Landline dock for cell phone: These docks and devices will make your iPhone feel like an old phone

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How Dock-N-Talk Works | HowStuffWorks

Plenty of people have already cut the cord on their land line telephones. Some people, on the other hand, can’t seem to let go for several reasons. For those talkers who engage in hour-long conversations, a tiny cellular phone can be a pain to deal with, especially when using the phone for a home-based business. Even those who can’t give up their land lines know the frustration of racing to find a ringing cell phone before the call goes to voicemail. Some people just want to save a little cash on their phone service by getting rid of their land lines.

Phone Labs’ Dock-N-Talk could be the solution to all of these problems. It’s a cell phone docking station that turns all of a home’s phones into extensions of your cell phone number. It uses a normal phone cord plugged into your home phone or phone jack. You can use it as a second phone line or a way to use your cell phone as your primary phone line. The device can be used exclusively with a cell phone line or in conjunction with land line phone service. The Dock-N-Talk can work with most cell phone models and has Bluetooth capabilities as well. The Dock-N-Talk should also work if you decide to up­grade your cell phone after you’ve installed it.

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­Sounds great, but is going landline-less worth it? What does the rest of the household do if you’re out of the house and have your cell phone with you? What if you have horrible cell phone reception in your apartment? In this article, we’ll explore what a Dock-N-Talk is, the pros and cons of having one, and how it works.

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Contents

  1. Dock-N-Talk Technology
  2. Dock-N-Talk Advantages
  3. Dock-N-Talk Disadvantages

Dock-N-Talk Technology

First introduced in 2004, the Dock-N-Talk is much like installing a second phone line in your home, except you avoid the hassle of the physical installation and the costs of an additional phone line account.

Dock-N-Talk technology works from existing phone lines in the home. In most homes, there are­ four wires connected to the back of a phone jack. A pair of red and green wires is typically used for the first phone line. The second set of wires, a pair of yellow and black wires, is there for the optional second phone line. The yellow and black wires are what the Dock-N-Talk uses to tap into a second phone line for your home. For more on telephone jack wiring, see What do the yellow and black wires in a home telephone jack do?

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The user can decide whether to use the Dock-N-Talk as the primary line or as a second phone line. Because houses are equipped for two lines, all of the phones wired in the house can work off of this second line.

­­When you connect a regular phone to the Dock-N-Talk via the cell phone and the land line, it’s like having two separate phone lines. Calls to your cell phone will have a different ring than calls to your land line. A switch on the box allows you to choose whether to dial from your cell line or land line, similar to the setup on most office phones with multiple lines to choose from for a call.

­If your phone is a Bluetooth-enabled device, you can buy a Bluetooth adapter that plugs into the Dock-N-Talk unit. You can then use the search function on your phone and a password associated with the Bluetooth accessory to sync your Bluetooth phone wirelessly, so you’ll have phone service throughout the house as long as your phone stays within range. After the Dock-N-Talk and the phone are plugged in with their proper cords, you can pick up any phone in the house and get a dial tone that is connected to the cell phone’s line.

What are the benefits of buying a Dock-N-Talk? Read on to find out what you can expect.

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Dock-N-Talk Advantages

Beyond replacing your home phone, the Dock-N-Talk could function as a portable phone number, which could come in handy in the following situations:

  • For college students, their cell phone (and the minutes and costs associated with them) could be used in the dorm, instead of adding cell phone costs to the dorm room phone bill.
  • A home-based business could use the land line for the home and the cell line as the business phone. Not only would it provide a separate phone line using traditional phones, but entrepreneurs could also separate personal phone charges from business charges without combing through phone records.
  • The Dock-N-Talk could be used in a vacation home, eliminating the need for another account that isn’t used often enough to justify the expense.
  • Parents could set up a separate phone line for a teenager’s room, freeing up their home phone without adding another expense to their land line account.

Calls on the Dock-N-Talk phone also offer the advantage of clearer reception than a cell phone, since you’ll presumably dock your cell phone where you get the best reception. You can take your land line cordless phone throughout the house without losing reception from your docking station. Additionally, standard cell phone features like caller ID and voice dialing can be used in the same manner on a traditional land-line phone.

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­In addition to all this, if you drop your landline phone account, you’ll make up a lot of the initial cost of the Dock-N-Talk (it retails for around $150) through your cell phone plans, which, unlike most landline service plans, often include free nights and weekends. The fact that the Dock-N-Talk has no monthly charges should also soften the hit to your wallet.

Before you decide to send the phone company packing and buy a Dock-N-Talk, there are some things you should know that might make you second-guess that choice. Take a look at the next page for some reasons to reconsider a Dock-N-Talk.

