After announcements back at CES2009 in January the Gigaset line of cordless SIP/DECT are finally starting to become available in the US. The A580IP model is the entry-level system in the line-up, which we’ve been using around here for the past couple of months.
At the outset of the review process I was a little skeptical about installing an entry-level consumer cordless phone in the house. We’ve tried a lot of hardware and have some fairly clear ideas about what we need from it. However, the A580IP brings with it the possibility of wideband calling over IP into the cordless domain. That proved just too to attractive to not give it a try.
The A580IP system that we have installed consists of one DECT base and a set of three A58H handsets. A starter system comes with the base and one handset. You can add up to five additional handsets to suit your specific needs. In fact, you can mix and match handsets, using the entry level A58H, middle of the range S67H or high-end SL78H all on the same DECT base.
The DECT base is an inconspicuous little black box measuring 6” x 4.25” x 1.5". It can be mounted on a wall or simply stood on a shelf or table. In our case it’s mounted high on a wall in a central closet where all the network switching is located in our house.
Gigaset has taken the stance that energy efficiency is important. With this principle in mind they provide small high-efficiency switching power supplies for both the base and the handset charging stand. This is one aspect of what they term "ECO-DECT."
Another aspect of ECO-DECT is a software feature that dynamically varies the power output of the radios. While the handset is on the charging stand the radio power output drops to near zero. When on a call the handset modulates the power output to sustain an ideal RF signal level at the base. As the handset distance from the base grows the RF output increases just enough to maintain the ideal RF signal at the base. The result is up to 60% less power consumed by the devices.
The DECT base has an RJ-11 connector for one analog phone line and an RJ-45 for connection to your network. In our installation we use only the network since we haven’t had analog phone lines for several years.
The one status indicator on the DECT base is a square blue button on the front. This lights up when a handset is actively on a call. It is also used when registering handsets to the base, and when paging handsets that you might have left somewhere in the house.