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Current Thinking for Whole House Paging

upstatemike

Senior Member
The first and most popular automation thing I ever did for my family was to provide whole house paging by putting in a Panasonic PBX. This is still the most heavily used technology feature in our household but as land line use begins to dwindle I wonder if I should start thinking about an alternative way to provide this function in case the day comes when I no longer use the PBX for phone calls. I'm wondering what other folks who have transitioned to cell phone only are doing for whole house paging?
 
The key features I want to retain would be:
 
-Simple whole house announce. I have no need for point-to-point intercoms as nobody ever knows where the person they are calling actually is.
 
-Needs to be table units that are in easy reach when watching TV or sitting at my desk. Wall based units are not practical since you would have to stop what you are doing and get up to respond to a call.
 
-Needs to be able to mute any music or announcements so you can hear the page. Currently I detect "off-hook" in each room and have Homeseer mute the Sonos player in that room and operate Elk relays to mute any announcements from the automation systems. Since paging takes all rooms off-hook I get muting everywhere during announcements.
 
-Needs to account for feedback in the room your speaking from. Can't just page through the music speakers for example unless it knows to not broadcast into the room with the open mic that somebody is paging from. (PBX does this automatically by not broadcasting to the speakerphone of the station originating the page)
 
Closest replacement I have found is Russound Compoint but not interested in wall mount units so I was wondering what other options might meet my criteria?
 

dontheo

Member
I was a Panasonic dealer and had just about every PBX in my home over the years.  Always a cordless reception nightmare for me.  I sold the suckers and it was hard enough remembering how the cordless handsets worked for me.  My clients hated them. 
 
Anyway, like you, we finally cut the cord and went totally cellular. I found another Panasonic system on Amazon which is awesome for us.  It has one base station and wireless stations.  It connects to my wife's and my cell phone via blue tooth (two lines) and uses those two lines at all the stations (handsets).  She uses Sprint and I  use Verizons with no problems. So when we are home we dock our cells and they now ring and can call  out form any of the handsets.  The handsets have paging capabilities to any or multiple handsets and also let me keep my front doorbell through the phone system.  It is a KX-TGH260 which is a couple of years old now and there are probably better systems, but this on works great for us..  The house is one story 4200 sq feet and no reception problems.   Also came with a tag to attach to your keys to locate them but I threw those out.  Dont know why as I am constantly looking for the keys. lol 
 
T
 

upstatemike

Senior Member
That's a nice looking phone but the system I am using is wired, not cordless, and has 24 extensions. I use all 24 extension plus some auxiliary paging speakers to cover all the space I need to cover so I'm probably looking for an intercom or paging system with a minimum of 32 stations.
 

mikefamig

Senior Member
We just use text messaging in my home.
 
Mike.
 
EDIT - I should have mentioned that I use voice-to-text instead of typing and it works very well.
 

upstatemike

Senior Member
I know a lot of folks do that but my cell phone sits in a dock when I am at home (and most times when I leave because I never remember to take it). Plus the oldest generation family members do not text so would be useless to them anyway.
 
Also seems like it would be tedious to set up a group text to everyone currently living in or visiting the house just to call everyone to dinner. During the Holidays there could be 18-20 people scattered about who need to get the message.
 

picta

Active Member
I had Panasonic PBX for close to 20 years now. Every now and then I do a search for a potential replacement, and have not seen anything that would come close to its functionality. We use it for intercom, phone, messaging, alarm clocks, and it is also a part of many automation tasks. The DND option alone will make me keep it for as long as it lasts. I looked at compoint, and it has no automation capabilities, but if you only want to use it as the intercom, you could mount the stations into a table-top enclosure.
 

upstatemike

Senior Member
It doesn't look like there is anything that really improves on the PBX for paging and intercom. Maybe I'll shift my focus to extending the lifecycle of the phone functions by converting the landlines to SIP modems and "Cell to home phone" adapters. This would probably buy me another decade of life for the PBX and let me keep the page function "as-is" for quite awhile.
 

mikefamig

Senior Member
dinner
 
upstatemike said:
During the Holidays there could be 18-20 people scattered about who need to get the message.
 
How about a cow bell? Just joking but a private PBX/intercom in the home brings visions of hula hoops and poodle skirts and big finned luxury cars. Probably because I've never lived in a large enough home to need one. I have to think thought that there are wireless options today.
 
Mike.
 
Mike.
 

pete_c

Guru
Here it was a nice to have intercom between the house and the detached garage in the 1980's. 
 
Over time did disconnect it as I didn't want the interruptions while working in the garage. (and my little workshop).
 

upstatemike

Senior Member
mikefamig said:
dinner
 
 
How about a cow bell? Just joking but a private PBX/intercom in the home brings visions of hula hoops and poodle skirts and big finned luxury cars. Probably because I've never lived in a large enough home to need one. I have to think thought that there are wireless options today.
 
Mike.
 
Mike.
I don't know about wireless but I was hoping this thread would uncover some scalable alternatives to what as you point out is some pretty old tech. I guess I am the last person left anywhere who needs something like this so I better plan on maintaining the old equipment for the foreseeable future... It doesn't look like anything new (on this scale) is coming.
 

upstatemike

Senior Member
I think I used some Viking stuff back in the 1A2 key system days but I haven't looked at any of their current products. I'll check into it to see what they have.
 

mikefamig

Senior Member
upstatemike said:
I don't know about wireless but I was hoping this thread would uncover some scalable alternatives to what as you point out is some pretty old tech. I guess I am the last person left anywhere who needs something like this so I better plan on maintaining the old equipment for the foreseeable future... It doesn't look like anything new (on this scale) is comin
 
I was going for a laugh with the cowbell and think that you can't beat a wired system for dependability. If the system has been working for you this long then what's to fix? It'll be interesting to see what the group comes up with.
 
Mike.
 

Neurorad

Senior Member
I have been looking for a similar solution for the past couple/few years.
 
There should be a VoIP product that could substitute for the Panasonic phones.  One base station, 32 wireless phones (or 10 for me).
 
That Panasonic 'Link-to-cell' phone model mentioned above, Panasonic KX-TGH260, looks nifty - syncing cell phones using BT.
 

upstatemike

Senior Member
I haven't seen a wireless system that does all station paging well on the scale I need. Even Engenius depends on direct communication between the initiating handset and all of the receivers, only using the central hubs to process outside calls. I just don't see that as being reliable.
 
Also both VOIP and wireless solutions seem to struggle with any sort of integration logic triggered from a particular extension going off hook. I depend a lot on music automatically muting just in the room where a phone call or paging communication is happening without impacting the music or announcements in other areas. Loop detect relays provide simple room specific feedback to Homeseer etc. How do you handle that with a VOIP or wireless system?
 
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