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Dock-N-Talk Disadvantages

You’re finally ready to buy the Dock-N-Talk and cancel your land line phone service. There are some considerations before you tell the phone company to take a hike:

  • The Dock-N-Talk can only connect to one cell phone at a time. There are also different cords to buy for different models. If you have more than one cell phone in the household, you’ll either have to decide which phone is your “home phone” or you’ll have to buy additional Dock-N-Talks.
  • If you do decide on one phone for the landline, the rest of the household doesn’t have a phone line when you take your cell phone with you. If you want one cell phone to be the home phone, the best option is to buy a second cell phone that’s on the same line as your current one and leave the second permanently connected to the Dock-N-Talk.
  • Compatibility is an issue, since some cell phones don’t work with the Dock-N-Talk. Bluetooth also requires a special connector for an additional fee. Even if you’re giving up your landline completely, there’s still the initial expense of the Dock-N-Talk.
  • Your reception is only as good as your cell connection. Even if the phone is docked in the part of the house with the strongest signal, your home phone lines’ sound quality will be your cell phone’s sound quality (source: Taub).
  • If you’re building a new home, you still need a phone line installed for the Dock-N-Talk to work.

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­­There are plenty of situations in which the Dock-N-Talk may be an acceptable alternative to a regular land-line phone, but it depends on how comfortable you are with shelling out the money for the new technology as well as getting used to plugging in your cell phone to get land-line service. For more information on the Dock-N-Talk, please see the links on the following page.

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Lots More Information

Related How Stuff Works Articles

More Great Links

  • Phone Labs
  • Bluetooth

Sources

  • Armstrong, Larry. “Presto! Your Desk Phone Is A Cell Phone.” Business Week. Aug 2, 2004.
  • DoItYourself.com. (5/28/2008) http://www.doityourself.com/stry/addphoneline
  • German, Kent. “Phone Labs Dock-N-Talk.” CNET. (5/21/2008) http://reviews.cnet.com/cell-phone-and-smart/phone-labs-dock-n/4505-6448_7-30974588.html
  • Mossberg, Walter S. and Katherine Boehret. “The Mossberg Solution: Turning Your Cellphone Into Your Home Phone; ‘Docking’ Products Link Wireless and Landline; Compatibility Is a Factor.” The Wall Street Journal. Jan. 25, 2006.
  • Palenchar, Joseph. “Home phones make cellular connection” TWICE.Vol. 18, Iss. 14. Jul 7, 2003. (5/21/2008) http://proquest.umi.com/pqdweb?did=375809491&sid=2&Fmt=4&cli entId=11123&RQT=309&VName=PQD
  • Phone Labs. (5/21/2008) http://www.phonelabs.com/prd05.asp
  • Taub, Eric A. “A Cellphone in Park, Even More Powerful.” The New York Times. April 27, 2006.
  • T-Mobile. (5/28/2008) http://www.t-mobile.com
  • XLink. (5/28/2008) http://www.xlinkgateway.com

Cite This!

Please copy/paste the following text to properly cite this HowStuffWorks. com article:

Tiffany Connors
“How Dock-N-Talk Works”
6 August 2008.
HowStuffWorks.com. <https://electronics.howstuffworks.com/dock-n-talk.htm>
29 July 2023

Citation

Eliminate Your Landline Phone Carrier

Eliminate Your Landline Phone Carrier


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Eliminate Your Landline Phone Carrier

Eleven years ago I cancelled my home phone service — the phone service that had been traditionally delivered via a phone wire into my home — and I never regretted the decision. The cost of basic phone service had gotten pretty ridiculous, and it didn’t even include long distance calling. For years, we had been making our long distance calls on our cell phones anyway. It was time to cut the cord and go totally wireless at home. Well, not totally. We can still make and receive calls at home using any phone in the house. Yet we aren’t connected to the landline phone company any longer. Here are the details.

Executive Summary
Port your home phone number to a cell phone at a cellular company with good reception in your house. Buy a docking station/gateway to make and receive cellular calls on your corded and cordless handsets. Disconnect the landline service to your home. Install the docking station. Enjoy.

Step One: Port Your Home Phone Number
It was important to my wife that we keep our current home phone number. Assuming you want to keep your home phone number after you cancel the service, check with your cellular phone company to make sure your home phone number can be ported (transferred) over to a cell phone. Most can. We’ve all been paying portability fees for years. Once you agree to port your home phone number, it can take 5-to-10 business days to be completed. Your landline carrier is notified by your cellular phone company and schedules a service disconnect within their system. At the same time, your cell phone company works to get the number activated to your cell phone. There is no interruption in service. (Hint: if your port your home phone number be sure to cancel any long distance services on the home phone number as well).

Step Two: Choose A Cell Phone Company
Find a cellular phone carrier with great service in and around your house. You probably already have one. We have been using Verizon Wireless for years. We get good reception at home and everywhere we travel. It was easy to add another line on to our family plan for a minimal monthly fee. Since we aren’t charged for minutes, and there is no reason for data to be much of an issue, the total monthly cost was minimal. With the savings from canceling our landline, we were able to significantly upgrade our data plan.

