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What is a Digital Speakerphone?

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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 13 November 2016
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2016
    Conjecture Corporation
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Digital speakerphones are telephone equipment that is equipped to send and receive a digital audio signal. In most countries around the world, every speakerphone manufactured is configured to receive a digital signal. There are still some phone products that can receive both analog and digital signaling with equal ease.

While many people assume that a digital speakerphone would deliver a clearer audio signal than the older analog technology, that is not necessarily the case. The main difference between the two technologies has to do with the way that the signal is passed from the point of origin to the point of destination. With analog, the signal has to be amplified every so often in order to complete the connection. By contrast, a digital speakerphone uses technology that essentially recreates the signal every so often. Digital transmissions do tend to pick up less background noise, which can make a big difference over long distances, but the quality between an analog and digital signal between two relatively close points that involve no more than a switch or two is likely to be comparable in quality.

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The process used to convey digital signals does allow a digital speakerphone to include features that are not possible with an older analog phone. By entering specific numeric codes via the keypad on the device, it is possible to increase or lower the volume, mute the sound when necessary, and to place the line on hold to accept another call or to dial a second party without disconnecting. Some makes and models of the digital speakerphone have conferencing capability, making it possible to use the software on an existing phone system to dial out to and connect up to six lines in a conference call, without the need to route the conference through a teleconferencing provider.

For many people, the key factor that determines which digital speakerphone to purchase has to do with the clarity of the calls made using the unit. While a great deal does depend on the quality of the lines used to place the call, consumers should be aware that the internal speaker has a great deal to do with how easy it is to hear and be heard on any call using the device. For this reason, it’s a good idea to read consumer reports and feedback on how well different makes and models perform. In addition, consumers should recognize that the environment where the device is placed also affect the efficiency of the unit. Many people find that making sure the digital telephone is not placed directly under an overhead air vent, and that there is padding under the unit helps to cut back on reverberations. For example, placing an old-fashioned typewriter pad under the digital speakerphone, instead of placing the unit directly on a wood conference room table, will improve the sound reception significantly.

Consumers should also be aware that a digital speakerphone is much more sensitive than the older analog models. This means little noises such as tapping pencils or rattling papers is likely to be heard clearly at the other end of the connection. Care should be taken to ensure that incidental noise is kept to a minimum, in order to ensure the best sound quality on the call, regardless of the make and model of digital speakerphone in use.

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