I’m not a numbers guy. (Just ask my bookkeeper.) Oh sure, I understand 2-for-1, 50% off and all that stuff, but when it comes to figuring out how far I can go with a cordless phone, that’s another story.
Telephone Magic sells long range wireless phones from EnGenius and Voyager. With the Voyager long range wireless phones, they give you an idea how far you can go (i.e. 1 to 6 miles, up to 25 miles or up to 50 miles). Cool. That’s easy – even for a kid who was brought up on the metric system in Canada and never had to work with miles, pounds etc.
But the EnGenius numbers were more confusing because they didn’t spell things out in what I consider “plain English”.
What do these numbers mean to you?
Up to 250,000 sq. ft. coverage in factories and buildings
Up to 12 floors penetration in office buildings
Up to 3,000 acres of coverage on ranches and farms
I don’t know what that really means, because frankly, I have no idea how big 250,000 sq. ft. really is. I don’t work in a place that’s 250,000 sq. ft. in area. I get the 12 floors of penetration in office buildings, but since I don’t work in a huge office building, that statistic isn’t particularly helpful. How big is an acre, anyway?
Well, I got thinking about those numbers, so I thought I’d figure them out, because it was bothering me.
First of all, you have to think about this particular long range wireless phone – or any other long range wireless phone, for that matter.
Long range wireless phones can be hooked up to your office’s PBX OR work on a regular analog line, making them suitable for home or office use. They have a base station and a handset and it’s the distance away from the handset you can go that’s important, in my opinion.
250,000 square feet is a square with sides 500 ft long. However, the signal from the base unit from a long range cordless phone is going to radiate outward, so a circle is a more representative way to think about the area of coverage. So, how far away from the base unit does 250,000 square feet represent?
Well, the area of a circle is calculated by pi r square (sorry, I haven’t figured out how to do complex mathematical formulas in this format yet). Pi is usually represented by 3.14 and r is the radius – which is the number we’re looking for.
So, the radius of the circle is equivalent to the square root of the area divided by pi.
With an area of 250,000 square feet, the radius works out to 282 ft.
So, in a factory or office building, you should be able to go 282 ft away from the base unit with an EnGenius long range cordless phone.
Now, this is confusing, because I’ve seen places online that report up to 1/2 mile range with the same phone in a city environment (2640 ft)…so which figure are we supposed to use? Maybe it’s the farm figure.
Okay – second figure – up to 3,000 acres coverage on ranches or farms.
An acre is 43,560 sq. ft., so 3,000 acres is 130,680,000 sq. ft.
Doing the same math as above, the radius of a circle with an area of 3,000 acres is 6600 ft, or 1.25 miles.
Okay, so I got the numbers figured out, but I just wanted to make sure, so I called up EnGenius and spoke to a sales rep about the numbers, and learned a few interesting things.
The fellow’s name (which sorry, I didn’t catch), said that they get clients who can’t get 50 feet out of their phones, and others who can get 14 km on them. Quite a variation.
The causes of variation are many. There could be a lot of electrical interference from other electronics in the area near the base unit. Trees, lots of metal in building frames and other factors work to decrease long range wireless phone range.
The EnGenius sales rep talked about how one client in Western Canada in the mountains gets around 14 km range (that’s about 8.7 miles) with his SN-920 phone because he’s in the middle of nowhere and he stays pretty much within line of sight of his base unit (or at least the building the antenna’s located on).
So, in short, expect a lot of variation in range with a long range wireless phone.
Oh – speaking of antennas – the external EnGenius antenna increases range between 5~10% according to this rep. Some people even take the outdoor antenna, flip it over and mount it upside-down from the ceiling to increase the signal strength indoors. Interesting concept that I hadn’t heard of before.
Now, Voyager phones (remember them from the beginning?) are marketed strictly in terms of range. 1~6 miles for their base model and up from there. You have to keep in mind though, that some of their models are not approved for use in North America.
So, there’s my effort to educate myself about how far you can go with a long range wireless phone.
If you want, click here to learn more about the long range wireless phones we carry.