Step Three: Buy A Docking Station For Your Cell Phone
There are a few devices on the market which will dock your cell phone (via Bluetooth or a cable) and allow you to make and receive calls over your corded and cordless phones already in your home. While the landline will no longer service your home externally, your home is still wired internally. A docking station (also sometimes referred to as a “bridge” or a “gateway”) connects a cell phone to your home wiring. Callers will never know the difference. You simply “dock your cell phone and use your corded or cordless phones to make and receive cell phone calls, effectively turning your wireless service into a fully functional wired service without having to pay wired service monthly fees”. There are currently three cell phone docking stations on the market that we are aware of that will convert your home wiring for use with a cell phone.
Dock-N-Talk
This is the one we bought (and the reason we know so much more about this one than the other two). Dock-N-Talk (DNT) from PhoneLabs has been on the market the longest. As of April 2019, the most recent firmware was version 1.47 (and has been for over 6 years), and it uses your choice of either a cable or Bluetooth module to connect to your cell phone. Both are sold separately. The most recent Bluetooth version is BT03-B which is Class 1 with a range of up to 300 feet. The Bluetooth and DNT module are both firmware upgradable, and the DNT is also hardware upgradable. The BT03-B can pair up to 8 cell phones (although only 1 at a time). We are pairing just one cell phone.
DNT supports telco standards for call waiting, comes with 2 line cords, has a switch which allows cellular service to be placed on line 1 or line 2 so it can be used with a land line or second DNT, two RJ-11 jacks — one for connection locally to a home phone and one connected to a wall jack, and it allows redial from an extension handset. PhoneLabs is an American company which has been in business for over 29 years and the DNT has been on the market for over 15 years. The Dock-N-Talk currently supports over 2300 cell phone models, including all bluetooth models. The Dock-N-Talk is shielded to reduce interference from other wireless devices. A list of supported phones and more details about the DNT can be found on their website. While it’s been over a decade since I bought my DNT, at that time they offered great customer service support that got me up and running in less than 5 minutes. Dock-N-Talk can sometimes be found on eBay.
XLINK Cellular Bluetooth Gateway
The XLINK Cellular Bluetooth Gateway connects your Bluetooth enabled cellular phone with your standard phone, allowing you to use your regular home or office telephone over your cellular service network. There is no cable option. You must have a Bluetooth phone. The XLINK can link up to 3 cell phones at the same time, and will pair via Bluetooth up to 30 feet away. iPhone users can dial ## on any house phone and talk to SIRI.

Xtreme Tech is a Canadian company and introduced XLINK in 2007. You can find more information on their website. XLINK Bluetooth Gateway is available on Amazon and eBay. Be sure to buy Model “BT” if you plan to eliminate your landline. Model “BTTN” will work with or without a landline. It gives you the option to merge a land line, magic jack, or VOIP ATA into your single line phone system.

Common Feature Sets
Both appear to support caller ID, call waiting and call forwarding — assuming your cell phone and handsets have these capabilities. Other benefits of being able to use your landline phones with your cellular phone plan include: the ability to use your free unlimited nights, weekends and mobile-to-mobile minutes to their fullest, and eliminating cell phone radiation for extended conversations since you are not physically making calls on your cell phone handset (you are using your home phone handsets).

Purchasing Details
Dock-N-Talk and XLINK can be purchased through their respective websites, on Amazon, or eBay. New models of Dock-N-Talk with Bluetooth (BT) are available for $200, or $150 without the Bluetooth module, on their website. Cables run an additional $18. XLINK can be had for about $95 (Model BTTN) and $82 (Model BT) on Amazon while listing for about $25 less on their website. Used and old models also exist, but beware, they are likely out of warranty and have old firmware which needs to be updated (at a cost with the Dock-N-Talk / free with the Xlink) in order to be used with newer cell phones. Be sure you are getting the newest models with the latest firmware.

Step Four: Disconnect Your External Landline Connection
These instructions are very similar to what you would do if you were installing VOIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) as an alternate to replace your landline service.

IMPORTANT: This step assumes you are the owner of a single family home. If you live in a multi-unit building, have a home alarm system linked via your landline, or are a renter, it is not a good idea to mess with the phone wiring.

WARNINGS: Do this at your own risk, you can get shocked or injured by doing this incorrectly. This system works for me and my configuration but it may not work for you. Make sure you understand enough about it and decided if it will work for your situation. You will be working with lines that carry a small amount of voltage. Therefore there is a chance of causing a fire or damaging your phone lines and equipment. Be sure to wait for a dry day. Do not stand on wet ground while working. When you modify your telephone wiring with these instructions, you will be totally disconnecting yourself from the phone company. These instructions are intended for use by someone with common sense who has a pretty good understanding of what they are doing. I can’t come up with warnings for all possible scenarios and I assume no liability. (But relax, as long as you don’t do anything stupid, like cutting wires, the process can be reversed if the devices do not work to your satisfaction or you happen to sell your home). Final note: I am not an electrician. Consider hiring a professional electrician or telephone technician to do the job if you have ANY concerns.

