How secure are your conversations when using a wireless headset?

business woman with headset pondering

business woman with headset pondering

Most people who use an office wireless headset will at one point ponder the question about how secure their headset really is. A reasonable thing to consider for sure especially if your work involves sensitive or confidential information.

This blog is intended to give you some information on headset security but without getting too techie. A headset security light version.

To discuss headset security as it stands today, it’s reasonable to take a short look back on the headset technology that was used in the past and how it’s evolved.

Among the early entries into the office wireless headset realm included the Plantronics CA10 and CS10 models. Both operated using 900 MHz technology. 900 MHz technology was one click up from large old cordless phones with retractable antennas and the sounds of your neighbors baby monitor coming across your phone a block away. Needless to say, phone conversations weren’t all that secure back then. Thankfully, things have advanced a lot.

Each advancement in communication technology also saw improved security. Below is a short look at the progression of technology that was used in office wireless headsets, then and now.

graphic of 49 MHz technology

49 MHz wasn’t secure at all. Thankfully, this technology isn’t used any longer as it was easy to eavesdrop onto phone conversations and the wireless range wasn’t that good either.

graphic of 900 MHZ

900 MHz was a dramatic improvement over 49 MHz but still not secure. Years ago, this technology was used in wireless headsets such as the Plantronics CA10, CS10 which have both been discontinued and replaced by products using 900 MHz DSS, specifically, the Plantronics CS50 wireless headset.

graphic of 900 MHZ DSS technology

900 MHz DSS (Digital Spread Spectrum) was designed to enhance the security on the 900 MHz band by “frequency hopping” which made eavesdropping difficult because the signal was changing (hopping) rapidly throughout the conversation. Plantronics used this in the Plantronics CS50 wireless headset, which is a discontinued product today.

graphic of 2.4 GHz technology

2.4 GHz was originally created for the Military to help scramble voice communications. In time, this same technology found its way into commercial products. Among them included the GN Netcom/Jabra 9120 wireless headset, a now discontinued product. Besides better call security, the 2.4 GHz frequency also provided longer talk range.

graphic of Dect 6.0 technology

DECT 6.0 is a current technology that’s widely used in cordless phones and cordless headsets in North America. This is a North American version of DECT technology originally developed in Europe. DECT and DECT 6.0 broadcast on a voice only channel and as such, isn’t recognized by a number of different wireless signals such as WiFi or wireless routers for example. This means that you get far less interference and pairing disconnects and because it’s digitally encrypted, you can expect call security.

Having laid out this progression of cordless technologies, the remainder of this blog will focus on DECT 6.0 as that’s the technology found in new cordless communication products being purchased and used today.

two headsets with lock and chain

Getting back to the subject of security, here’s an interesting article that discusses headset security by Dennis Majikas, an Engineer at Jabra, a leading headset manufacturer.  This was taken from an article by Paul Desmond of theUCbuyer.  You can view the article by going here. In short, Mr. Majikas says once the base and the headset top pair together, a secure link is established and the headset turns your voice into digital data, encrypts that, and passes only the encrypted data back to the base making the conversation highly secure.  Majikas went on to say “DECT uses 64-bit encryption so once the headsets are appropriately paired with their base stations, the chances of someone effectively listening in on a call is virtually nil”. That perspective should help put your mind to ease. If not, here’s another comment on the subject by Plantronics.

According to Plantronics, the world’s leading headset manufacturer, their line of products including the Savi 700 series and the Plantronics CS500 series, both use advanced digital security with eight discrete security measures. These measures include a 64-bit encryption which keeps confidential information private (secure). 

Below are some of the popular headset models that use secure DECT technology.

DISCOVER. Discover D901, Discover D902, Discover D903 and Discover D904

PLANTRONICS. Plantronics CS55, CS351N, CS361N, CS70N, CS540, CS530, CS520, CS510. Plantronics Savi 710, Savi 720, Savi 730, Savi 740, Savi 745.

JABRA. Pro 920, Pro 9450, Pro 9470

SENNHEISER. Office Runner, SD Pro 1, SD Pro 2, SD Office Convertible

summary

If you’re using an office wireless headset by a leading manufacturer that was purchased in the last 5-7 years, you shouldn’t worry about call security. The technology used in today’s cordless phones and wireless headsets help to keep your private conversations private while not putting you at risk for getting your phone calls hijacked.

LOOKING TO UPDATE YOUR HEADSETS? Why not trade in your old headsets and get a generous credit towards new models? The process is simple and we even pay for the shipping. Click below to request your trade in quote today.

CTA Trade in v1

 

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