Wireless intercom systems serve two purposes. First, they provide a means of close-range communication usually within a dwelling or business. Second they enhance home security by establishing communication between a dwelling or business and areas outside.
An individual inside a dwelling unit is thus able to communicate with a visitor from within the secure confines of the home. He/she may decide whether to permit or deny entry to the visitor without approaching a door or window. These systems facilitate communication between individual groups, such as a family unit, and may be particularly useful in times of emergency or crisis.
However, some experts strongly recommend against using wireless intercom systems as substitutes for baby monitors as the microphones are usually not sufficiently sensitive to effectively monitor sounds from an unsupervised infant.
How Home Intercom Systems Work
Usually, these systems operate from base units, sending signals to various "stations" located throughout a dwelling or other defined area. Communication between the base unit and the stations is sent by a signal on a carrier wave. Although conventional use has normally fixated base units and stations in stationary locations, individual members may also carry beltpacks to enhance the possibility of reaching individual family or office members.
Beltpacks are also available with special keycodes. Base units may also include several different channel options, call buttons, lock buttons to allow continuous dialogue, features that allow monitoring conversations. Many systems also feature adjustable radios.
Potential Complications with a Wireless Intercom System
Intercom systems frequently operate on an FM (frequency modulation) and therefore provide the user with immunity to conditions, such as static caused by lightning. Nevertheless, the United States Federal Communications Commission (FCC) cautions that these units may cause interference with televesion and radio signals, causing receivers to function at unsatisfactory levels.
The FCC recommends to first determine the source of the interference by turning off the intercom systems when operating televisions and radios and then adjusting the locations the intercom system stations, moving them away from the televisions and radios.
Intercom Systems for the Home: Variables to Consider
The range of these units varies, so when evaluating a system, as a factor, the prospective buyer should include the maximum range he/she needs to broadcast before buying a system. Other factors to consider include:
- Number of stations that a unit offers in addition to the base unit
- Sound clarity
- Size of the unit
- Ease of mounting or placing the unit in various locations
Some systems use batteries and others require connection through adaptors. Even the size and labeling of the buttons may affect an individual's decision to purchase a unit. For example, in an emergency situation an individual may not have time to decipher his unit to find the correct button to push.
Many reliable suppliers of these systems offer warranties. Be sure to check with your supplier about this detail before purchasing. A warranty, of course, will likely increase the total price of the system.