INSTRUCTIONS
1. Isolate your inside phone wiring from the lines that come into your house from the phone company. This is a step you shouldn’t skip, even if you think your phone line is already dead. If you don’t isolate your inside wiring, and your landline phone company sends voltage across the line you thought was dead, it could damage the converters and possibly even cause a fire. Okay, find the Network Interface Device (NID) box on the outside of your house where the telephone lines come into your house from the street. It is a gray or beige box, probably mounted near the electrical meter. It contains a modular plug that allows you to disconnect the inside wiring. It’s the legal demarcation point where the outside wiring from the street (owned by the landline telephone company) meets the wiring inside your house (owned by you). When you open the box, which is usually locked with a screw, you will notice it has two sides. You will have access to the side containing the wires going into your home. Do not attempt to access any hidden wires on the other side (they belong to the phone company). You may see a ground wire coming out of the hidden section side of the box. This wire protects your home against lightning strikes, so be sure not to disconnect it.

2. Locate the modular phone plug (some know it as an RJ-11 or RJ-14). It looks just like the plug that runs from a common corded phone into a phone jack in your wall. Once inside the NID, you’ll see one or more sets of screw terminals inside. Each will have a short piece of telephone wire coming out of it with a phone connector (plug) on the end plugged into a corresponding jack. If there’s only one line coming into your house, you’ll most likely have only one set of screw terminals. To disconnect from the phone company, simply unplug each of the short telephone wires from its corresponding jack.

3. Label your work. Make it obvious to others that you’ve unplugged the wires on purpose and they shouldn’t undo your modifications without risking damage to your inside equipment. Start by wrapping the end of each of the telephone wires you just unplugged with electrical tape so it can’t be plugged back in without unwrapping the tape. Then, clearly label the inside of the box with a message that says something like: “Do not reconnect! May cause damage to inside equipment!” A sign written or printed with a permanent marker and taped inside the box is a good idea. No matter how you choose to label the box, be sure it is obvious, clear, and easy to read. Once you’ve clearly labeled the inside of the NID, close and refasten the box. Then, just to be safe, label the outside of the box as well. To be extra safe, you can also wrap a nylon tie-wrap around the box so it can’t be opened without cutting it. Remember, to avoid damage, you want to make it as inconvenient as possible for someone to change what you’ve done without your knowledge.

4. Confirm the line is disconnected before installing your converter. Go inside your house and pick up a phone plugged into a jack that previously worked. You did good work if the line is now dead. You should hear absolutely nothing. If the line is not dead, go back and check your work. If your work looks correct and the line’s still not dead, it means that voltage is somehow still being carried on the line and it’s not safe for you to proceed any further. Consult a professional electrician or telephone technician for help.

Step Five: Installation
Be sure to locate your gateway device in an area of your house that gets the best reception. Installation varies slightly for each of these landline-to-cell phone converters. From my experience, the Dock-N-Talk was very easy to set up following their manual. It took less than 5 minutes to set up the Dock-N-Talk, and another 5 minutes with Tech Support to help me synch the Bluetooth between the Dock-N-Talk and my cell phone. I talked to a real person at 5pm on a weekday, and they answered immediately. I had also spent about 15 minutes disconnecting the landline from my house following the instructions in Step Four prior to setting up the Dock-N-Talk.

Step Six: Enjoy Your Cell Phone Service At Home
You should now have a dial tone. Call your home phone number. All the phones in your house should ring. Hang-up. Now pick up any phone in the house and call someone. You should have no problem connecting. Congratulations, you are now free from the landline telephone company and have become an even more profitable customer of your cellular phone company.

Questions And Answers

Question 1: Do I have to keep my home phone number?
Answer 1: No. You can get rid of your home phone number and simply use your existing cell phone service.


Question 2: How can I find out more about phone number portability?
Answer 2: The Federal Trade Commission has set up a Wireless Local Number Portability site to answer frequently asked questions.


Question 3: Do I have to get a new cell phone?
Answer 3: No. You can use your current cell phone or an older cell phone as long as it is compatible with the gateways.


Question 4: Do I have to keep a cell phone docked to the converter all the time?
Answer 4: No. We chose to dedicate one cell phone to be docked 24/7 to make the transition away from landline service easier for my wife. If it were just me, I would only have one cell phone and I would simply dock it whenever I am home. The cell phone has to be docked via a cable or Bluetooth to be able to use your home phones.

