Most consumers don’t realise the security threat from using cordless phones instead of wired ones. Just as unsecured Wi-Fi connections can easily be intercepted, so can most digital cordless phone systems. Could this issue drive a stronger adoption of mobile phone use in the home, and indirectly greater takeup of femtocells to provide excellent call quality and security?
Landline voice quality has reached very high standards
Gone are the days of crackling lines, poor audio quality and waiting long periods for a connection. The introduction of digital telephone exchanges about 20-30 years ago revolutionised the quality of voice communication and so-called touch-tone dialling reduced the time to make a connection to less than 2 seconds.
Cordless phones have provided convenience
Digital cordless phones allow mobility within the home or office, reducing the need for so many phones and allowing callers to move around while talking.
But this comes at a price
Poorer audio quality is one – even digital cordless phones can suffer from distortion or dropouts, trading off the limited mobility for poorer audio quality.
Older analogue cordless phones risked passers-by being able to hijack the phone line and make calls at their leisure. In days gone by, you could drive through the wealthier neighbourhood with a cordless phone until you picked up dialtone, and make calls to your hearts content. Fortunately, digital cordless phones have more or less put a stop to that.
A further security risk is still very much present today. This article written by an information security officer illustrates how easy it is to break the security for DECT phones. Low cost interception equipment can be used to listen in on both sides of phone calls made on cordless phones. A typical concern is that you may divulge security passwords or other personal details when calling your bank.
Mobile phones are much more secure
3G mobile phones are much more secure, encrypting both sides of the voice call between handset and cellsite. Where using a femtocell, the call is also encrypted as it passes over the internet.
When combined with the benefit of higher quality audio and longer range, the choice of femtocell and mobile phone is now also much more secure.