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I want to install a phone system that I can "call" within my house. What I mean is that I want to call my wife from my home office to my kitchen using a phone system; then my wife can use the phone system in the kitchen to answer me. It is better if it is wireless. What should I call that? Do all indoor phones have this function?

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3 Answers 3

up vote 2 down vote accepted

This would be an intercom system, not a phone system. Most modern intercom systems have the ability to program rooms. If you need to use actual phone numbers than you are looking into getting a phone switch and multiple phone numbers from your telco (very $$$).

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Most cordless phones that come with multiple handsets come with intercom features. –  Matt Jul 21 '13 at 20:30
    
Multiple phone numbers has absolutely nothing to do with internal switching, nor does your phone company need to be involved in setting up a PBX (whether for home or business), unless you are talking about having DID numbers for every extension, which is not really that common. –  gregmac Jul 21 '13 at 21:14
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As DMoores says, what you describe is called an intercom.

However there are at least two relatively low-cost alternatives.

Cordless Phones

Panasonic and other companies sell cordless phones in sets of two, three, four or more handsets. One handset plugs into your phone socket, all the handsets can make or receive normal phone calls. In addition any handset can call any other handset (they are numbered 1-4).

The base of the main handset (which connect to your phone socket) can optionally incorporate a digital answering machine. You can still use them in conjuncytion with an existing answering machine if that's what you want. An advantage of the built in one is that you can control the answering machine from any handset in the house (listen to recorded messages, delete them, etc).

In Europe (and probably everywhere else in the world outside the USA) the system now predominant is Digital Enhanced Cordless Telecomms (DECT) - I think there are other systems in the USA but you may also be able to buy a variant of DECT.

Panasonic probably have the best reputation among makers of these phones.

Home PBX

A basic home PBX can be surprisingly cheap. You only need one phone line to the outside world. You buy as a many internal handsets as you want (up to 6 or 8 depending on PBX) and wire up extension sockets in various rooms from the PBX. This works like an office system in that you dial 9 before making an outside call. You can configure them so that any extension can pick up an incoming call (if that's what you want). You can usually place restrictions of some extensions. The home PBXs I've used are about the size of a medium-sized hardback book.


I recommend the cordless phones - very small and convenient and don't require any wiring and don't need any extra services from your telco.

some DECT phones

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You can also set up a Home PBX using a software-based PBX. There is switch software like Asterisk or FreeSWITCH, or PBX solutions such as FreePBX (disclaimer: years ago I was a core FreePBX developer), or Elastix (uses FreePBX). I still run a FreePBX system in my house -- I have several VoIP phones (each having their own extension numbers), and a couple DID numbers (which cost me a fraction of what "regular" PSTN lines cost). I can direct dial (most phones have buttons programmed so you just press eg "living room") or intercom the whole house. –  gregmac Jul 21 '13 at 21:21
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Why dont you just get a set of walkie talkies? Thats what we use.

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