What Is a 5.8 GHz Cordless Phone?

Ken Black

A 5.8 gigahertz (GHz) cordless phone is a type of phone that transmits wireless signals between a handset and base at a frequency range of 5.8 GHz. The phone is one of the more recent offerings in the cordless phone market, first appearing at the beginning of the 21st century. A 5.8 GHz cordless phone may be preferred because of its clarity. It has less competition with other products in that frequency range, and therefore often experiences less interference than phones using lower frequencies.

A 5.8 GHz cordless phone.
A 5.8 GHz cordless phone.

In order to understand how a 5.8 GHz cordless phone helps provide a clearer transmission, it is first necessary to understand a little about frequencies and what is transmitted on them. During the mid 1980s, cordless phones operated at a frequency range of 46 to 49 megahertz (MHz). Beginning in 1990, the 900 MHz phones were introduced, followed by the 2.4 GHz in 1998. The 5.8 GHz cordless phone was introduced in 2002.

Cordless phones ultimately send signals across landlines.
Cordless phones ultimately send signals across landlines.

A higher frequency means that the radio waves are shorter. Thus, as they are deflected around objects, they tend to find their way to an antenna, either on the handset or on the base, more efficiently. Lower frequencies have longer wavelengths, which must be deflected more times around objects before they find their destination. Thus, if there is an obstructed line of sight between the transmitter and receiver, lower frequencies may actually provide a greater range. Typically, this is not the case, however, with homes and offices providing many different obstacles which must navigated.

As the cordless phone technology developed, it conflicted with other technologies each step of the way. Phones from 46 to 49 MHz would interfere with baby monitors and pagers. Those in the 900 MHz range were typically very clear, but the popularity of the phones in this range eventually caused more interference. When the 2.4 GHz was opened up, they ran into some interference problems with Wifi networks and microwave ovens. That is one reason for the evolution to the 5.8 GHz cordless phone.

As with all technologies, when the 5.8 GHz cordless phone was introduced, it was expensive, running more than $100 US Dollars (USD) in those initial years. As with most cordless phone technologies over time, the price eventually came down. Thus, those wanting to experience the clarity that a 5.8 GHz cordless phone has to offer do not need to spend a fortune for the opportunity.

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