Cordless Phone Dropouts - Grrr!
June 17, 2008 9:58 AM   Subscribe

DECT Cordless Phone dropouts are driving me insane

I spend a lot of time on the phone and I like my cordless phone, but it has dropouts that bother me. Sometimes they are sparse and other times there will be 2 or 3 in the same minute. When the audio drops, it just goes silent for about a half second then picks back up. It is not audible on the other side (or they just don't mention it, but it doesn't cause they to pause or anything).

The phones are Panasonic DECT 6.0 phones, TGA1034S. The volume is great and the address books are nice. I get good reception. But I have dropouts that are driving me crazy. They occur no matter how far away from the base I am. The base is plugged into the electrical and phone jacks and all phones just talk to it.

I've seen information about cordless phones not playing well with wireless routers, but these DECT phones I thought were supposed to not be susceptible to that.

My wireless router is a Netgear router I think running b/g. It is running on channel 11. I can't find anything that would let me change where the phones are running. The phones are ~1.9Ghz I think and the Wifi is 2.4GHz and I'm at 11 which should be the top of that. So they should be far enough apart.

I've tried moving the electrical plug from the GFI plug in the kitchen to a non-GFI with no change. I haven't yet tried moving my wireless to another channel because they seem suitable separated to me.

Do I just have some bad phones? My best guess is the dropout is the DECT phone swapping frequencies, but I can't imagine a noticeable dropout is normal behavior for this. Any help would be very appreciated! Thanks.
posted by cmm to Technology (1 answer total)
Don't know about the later Panasonic models, and I don't know about the US-approved models or US telco line specs, but in Australia early Panasonic fax machines & DECT phones used to have similar problems on long lines (or lines with lower feed current e.g. RIMs). The phone line interface was line powered (i.e. the plugpack only supplied the base transceiver & handset charging ccts, not the line cct) and, if the loop current was too low to continuously power the line cct, would occasionally 'grab' the line for a few seconds during a call in order to charge a supercap.

The standard cure (from the telco POV) was to increase the line current where possible (i.e. change the telco end line settings to 600/600 from 1200/1200 or Complex Z), or stick a line repeater in where possible (we only ever did that on extremely long lines in rural areas). Failing that, the standard solution was to tell the customer "buy another brand - we only seem to have these problems with Panasonics" (which was 100% true).

I'd try another brand and see how that goes. If the phone has a 'line type' (or 'impedance', or 'Z') switch on the bottom, you may be able to fix the problem by changing the switch setting. But I don't remember any of the Panasonics having such a switch.

Oooh - just remembered one other thing. Do you have DSL on that line? Some Panasonic phones didn't require filters, some did, and some required 2 filters in series. It was something of a crap shoot as to which required what, and what the effects of various combinations were - sometimes phones that didn't require filters had similar dropout problems; some that did require filters also had problems because of the reduced line current through the filter. The cure in either case was to fit a central filter (lower line loss), or use only the best quality in-line filters. Unfortunately, due to the difference in telco specs between the US & here (and the fact I've been out of that game for a couple of years now), I can't make any recommendations as to what the best filters are...

(They were odd, those Panasonics. They also had an overzealous protection circuit that, on short lines, would sometimes trigger during the incoming ring voltage. This caused "1 burst of ring" faults - a call would come in, the protection cct would short the line out and effectively answer the call, then immediately reset and drop out the call.)
posted by Pinback at 10:56 PM on June 17, 2008

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