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Although most people today use mobile phones as personal communication devices, there was a time when standard corded landlines were found in every home. Another variation of this is the cordless phone, although it operates on many of the same principles as its cousin.

Even with the proliferation of modern cell phones, you may still find corded or cordless phones in many offices today. This is particularly true of large office spaces where many workers might need access to their own lines for business purposes.

Whether you need a corded phone or not, you may wonder how they work, and we will cover some aspects of this topic in our article. We can also go over whether you need a dedicated landline in order to get a cordless phone to work, power options for these kinds of phones, whether landlines can ever be wireless, and how this technology might function during any kind of outage.

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How Do Corded & Cordless Phones Work?

In general, corded phones are one type of phone service that can provide users with both consistency and reliability for all of their calling needs. Many modern corded phone options will use fiber optics, the same kind of technology that you might use for your internet access.

Precisely how corded phones work might depend on the protocols your service provider follows, but many of them will provide battery units that act as backups for your dial tone service. This can help your corded phone continue to work even when your power is unstable, although you would need power for most corded phone operations.

Cordless phones aren’t like a landline, but they do operate in a similar fashion. In fact, they rely on existing landlines in order to function properly. When you think of cordless phones, you probably imagine a handset that you can carry with you throughout the house or other area.

When you’re done with your conversation, you’ll place this device back in a dock of some sort. Usually, this will be a cradle that allows the phone to sit upright, unlike many cordless phones that you might hang on the wall.

The actual handset for the phone setup uses radio frequencies in order to communicate with the docking cradle. This dock, in turn, has its own connection with a landline and the mains power of your home or office. Cordless phone handsets need batteries to keep the connection between themselves and the dock going.

Furthermore, although you should be able to travel quite far within a given radius and still use them for calls, these handsets need to remain within range of the base in order to keep the signal strong.

Do You Need a Landline for a Cordless Phone?

In most cases, you’ll use a landline in conjunction with your cordless phone. As we touched on earlier, the docking station keeps the cordless phone charged, but it also provides a way to connect that line to the actual landline you’ve set up in your home.

A cordless phone isn’t a landline itself, but it will rely on it in order to make calls, the same way you would need a landline to make them with any corded phone.

There are some possible exceptions to this rule with some modern cordless phones. Older cordless phones definitely need landlines to function properly, but the advent of wireless and cellular technology has changed the landscape on this. Certain manufacturers may make particular models that you can use without a landline.

In order to do this, your best bet will be to connect the cordless phone to your own smartphone. You can do this by pairing the devices with each other using Bluetooth. Bluetooth technology uses radio waves to connect one device to another.

The range might be relatively short, but it would allow you to use your cordless phone without any landline. You’ll be routing calls through the smartphone’s own data services and sending them to the cordless phone.

Does a Corded or Cordless Phone Need Power?

Yes, cordless and corded phones both need power in order to function. With corded phones, your landline should be connected to your mains power. As long as this power is flowing, your corded phone should work as intended.

Furthermore, older corded landlines should be connected by wires that the phone company buries in between its offices and your home. By doing so, your landline continues to receive power, and it should protect the ability to make or receive calls from inclement weather that might otherwise affect wires or connections above the ground.

Cordless phones can rely on your mains power in the same way that corded ones do. They also use batteries inside the handset in order to function when you take them away from the dock.

As with any kind of technology, the components inside the phone need to have some power in order to function. A power supply, battery, or some kind of connection to the landline and its mains power are all different ways the cordless phone might get the power it needs.

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Can a Corded or Cordless Phone Work in a Power Outage?

Whether a corded or cordless phone can still work during a power outage depends on what kind of phone you have and the technology it is using. We can start with corded phones.

In most cases, corded phones should still work in a power outage. We mentioned earlier how your phone company should have buried wires in the ground for your landline. In doing so, it provided you with a way to get power to the line.

That power is still provided by your phone service operator, but it can keep your landline going even when your power is out. It can do this because phones require very little energy to keep going. In most cases, your company should have generators that it will use to supply power to its customers in the event of an outage.

This means that all your other power could be cut, but the phone itself could still work. If your phone company also has problems, or if it does not have generators, then the chances are your landline won’t work.

For cordless phones to work during an outage, they would need some kind of uninterrupted power supply or batteries that can deliver a charge. Cordless phones rely on mains power and the landline, but a charged handset should still benefit from the power that comes to the landline via the buried wires and the phone company generators, if the dock that is plugged into the wall has a separate power supply of its own.

In most situations, this will not be the case. The phone dock relies on the mains power. Once that power goes out, the cordless phone cannot function. This is because the buried wires from the phone company go to your landline, and your cordless phone is not your dedicated landline.

Can Landline Phones Be Wireless?

When we talk about landline phones being wireless, we might be discussing making corded phones into cordless ones. However, there is also the possibility of using different technology in order to make calls.

We spoke about how you could route a phone through your smartphone instead of the usual landline. However, you can also make a landline phone wireless by using a wireless transmitter kit. In these cases, you would change how the phone makes calls.

Making a landline wireless is usually going to involve switching it to Voice over internet protocol, otherwise abbreviated as just VoIP. As you might imagine, VoIP uses the internet in lieu of traditional phone technology in order to send and receive the data you need for calling purposes.

To get all of this going, you’ll usually use a kit, but you can also plug the landline directly into an applicable modem. For the most part, you would do this if you bundle your phone and internet service with the same provider. You may need to call your provider and perform some extra steps to get the number going with VoIP properly.

Although this can work to give you “wireless” service in the sense that you are not tied to a landline directly, it is not a connection you can make without cables. Your modem or router will have a dedicated phone port, and you’ll need to plug things into this port in order to get VoIP.

This is true even with a cordless phone that has a base. You’ll still have to plug one end of the base into the appropriate cable, using the other end to connect the base to your internet hardware.

It is also possible that you’ll need to talk with your provider to bundle your services or get a modem or router that might have the kinds of ports you need.


Both corded and cordless phones still have their uses today. They offer some level of stability that cell phones may not, and your dedicated landline should remain operational even during a power outage, provided that the area of the outage is localized enough to keep your phone company up and running. Further, you can also use some newer technologies with corded and cordless phones to enhance their functionality.