What Options are Available for WiFi Enabled Phones?
When installing a new UC system, many users want to know what type of portable devices are available. Learn here what you can choose from!
I need a portable phone for my phone system. What should I use?
Here at CSM, we are consistently asked what options are available for portable devices when a client installs or upgrades a VoIP or UC phone system. Perhaps not surprisingly, there are several options available dependent on what type of system the organization chooses. Below are several protocols that work best for different situations:
- DECT- Digital Enhanced Cordless Telecommunications
- WiFi Enabled SIP- Session Initiated Protocol wireless phones that work on the clients WiFi network
- Analog- Typical cordless phone such as a client may use in their home
- Smart Phone- Either an App (application) or programming in the system to enable a smart phone to integrate with the UC system
The correct type of portable phone depends on the current or future situation of your UC system or telecommunications network
A Breakdown of the Options
Digital Enhanced Cordless Telecommunications is a protocol that is generally proprietary to whichever UC system you may be using or considering. For instance, the ShoreTel/ Mitel product is the 930d, Panasonic has the KX-TGC352B, and V-Tech has a range of options. These products work when a customer needs access to a range of proprietary features or functions that may not operate on a generic SIP WiFi enabled phone. Most can have multiple handsets which operate off of one base station and nearly all have repeaters which can be added to the network in order to extend range. This link to our Mitel/ ShoreTel page contains additional information regarding the 930d DECT telephone.
WiFi Enabled SIP
When a client has a robust WiFi network in place, one that can even prioritize voice traffic, then we often lean towards WiFi enabled SIP telephones. These come in choices which range in price from under $100 to over $500. They also have a wide range of designs, some made to be so rugged they can be used in nuclear reactors! However, if a WiFi network is not robust enough or has heavy traffic, quality can suffer greatly. Consult with your UC vendor to determine if your WiFi network is up to the challenge of adding voice.
Wireless analog phones are by far the cheapest option that we are discussing. From as little as $10, a portable wireless phone can be added to any UC system that is capable of utilizing analog devices. ShoreTel/ Mitel can do this natively, but even if your system cannot, SIP to analog converters are easy to install and very cost effective. If the cordless analog phone you purchased came with a basic voice mail or answering machine attached, this should be disabled so that it does not interfere with the UC or phone system voice mail system. The main downside to an analog portable is that is really has no functions available. However, if range and functions are not important and a user simply wants line access, analog can be a cost effective way to add portability to a UC system.
In the advanced world of communications that we now live, it is often possible to tie a smart phone to the UC system being used in your office. Options in this range from Apps which deliver a level of functionality over WiFi to full blown integration which works over 4g, WiFi, and operates as a standard VoIP phone completely integrated on a clients smart phone. In some cases, programming can be made within the phone system to add a mobile device to a users extension, thereby having calls forwarded there and then if not answered, they are returned to the UC voice mail system. In others, a App can be downloaded to offer more functionality such as call transfer, hold, and access to other features. Your UC vendor can inform you on the different options available to your specific system.