always stop the message from playing. Even pressing the stop button on the base unit wouldn't make the message stop.)

The old set was Uniden, the new set is Panasonic, and both are DECT 6.0.

When in long conference calls, I like to lay the handset on my desk with the speaker phone turned on. Even with normal calls, I tend to use the speaker phone, as I don't like having to keep the handset pressed to my ear.

However, the speaker volume on the new Panasonic handsets isn't as loud as on the Uniden ones. This is a drawback. I wondered whether it was possible to register a Uniden handset to the Panasonic base unit, but considering that they are made by different companies, it didn't seem likely.

While searching for alternate solutions, I found a brochure for a hands-free cordless phone accessory made by Philips. The brochure says "Universal Compatibility. Compatible with virtually all DECT cordless phones." Philips' website states "If your home phone is compatible with the GAP (Generic Access Profile) standard it will be compatible with the handsfree phone."

My hopes were raised. Those statements seemed to indicate that most DECT cordless phones adhere to a generic interoperability standard.

However, after doing some more searching, it unfortunately seems that the GAP standard is mainly implemented in Europe, not in the United States.

I tried registering the Uniden handset to the Panasonic base anyway, to see if it would fortuitously work. It didn't. The base gave a double-beep indicating that some kind of communication had occurred, but the handset showed the message "Registration failed".

I have found another potential solution. The Panasonic answering machine works properly, in that if one picks up any phone which is connected to the phone line, the message stops. Therefore, I can have both the Panasonic and Uniden sets plugged in and operating at the same time, with the answering machine on the Uniden set turned off. Even though they are both DECT 6.0, they don't seem to interfere with each other.

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djinncoyote

September 2017

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