Hint: if you set up your dedicated cell phone in “No Answer / Busy Transfer” mode (available for free with Verizon Wireless service), you can have incoming calls answered by another phone whenever your wireless phone is busy or remains unanswered after three to six rings. This frees you from ever having to check the home phone for voicemail messages, and allows you to answer calls to your home when you’re away. If you dedicate an old cell phone as your new cell phone you’ll want to remove as many of the current apps as possible and turn off data on this phone so it doesn’t use unnecessary data constantly updating apps you never use. Keep in mind, if it’s a dedicated phone, you’re only using it for phone calls.


Question 5: If I change my home phone number to a cell phone number, won’t I use more minutes or data?
Answer 5: More minutes, definitely, but these days “minutes” are free with most carriers. It’s the data you pay for. And when you only use the phone for calls, you don’t use much if any data.


Question 6: What does it cost to dedicate a cell phone to be docked 24/7 as your new home phone?
Answer 6: It depends upon your cell phone carrier. With Verizon, it costs $10/month (plus taxes and fees) for the extra line, and they allow you to have up to 7 lines on their family plan. You can often get a free phone when you buy a new cell phone. For purposes of a 24/7 cell phone docking, just pick out a phone that is reliable and gets great reception. It certainly doesn’t need a camera or other features that won’t be used. I like to use the CNET website to compare phones. If you find a phone you like that is no longer available retail, consider buying the older model cell phone on eBay and then get it activated by your cell carrier. Caution: buy only new (unused) phones guaranteed to have a clear ESN and that are designed to work on your network. Or simply use an old phone that’s sitting in a drawer. (I know you have at least one). It won’t matter if the screen is cracked. It just has to be able to receive calls.


Question 7: Will Bluetooth interfere with my cordless phones or wireless internet service?
Answer 7: It might. Bluetooth is a wireless short-range communications technology intended to replace the cables connecting portable and/or fixed devices while maintaining high levels of security. It operates at 2.4 GHz to 2.485 GHz. Bluetooth was designed to reduce interference between wireless technologies sharing the 2.4 GHz spectrum. This is done by detecting other devices in the spectrum and avoiding the frequencies they are using. That said, you could still get interference with cordless phones and wi-fi running on the 2.4 GHz band. To avoid this problem entirely, either connect directly to the converter with a cable (rather than Bluetooth) or make sure your cordless phones and wireless internet devices run on 900Mhz, pure 5.8Ghz or DECT.


Question 8: Are you living under a rock? Why not use a DSL/Cable Broadband phone service instead?
Answer 8: That might work well for many folks, and it is certainly an option. In our area, cellular service is far more reliable than cable service, and it is a lot easier to reach customer service at Verizon Wireless than at our cable company.


Question 9: What is your opinion on cordless phone units for the whole house which also include a docking station which accepts cell service?
Answer 9: You are describing a hybrid system, sometimes known as a gateway. It’s great for folks that want to dock their cell phone (thereby using their cell phone minutes and potentially saving on long distance phone bills) without cutting their landline, or who currently have two landlines and want to replace one with their cell phone, and still use all of their phones in the house.

Hints: If you are looking for a cordless phone set for the home with cell phone docking capability, consider highly rated phones such as the Panasonic DECT 6.0 PLUS Link-to-Cell Bluetooth Cordless Phone . (Above Right, comes with a base station and up to 4 additional handsets). This is also a great option if you have spotty cell service around your home. Dock your cell phone in the area of your house with the best reception and use these phones throughout your house!

If you prefer to simply attach a gateway device to your current setup, consider the Xtreme Technologies Xlink BTTN Bluetooth Gateway (bottom right) or Cobra PhoneLynx (below, left).

Chose one or the other.
You DO NOT need both.

Cobra PhoneLynx
Cobra PhoneLynx Bluetooth Cell to Home Phone Connection System (BT 215) connects up to two Bluetooth enabled cellular phones with any standard phone, allowing you to use your regular home phone over your cellular service network. There is no cable option. You must have a Bluetooth phone. The Bluetooth will work up to 30 feet away. PhoneLynx is the newest landline bridge — it was introduced in 2011. It’s an overseas design. PhoneLynx only connects to your landline phone. It does not connect to your home’s phone wiring. Reliability is a known issue and the company no longer has a website. Cobra PhoneLynx is sometimes available on Amazon and eBay.

Question 10: What are good reasons for not eliminating my landline?
Answer 10: Reasons to keep your landline include: 1. You have an alarm system tied into your phone, 2. your cell phone service is not reliable (and you certainly want reliable service if you ever need to call 911), 3. you don’t own your home, 4. you don’t pay much for your landline service (although even $40/month x 12 months = $580/year), 5. you have DSL internet service, 6. you have a bundled plan that’s too costly to unbundle, 7. you need to use your phone for fax transmission, or 8. you love your landline company. (Very funny, I know!)


