The Truth About Advertised Wireless Headset Range - Headset Advisor

You’re in the market for a new wireless headset, and you want one that gives you long wireless range. You comb through all the different websites in search of that one model that will allow you to go far. 

Some state a wireless talk range up to 33 feet, while others promise a wireless talk range up to 100 feet. As you continue your search you find other models that claim a wireless range of up to 350 feet and beyond. It can get confusing. 

In this blog I’ll discuss some of the things that go into wireless talk range. Things that you should be aware of when evaluating claims of wireless distance.

The last thing you want is to purchase a wireless headset with a particular expectation, only to be disappointed once you find that the wireless range has fallen short of that expectation. 

I’ll also help to clarify why you see variations in wireless range, and what range you should expect to receive compared to what you read. But, before I jump in, I wanted to let you know that I recorded a video where I discuss this very subject.

If you’re like a lot of people who prefer to watch video content over reading it, then make sure to check it out. I’ll include it immediately below for convenience. 

Still reading? Ok then, let’s dive right into this. 

To begin, I need to mention that wireless headsets come in different types. Each type uses a different type of wireless technology. For example: 

Wireless headsets used with tablets and mobile phones typically use Bluetooth technology. Even within Bluetooth, there are different variations that all provide different wireless range. For example: 

  • Class 1 Bluetooth states that it provides a wireless signal up to 300 feet
  • Class 2 Bluetooth claims a range up to 33 feet 

Legacy wireless headsets used a non-Bluetooth wireless signal such as 900 MHz, Digital 900 MHz and 2.4 GHz. These wireless headsets were designed to provide up to 350 feet of wireless range. 

The newer wireless headsets now use DECT 6.0, or 1.9 GHz technology. This is the most common technology used across all the major headset brands and models. The wireless range on these models, according to their specifications, is up to 490 feet or even 590 feet. 

Think about it. You’re in the market for a wireless headset and the range varies from 33 feet all the way up to a whopping 590 feet. That’s quite a range difference. 

How to decide 

To help determine which type of wireless headset best meets your needs, you need to begin by asking yourself a few simple questions. Answering these questions will quickly narrow the field for you. 

  1. What device will I be using the headset with?A desk phone? A computer?
    A mobile phone, or tablet?

    Depending on the device you’ll be connecting to, not all headsets can connect to it. For example, if you want to connect to a desk phone, you’re likely not going to be looking at a Bluetooth headset.

    Likewise, if you want to connect to a mobile phone, you wouldn’t be looking for a Dect wireless headset. So start with what you want to connect to. 

  2. Wearing style. Bluetooth headsets tend to be smaller, and worn over the ear. There are exceptions, but that’s a fairly good general rule.

    How do you prefer to wear the headset?
    Over the ear?
    In the ear?
    Behind the neck?

    Your preferred wearing style can also direct you towards one model or another. 

  3. How much wireless talk range do you need? If your work has you away from your desk often, estimate how far away from your desk you find yourself throughout the day. If you have a good grasp on this, that too can help to narrow down your headset choices.

  4. How much talk time do you need? Bluetooth wireless headsets, for example, have a tendency to offer limited battery talk time.
    Dect wireless headsets, by contrast, tend to give you a lot of talk time.

    Estimate how many hours a day you spend communicating on voice and video calls, even listening to music. That too should be helpful in selecting a good headset for your needs. 

Ok, now that you’ve narrowed things down, how do you decide which headset provides you with the right wireless range that you need? 

Before you making your choice, consider this

The wireless range that you’ll see listed is based on an “open field”. What does that mean exactly? It means that the testing that was done in order to establish the wireless range claim was done in an open field setting that has no obstructions.

In other words, a direct, line of sight test with nothing in between the transmitting base station, and the receiving wireless headset. Do you think that this is a realistic, real world wireless range test? In my opinion, it’s not. 

Keeping it real 

In the real world, you have things like walls, partitions, desks, people, elevators, windows and more. Every barrier that’s placed in between the wireless headset base and the wireless headset degrades the signal. As the signal gets degraded, it results in less wireless range. With that in mind, our normal rule of thumb when it comes to wireless talk range is to do this: 

Divide the stated wireless talk range in half 

If you do this, you’ll have a far more realistic estimate of how much wireless talk range you should expect to receive. After all, how disappointing is it to purchase a wireless headset on the expectation that you’re going to receive almost 500 feet of wireless range (for reference, a Football field is 300 feet), only to discover that you get half that? 

Every environment is different. A given headset in one office may provide 400 feet of range where the same exact headset placed into a different office, one that has different obstructions, may only provide 150 feet. 

Wireless range isn’t an exact science because there are too many variables that affect the outcome. But, by cutting the stated wireless range in half, you will be left with a more representative estimate of the true wireless range you can expect. 

Have headset questions, or need some help?

If you have questions about headsets, and you’re not sure where to turn to get answers, look no further than to Headset Advisor. We’ve been consulting with customers since 1994, and we can be a great resource for you. 

Call us, email us, text us or chat live with us. We’re here to help you find the perfect headset that’s comfortable, sounds great, compatible with your system and within your budget.
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