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No matter how high-tech your home office is, telephone is still most basic and essential of your business tools. Available features are at an all-time high and prices are at an all time low. Almost any home office phone on market comes equipped with programmable speed-dial numbers, multiple-line capability, speakerphone operation, conference call capability, and headset jacks. In addition, your local phone company offers a wide array of add-on services such as called id, voice mail, flat-rate long distance and more.
If your work keeps you up and around your home office, or if you like to take business calls while out on your patio or while walking around your home, then a cordless phone is a joy to have. There are so many makes and models to choose from that it almost seems like you need a consultant to help you make right choice. It's not really that hard. Just keep following in mind:
a) Choose right technology
Avoid analog phones at all costs. Analog phones are susceptible to interference from other devices and range is very limited. Also, analog phones permit eavesdropping through baby monitors and other cordless phones.
Digital phones have greater range than analog phones plus they offer better call privacy through use of random codes that scramble communications between handset and base unit.
Digital Spread Spectrum (DSS) is best of breed for right now. The Spread Spectrum technology uses multiple channels and frequency hopping to thoroughly scramble communicate between handset and base unit. You also get increased range due to decreased electrical interference, plus DSS phones are permitted to use more powerful transmitters.
The range of your cordless phone also depends upon its assigned radio frequency. Most home office phones fall into three frequencies.
900 MHz: This is by far worst choice. This frequency is crowded with devices such as baby monitors, pagers, and cell phones, and is subject to maximum interference. A 900-MHz phone has a range of around 1,500 feet and prices start at $20.
2.4 GHz: While once best choice available, 2.4-GHz spectrum is overrun with wireless networking, microwaves, and other devices. A 2.4-GHz phone has a range of 2,200 feet and pricing starts around $50.
5.8 GHz: This is latest unlicensed spectrum available for wireless devices. Very few devices operate in this spectrum so there is a marked reduction in interference. A 5.8-GHz phone also boasts a range of around 2,200 feet and start at about $150.
c) Other considerations
Make sure that any phone you select has a headset jack, and then invest in a headset. There is nothing worse than cradling your phone on your shoulder while you consult your files or try to type something on your keyboard. A headset frees both hands while you talk.
Don't forget to take a look at your potential phone's battery life as well. Most cordless phones offer at least four hours of talk time and seven days of standby. Make sure that your phone uses replaceable battery packs, and that battery packs are widely available.
One last thought. Cordless phones are useless without power, so always keep a regular corded phone handy for blackout emergencies.
There is a lot more to equipping an efficient home office than first meets eye. Hopefully this two-part series gets you going in right direction. Chances are everything that you buy for your home office is tax deductible. Check with your accountant to be sure.
Vishal P. Rao is the editor of Home Based Business Opportunities - A web site dedicated to opportunities, ideas and resources to help you start and run a home based business. Visit his site at: http://www.home-based-business-opportunities.com