Question 11: What about the Siemens Gigaset One Bluetooth Gateway?
Answer 11: The Siemens Gigaset One was manufactured by XLink for Siemens. It is actually the XLink BTTN with a “Gigaset One” label, which is only for folks that want to dock their cell phone with their home phone and NOT eliminate the landline. Siemens has since discontinued the device and dropped all support. We understand that to update the software and get it working properly you can pay XLINK $24.95 for a password to update Gigaset One using their software update tool via a USB Printer cable. Once completed, you’ve essentially converted your Gigaset One into a XLINK BTTN. Good luck.

Question 12: Are you still happy with your Dock-N-Talk and what would you buy today?
Answer 12: I am extremely happy with my Dock-N-Talk that I bought in 2007. I have not regretted the purchase. That said, I’m not opposed to trying the XLINK. I will point out that in 2017 it quick working with all but the one modular phone in the house that it was connected to. I’m thinking this is more of a house wiring problem than a Dock-N-Talk problem because it still works otherwise. We currently have it attached full time to an old cellphone in our kitchen which is the most central spot in the house should someone call our home phone. [Laugh out loud]. Of course there is no real need for the Dock-N-Talk if it’s only rigged up to one phone in the house, but the wife prefers to answer the old wall phone rather than the cellphone.


Question 13: Do you know anything about the MERGE docking station?
Answer 13: Of course! MERGE was made by CIDCO Communications and its use is limited to a few early-model Motorola cell phones. The unit physically acts as a cradle for your cell phone. Their website was abandoned sometime prior to April 2008. There is likely no customer support for this device. These show up occassionally on eBay.

Question 14: Do you have any more troubleshooting tips?
Answer 14: 1. Read this entire page and your manual before starting. 2. Check out your manufacturer’s website for troubleshooting and Frequently Asked Questions. 3. Make use of tech support. PhoneLabs can be reached at 800-725-5195, and Xtreme Tech’s at 650-479-5465.


Question 15: What happens when the house AC power fails while using one of these devices?
Answer 15: They also stop working. One advantage of land line has always been that you can use your telephone no matter how long your AC power is out. To counter this problem, I simply plug my device and attached cell phone into a UPS (uninterruptible power supply).


Related Links

Compare Cell Phones and Service, Find Ringtones and Accessories
Information on cell phone rating sites, rate plan comparison sites, cell phone accessories, ring tones, and carrier phone numbers.

Protecting Your Privacy
Information to assist you in protecting your identity and personal data.
Opt Out!
Contact information and tips for getting yourself removed from junk mailing lists and telemarketing lists.
How To Set Up A Webcam and Make Video Calls In Under 30 Minutes
Detailed step-by-step instructions on setting up your webcam and communications software allowing you to make your first video phone call in under 30 minutes.

Information is from sources believed to be reliable but cannot be guaranteed.

The information presented is an opinion intended to assist folks in breaking free of their landline service and getting more out of their cell phone service. Neither Verizon Wireless, Vonage, PhoneLabs, Xtreme Tech, CIDCO, Bluetooth, nor the FTC endorse this site or its content. Since we do not have complete control over the “Ads by Google” appearing on this page, we do not directly endorse their sites or products. Please notify us if you find any of the advertisers to be misleading. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases through Amazon links. Enjoy.

Feel free to contact me to correct any information in this article or to alert me to additional information one should consider.

© 2007 Topher
Updated 2019

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What is a docking station and why is it needed for a phone, tablet, laptop, hard drive

People who actively use mobile gadgets in their daily lives experience a number of difficulties from time to time. Often you need to quickly recharge your laptop. Sometimes there is not enough signal strength to transmit data on a mobile phone. The device has weak speakers, and I want to make the music louder. All these tasks will be easily solved by the Docking station, which translates from English as a docking station. What is a docking station, its purpose and functionality – in the material below.

Functions and types of docking stations

Using space terminology, the designers of this equipment have tried to explain that the principle of operation of the docking station is based on connecting several devices into one whole to create new possibilities. But even knowing in general terms the purpose of the device, many users are interested in its functionality for practical use.

The main purpose of such equipment is to synchronize data between all gadgets connected to the docking station, with the obligatory charging of these devices along the way. In addition to universal models, narrowly targeted samples are widely used.

Musical

Mass production of the first docking stations organized for the famous iPod. By connecting an apple device to the device, it was possible not only to charge its battery, but also through built-in speakers or separately connected speakers to listen to musical compositions recorded on the player. At the same time, the power of the output signal was noticeably increased, which made it possible to use the entire connected structure as a full-fledged music center. To date, the release of docking stations for playing music, which simultaneously serves as a sound amplifier for mobile devices, continues.

Chargers

Still, docks gained more popularity later, when the first iPhone was released. Immediately with him, they began to produce simple devices in the form of stands, into which a smartphone was not only inserted, but also its battery was charged. Users liked this design because the phone stood vertically in the station. And this increased the convenience of using the iPhone when recharging it.

