Wireless DECT (Digital Enhanced Cordless Telecommunications) headsets and Bluetooth headsets have many similarities. Both allow you to move around your office without being tethered to your desk and both talk to base cradles. Most confusing is both wireless and Bluetooth headsets are often referred to as “cordless” or “wireless”!
Wireless and Bluetooth headsets also have some significant differences. These differences do not make one better than the other but may make one type of headset better for your particular situation or office environment. This article discusses the differences between wireless and Bluetooth headsets to help you decide which one is best for you.
The first difference to consider is RANGE. A Wireless headset has a range of 100 metres. A Bluetooth headset only has an official range of 10 metres and can be as low as 5 metres in an office environment. So if you expect to be a reasonable distance from your desk whilst talking on your headset then wireless will be the clear winner for you.
These distances are influenced by your office environment. Your walls (and what they are made out of) may reduce the actual range that you can achieve. If your office is open plan and you have a good line of sight to your desk from a distance then your headset may work from further away than the official figures indicate.
The next major difference is CONNECTIVITY. In general a wireless headset can only connect to a single telephone base cradle – although with some models you can have several headsets simultaneously connected to the same base. A Bluetooth headset can connect with up to 7 different devices (including its telephony base cradle).
You can purchase mechanical handset lifters for all Bluetooth and wireless headsets. Many headset manufacturers even have Electronic Hook Switch (EHS) cables for some phones. Both of these technologies allow you to answer telephone calls while you are away from your desk. Handset lifters are fitted on your telephone underneath the handset and the EHS cables are plugged in to your telephone.
When your phone rings your headset beeps at you. Simply pressing a button on your headset causes the handset lifter to rise which in turn causes the handset to rise and allows you to talk with the caller. You press the button again at the end of the call and the handset lifter lowers the handset back onto the telephone hanging up the call.
A lifter for a wireless headset will work with the same brand of Bluetooth headset. This means it can be re-used if you happen to change cordless headset types.
In the “bad old days” there were some problems with both Bluetooth and wireless headsets but these issues have long since been resolved. These days if you choose a quality brand such as Plantronics, Sennheiser or Jabra you will find that any of their wireless or Bluetooth headsets will be very reliable.
The most common problem that occurs now with both Bluetooth and wireless headset models is “loss of pairing”. This is where the headset top stops communicating with the base unit. In my experience this issue normally only occurs if the base unit loses power while the headset is not in its cradle which is quite rare. When this does happen you cannot use your headset until the problem is fixed which can be very annoying! The problem can be easily resolved so there’s no need to stress. You simply need to make sure that the headset is charged then re-establish the pairing (connectivity).
The pairing procedure is different for each headset model. If you can’t find the pairing instructions that came with your headset at the time of purchase you should be able to obtain a copy of the document from your headset supplier or from the manufacturer’s web site. Normally the pairing process involves a few simple steps such as rebooting the base unit then holding down a button or series of buttons for several seconds until the status lights shows the 2 parts are paired (“talking”) again. Normally the entire procedure should be completed within one minute and you will be back in action!