Remember: it's ALWAYS the cable

by Volker Weber

Today I was stupid. I have been in this business so long that I should have learned my lesson. But today I forgot it.

What was going on? One of the new Sonos S5 players was acting up. Turn silent, would not listen to commands, drop off the controller. I was convinced it was broken. So I let Sonos know and they wanted to exchange the unit.

In comes the cavalry, a.k.a. Sonos support. Daniel lets me submit a diagnostic and finds out that the S5 shows unusual wifi behavior. Then he suggests the obvious: swap two S5. I should have thought of that, shouldn't I. Turns out that now the formerly "broken" unit works well, and the other one doesn't. The problem must be something else.

With guidance from Daniel I suspect it's a very old DECT base station. Since I have three of those around the house, I may not have noticed that it is broken. Anyway, six diagnostics later it looks like the S5 experienced some strange bursts of wireless activity that have stopped since I unplugged the base station.

Remember: it's always the cable. In this case a "wireless cable". Which just means the problem is not where you are looking. Kudos to Sonos. Their support is outstanding.

Next on the agenda: replace my DECT setup. They are too old anyway. I need up to six handsets and at least one base station. Any suggestions? I am looking for simple and clean design, AA rechargeable batteries, one base station without dock, at least three charger docks.


I like the Gigaset DECT phones. They have different models available, either with dock or without, with or without integrated answering machine, and i think all of them support up to 6 handsets. Some handsets also support bluetooth headsets, a feature i really like!

Due to my upcoming change from ISDN back to a POTS phone i'm also in the market for a new phone, so i've looked at some of the devices. The Gigaset E490 also supports a standard 2,5mm headset connector, not the horrible siemens proprietary connector they had before.

Dirk Steins, 2009-11-16

I am very content with the Siemens Gigaset S680 and two Siemens Gigaset S68H DECT Handsets with Dock. Despite of bluetooth I use my old Plantronics Headset with one headset. Worry free setup.

Gerald Schmidhuber, 2009-11-16

1 x FRITZ!Box Fon WLAN 7270
1 x Software fritz.mac Suite
n x FRITZ!Fon MT-D

Use that equipment for 2 weeks now and it works great for me.

Manfred Dillmann, 2009-11-16

Please do not buy the Fritz 7270/MT-D setup.

I've always been a very happy AVM customer, but this one is f*cked wrt the DECT feature.

It would be great if it worked as advertised, but it didn't work at all in my appartment: Lots of crackle and noise on the other end of the call, even when standing in the same room, just a few meters away from the base station. See discussions at netplanet blog and isotopp blog for more on that.

It appears that AVM's DECT antenna design is flawed in some way, but they cannot admit it to the public. Some people say it works fine, some say it works horribly. The forums are full of similar reports about crackle and noise with a Fritzbox DECT setup.

Hopefully the next hardware generation of the Fritzbox will resolve this issue. If it does, I'll get a new box and three handsets right away.

Hanno Zulla, 2009-11-16

Oh and, the Gigaset basestation and handsets works great and troublefree, in the same appartment.

Hanno Zulla, 2009-11-16

Same here. Fritzbox did not provide DECT functionality as promissed, even with "HD voice quality" new Fritz phones. After 3 months of back and forth with the hotline at least they took back the hardware and I'm now back on Siemens Giga for telephone.

Stephan Bohr, 2009-11-17

Consumer or Business?

If you want a Business-like system, I would recommend a real PBX, like the Aastra X320 (Aastra is good old german DeTeWe). I'm very satisfied with this telephony system, having two system phones and also two DECT handsets and also two DECT Basestations. "Roaming" between office and apartment works really well. And you have also some features beating every Gigaset (in my mind), e.g. one system-wide telephon book sync'd with outlook or receiving a e-mail if there was a call.

Thomas Edelmann, 2009-11-17

I would also go with the S685IP Gigaset phones. Works perfect for me with 1 landline, 2 incoming personal VOIP lines and 1 work VOIP accoun, these are combined with 4 VOIP accounts for outgoing. Check out this blog post (no relation other than Twitter) for a decent writeup, albeit from the perspective of using them with Asterix. Note I do most of what he mentions in the article with the phones themselves:

chris lindley, 2009-11-17

Hallo VoWe,

ich kann die neuen Gigaset SL78H (,1935,de_de_0_163960_rArNrNrNrN,00.html) sehr empfehlen - Made in Germany und ein sehr schönes haptisches Erlebnis. Auch die Menüs sind recht gelungen. Ist nur nicht gerade das billigste Teil... Und man braucht noch eine Gigaset ISDN-Basis dazu.

Herzliche Grüße,


Christian Mais, 2009-11-18

Old archive pages

I explain difficult concepts in simple ways. For free, and for money. Clue procurement and bullshit detection.


Paypal vowe