Interesting! There are portable battery docking stations that can extend the life of mobile devices by tens of hours.

Since then, charging docks have been produced for all possible mobile devices – laptops, tablets, players, cameras and phones. Each company tried to provide all its equipment with similar chargers, the connectors in which were provided for all devices manufactured by this brand. Samsung was no exception with its Dex stations.

For motorists

Car docks use car battery to charge gadgets . Most often, a navigator and a mobile phone are connected to the station. Moreover, in the latter case, the design can act as a complete replacement for the car radio. A convenient vertical installation of the phone on the dashboard of the car allows you to talk while driving on the speakerphone without removing your hands from the steering wheel and without using the Bluetooth headset .

Universal

In addition to the mandatory and constant recharging of any device connected to such a station, the developers tried to equip it with a lot of useful functions. The first priority of the docks is connection of all gadgets docked to it into one unit . This allows you to transfer any data between devices very quickly. For example, between several laptops. Or between the camera and the tablet.

Connecting a keyboard to the station makes it easier to type on your tablet and phone. The processing of text files is also significantly accelerated. Using the dock, you can easily connect your smartphone to a TV or music center. At the same time, thanks to universal connectors, several devices from different brands are easily connected into one design.

Many stations support media files. But for them to be processed in the chain of connected devices, there must be a device with installed software . That is, in order to view the video recorded on the camera on a large screen, and at the same time be able to edit it, you need to connect at least a tablet device with the necessary software application to the station.

Important! The greater the versatility and functionality of the docking station, the higher its price.

In addition to the ability to connect any flash device to each dock, there are hard disk stations. Docking an external HDD to the structure significantly increases the data copying speed of the . And in some devices, for example, from Samsung, there is a nice bonus in the form of a backup option.

Docking stations for phones

When deciding what a docking station is for, you should pay attention to changing the functionality of the connected device with its help. For example, you can turn your phone into a full-fledged computer . Just dock your smartphone, monitor, keyboard, mouse, sound buffer and external hard drive together. After that, you can watch music videos on the big screen, listening to the sound through powerful speakers and editing files along the way.

Most phone docking stations come in the form of a charging cradle or a audio file amplifier with built-in speakers. But besides the combinations described above, there are docks that perform very specific functions.

Interesting! Xiaomi has released a docking station for its phones and tablets that can monitor human blood pressure.

As a rule, most stations are designed to work with the Android operating system. It is enough to install the necessary software on the phone and you can dock it with the dock, adding the necessary devices if necessary. The smartphone is connected via USB ports.

For models with iOS installed, it is best to purchase the original station from Apple. This will guarantee the stability of the device. While many universal designs from other brands that work with iPhones and iPads, can reduce their functionality and cause communication problems .

Important! Please note that connecting your iPhone to any equipment other than Apple automatically voids your warranty from the company.

Most stations, including universal ones, have standard “apple” ports for all gadgets.

Tablet Docking Stations

All of the above about phones can easily be applied to tablets running any operating system. With the only difference that the portable keyboard began to perform the role of a docking station. An excellent example is tablet computers running on Windows 8. The system was originally created for the most comfortable use. Many manufacturers have gone further and started releasing docking stations in the form of keyboard stands.

The on-screen touch keyboard is not always convenient for everyone. Therefore, releasing it in a push-button version as a separate prefix that connects to an electronic notepad was a very good decision. Further, it was no problem to provide the dock body with all the ports and connectors that did not fit on a very thin tablet.

Many stands now come with an extra battery and built-in speakers with an output amplifier. In general, the tablet docking station is very convenient on the road, as the dimensions of the device are quite compact, and the whole structure is light in weight.

Laptop Docking Stations

Since the laptop already has its own keyboard, the docking station solves other pressing problems. In essence, she began to supplement the main device with all possible ports, turning it into a full-fledged computer . Additional ports and connectors allowed to connect:

  • additional monitors and TVs;
  • mouse;
  • MFP;
  • external HDDs.
  • additional keyboard;
  • modem;
  • several other PCs or laptops;
  • mobile devices in the form of phones, tablets, players and cameras.

In some models, they did not forget to add an additional power supply , which made it possible to quickly recharge the batteries of all connected devices. The docking station for the laptop began to be made in the form of a stand for it, additionally equipping the case with a pair of powerful coolers to cool the device’s processor.

Note! It is enough to dock once with the help of the station all the necessary devices to create a powerful computer, so that later you can disconnect the laptop from the structure and take it with you on the road as a mobile device. And when you return home, reconnect it to the system and enjoy the opportunity to watch recorded movies on the big screen without having to reconfigure the settings.

In addition to serving as a convenient and stable stand, the Mobile Device Dock is purchased for the following purposes:

  • fast and high-quality charging of the device battery;
  • education music center;
  • speed up data transfer between devices;
  • turning mobile devices into a full-fledged computer.

