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Since the public landline telephone system has been switched to SIP now (more or less all of it), it makes sense to start using native SIP phones instead of connecting an analog or ISDN or DECT phone to a SIP-capable PBX (such as FritzBox etc.).

Of these native SIP phones, I would like to try a wifi handset. This is a device looking much like a DECT handset, but instead of connecting to a base station via DECT ("IP-DECT" technology, using the CAT-iq protocol) it would connect via wifi. So, if there is a dependable wifi setup in the building, there's no need to add DECT coverage as well.

I know I can use any Android device with a SIP softphone app for this, but since there are people in the household used to a "proper" phone and not yet to "fiddly" smartphones, I rather want a single-purpose phone device with hardware buttons.

I found several models, but all around 300 USD or more. That sounds very strange, given that such a device is not more complex than a DECT handset available for 80 USD or less. Am I missing something?

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Here is a list of all the models I looked through … and there will not be many others, as it's a very small market. So far, nothing that meets the requirements:

  • Mitel 5624. Technically what you want, but indeed around 500 USD. Rare as well, so not easily available in used condition (I checked eBay). This is reportedly sold under many whitelabeled versions, so possibly one of these is available cheaply, esp. used when bargain hunting on eBay … but I doubt it):

    • Mitel 5624 / MiVoice 5624 (source)
    • Unify OpenStage WL3 (source)
    • Alcatel 8118 / Alcatel 8128 (source)
    • (probably there are more)
  • Siemens OptiPoint WL2 PRO. In addition, a programmer "OpenStage DP1" is needed.

  • Innovaphone IP62. In addition, a base station for programming is needed (art. no. 50-00060-21, source).

  • Unidata INCOM ICW-1000G. Ca. 200 EUR new (source).

  • Ascom i62 Talker. New ca. 320 EUR incl. VAT (source). Sometimes available used via eBay (ca. 120 EUR in one case). In addition, the Ascom DP1 programmer is needed (ca. 140 EUR, source).

  • Nokia with VoWifi feature. Reportedly, some old Nokia mobile phones (and these had hardware keys!) had a feature in their Symbian operating system that allowed to use them as a SIP client on wifi networks. Could not yet confirm this. If so, such phones are still available cheaply, and you could simply operate them without a SIM card.

  • Avaya 3616 / 3626. Cheap (25 EUR used on eBay) but not suitable as it only supports WEP as wifi security mode (source).

  • BlueTinum BT-WFP1000. Not suitable, as it is so old that it only supports WEP as wifi security mode (source).

  • Cisco 7921G / 7921G / 7925G / 7926G. Often cheaply available via eBay (≥20 EUR), but not suitable, as these are not SIP phones. They only support Cisco's propretary SCCP protocol, and there is no wifi SIP phone by Cisco (source).

In short, this class of products looks like a rip-off currently. So either get used to a SIP softphone on an Android smartphone (perhaps with screen pinning to exclusively show the phone app). Or get an IP-DECT based cordless SIP phone. These are available very cheaply used, for example (for Germany) Telekom Sinus 501 V. DECT is often strong enough to only need one access point in a house, and that can be a DECT base station that has just this one purpose, for example the Siemens Gigaset GO-Box 100, available cheaply on eBay. This way you can keep your phone system nicely separate from your router and other network equipment.

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Great answer by tanius.

I would also add that DECT phones are better suited to voice communications as DECT is a stream / connection based rather than packet based protocols built on top of WiFi.

This allows for tighter control of the quality of service, codecs, power consumption etc.

Mentioned FritzBox offers many access points / routers with DECT stack built in.

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