The "Home Phone" has gone through an evolution. What was once
an indicator of communications superiority is now little more than one
more choice for a phone used in a fixed location. Since there
are so many variations of what we can use "at home," we need to review
what works best and at what cost.
Needs a "Home Phone"?
you live in a one-room apartment,
there are several advantages of maintaining multi-room access to phone
service: safety, security and convenience top the list.
Nearly every home in the US is wired for such service, but
with multiple cordless phone sets even that isn't necessary.
For the simplest Home Phone, cell
phones by themselves are
woefully inconvenient because they're almost never at arm's
length when a call comes in, assuming you can hear them ring
(or vibrate) when you're in another room. And we're always in a
different room when it rings, right? They also tend to run
at the worst possible time, and they're notorious for dropping calls in
the homestead, where signal strength can be low at best.
We want Home Phone service in the home. We want the convenience of
having extensions in every room and the security of having a dial tone
of emergency. But there's no reason to pay a large, or even any,
the Options Compare?
The wired, Landline Phone
is the traditional connection from the home to the public phone
network. It has become the most reliable and most expensive
choice among Home Phone connections. If you're not really
concerned about the cost of your Home Phone, the Landline makes an
excellent option. The more features you add to it, the more expensive
it can get. A "real" Landline can be supplied by your local
phone company as well as most cable systems. They are
regulated and priced similarly.
The Wireless Home Phone
was a simple conversion from the wired line to a box in the house that
performs the same function at a much lower cost. However, the
Wireless Home Phone has fallen out of favor because the monthly cost
isn't low enough
Even though it normally includes all our favorite Calling Features
, there are now cheaper alternatives. Our first
complaint with the Wireless Home Phone was the inferior audio
quality when using Landline-quality phones as well as the
fussy dialing procedures.
have the potential of lowering the price to a
level, or even FREE, but there have been enough 'quirks' to make us
hesitate switching the Home Phone to VoIP. Some
Internet-based phone services have priced themselves out of contention
for a low-priced phone service, but there are indeed some very
inexpensive options. Another hurdle to overcome was the need
for VoIP phones to be connected to a computer. That has been
improved by connecting the new generation of VoIP adapters directly to
your Internet router, which, in most homes, stays on all the time.
There are also devices which now can be used
for complicated communications requirements.
One of the most intriguing products is Cell Phone Adapters for your Home
. You can drop your cell phone into the
adapter, or place it in a household 'hot spot' and you get all the
advantages of an extension in every room and your cell
phone never runs out of power. Multi-line units
allow multiple users to share the Home Phone "network," with lots of
features to help each member of the family communicate by their
favorite method...even Text. You can make calls all day and
the phone will still be fully charged when it's time to grab it and run.
After more than one family discussion, we all agree we like the idea of
a "Home Phone Number."
This allows us to have a common access to the home from the
outside that can be answered by any member of the family, or one that
can be used for making calls when our cell phones are either out of
juice, or out of reach. Although the Home Phone may have
become superfluous, it is still a useful communications channel if it
can be supplied at a reasonable cost. If you don't already
have a Home Phone number you'd like to keep, consider a programmable
number, such as Google Voice, that can be directed to where ever you'd
like, such as where you work, where you travel, or to a temporary
Today, We Recommend
a Wireless Home Phone for the home line that feeds all 6
extensions in the house, most of them cordless. This includes
a connection to our TV sets that shows incoming Caller ID
while watching TV. That phone
line is programmed that when it is busy or not answered, it forwards to
one of our cell phones. Messages are left on the voice mail
of the cell phone and don't go to the Wireless Home Phone
unit which is stashed in the back of the house. Most likely,
we will eventually replace that line with an Internet-based phone service when we
can get all the features we want for a reasonable price, most likely less
than $5/month. Our particular Panasonic cordless phone base
unit can link to one of our cell phones should one of us decide to have
it ring through the house. However, none of us wants to be that