So, if you need to purchase a home PC, you can opt for a good universal docking station. It can easily replace a desktop computer by combining existing devices into one whole, not excluding the possibility of using them separately in the future.

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Docking station – how to choose for a phone, tablet, laptop, rating of the best models, how to connect?

Various accessories are available to enhance the functionality of mobile devices. The docking station has great potential to increase the capabilities of gadgets and helps to connect several devices at once: a mobile phone, tablet, computer, laptop and TV.

What is a docking station?

Various accessories are widely used to expand the functionality of smartphones, tablets, laptops and other electronic devices. The docking station is a small fixed structure equipped with several connectors for connecting the instrument. Manufacturers use a USB or COM port as an interface. The docking station itself receives power to operate from a conventional electrical outlet or from the car’s cigarette lighter. There are models that do not require a physical connection of the gadget and are designed for wireless charging.

What is the docking station for?

The device performs a number of important functions:

  • is used as a stand to make it convenient to view photos or videos;
  • provides data synchronization with other devices, for example, with a tablet or desktop computer;
  • expands the possibilities of the device – the docking station for the tablet can be used as a keyboard;
  • provides device charging;
  • is used for voice or file transmission.

Some models have a wide range of additional features and perform the functions of an alarm clock, weather station, clock, music and multimedia center. The gadget charging dock can be used as a device to control your phone from a computer. The multifunctional design increases the convenience of working with the gadget and significantly expands its functionality.

Pros and cons of docking stations

Devices for connecting gadgets have several important advantages:

  • easy operation and simple interface;
  • features to facilitate the management of a mobile device and expand its functions;
  • large selection of devices depending on the place of use and the required functions;
  • compact dimensions and long operating time.

The charging dock has only one significant drawback – the need for a constant connection to the mains. Other types of devices may need to install special drivers and software that are responsible for the connection and data transfer. A universal docking station that is compatible with several gadget models will help eliminate this disadvantage.

What are the docking stations?

Depending on the main characteristics, the following types can be distinguished:

  1. Wireless docking station . Differs in high mobility and convenience in work. When using, do not forget to periodically recharge the device.
  2. Stationary . Used with tablets and mobile phones.
  3. Charging station . Depending on the power, it provides power for one or more devices.
  4. Multimedia . Using this type of docking station, you can view, copy and modify photo and video files.

How to choose a docking station?

When buying, please pay attention to the following criteria:

  1. Application area . If you need a device for use on the road and while traveling, you should pay attention to mobile models. For home use, you can choose a device of any size.
  2. Required functionality . Depending on the scope of application, it is necessary to choose a docking station with the desired set of features: for charging, watching videos, synchronizing data.
  3. Connected device type . The docking station is available for different types of gadgets. There are models for tablets, phones, camcorders, laptops. There is also a special drive docking station that helps you connect hard drives to your computer.

Phone docking station

The most common type of device. When connected, you can improve the sound quality with external speakers, charge the battery, or transfer data to a tablet or computer. The docking station for iPhone will help not only to synchronize information, but also to connect the device to a TV or music center. There are universal models and options designed for specific versions of gadgets.

Tablet Dock

The main function is to charge or connect the keyboard. Since the touch screen is not convenient for typing large amounts of text, the docking station helps to solve this problem. It may have built-in speakers that enhance the sound and allow you to enjoy your favorite music or movie. The docking station for charging is available in a stationary version to securely fix the tablet.

Notebook Docking Station

Used to connect third party devices that lack standard ports. The universal docking station for a laptop will help you connect it to a graphics tablet, printer, additional keyboard or mouse, monitor. There are also models that provide support for wireless protocols and multimedia equipment for sound recording.

Rating of docking stations

Since devices differ in purpose, it is worth considering separately several of the most popular types for each category of devices: It combines the functionality of a speaker, a multimedia center, an alarm clock, a weather station and other devices.

  • As a docking station for Apple , you must use a special device from the same manufacturer. Belkin Boost Up is compatible with the latest smartphones and supports wireless charging.
  • You can use the Lenovo Thinkpad or Dell Thunderbolt to connect peripherals to your laptop. Models are distinguished by a large number of ports with which you can turn a laptop into a full-fledged desktop computer.
  • The AgeStar Docking Station takes the lead for easy hard drive handling. They are connected to a computer via USB 3.0, which ensures high speed data transfer. The device is compact in size and takes up little space on the desktop.
  • How to connect the docking station?

    Installation and configuration does not take much time. The manufacturer’s instructions are attached to the device, which indicates how to set up the docking station and connect it to the gadget. The connection consists of several steps:

    1. Select a location for the docking station. If you plan to use the device only for charging, install it near a power outlet. The music dock should be placed closer to the center of the room so that walls and furniture do not obstruct the sound.
    2. Download the necessary programs and drivers. Charging stations do not require special configuration, unlike multimedia devices.