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Best Telephone For Datacenters? 110

Posted by timothy
from the repeat-charlie-3-oclock-over dept.
An anonymous reader writes "I've been struggling to find an effective wireless/cordless phone headset for use in high noise environments, such as a datacenter. I'd love to have something like the helicopter pilots or aircraft carrier deckmen wear, but that can hook up to a pots line (or Bluetooth to a workstation with Skype). Has anybody found a solution they like for datacenter applications?"
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Best Telephone For Datacenters?

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  • Jawbone Bluetooth (Score:5, Informative)

    by Tekfactory (937086) on Thursday June 10, 2010 @01:47PM (#32525638) Homepage

    I bought the Jawbone Prime for my Droid and its been fabulous.

    Supposedly it was desighned for Helicopter and tank crews, there is a sensor on the earpiece that sits on your cheek, it it can't match a noise from the microphone with a vibration from your mouth, it filters it out. If your jaw loses contact with the sensor it uses normal noise cancelling tech.

    I ask everyone I talk to on it how it sounds and they say that I come through clearly.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Skuld-Chan (302449)

      I have a Plantronics Backbeat that also doubles as a set of headphones that works pretty well too on my Nexus One (does a really good job of canceling noise). The cool thing about the Motorola Droid and the Nexus One (for those who don't know) is split noise canceling microphones in case you forgot your headset or the batteries for it are dead - with the phone alone (on my N1 at least) I can stand in a data center and on the other end the person you're talking too wouldn't believe you were in a data center.

    • by tomz16 (992375)

      I can second the Jawbone Prime suggestion. The background (non-wind) noise cancellation is fantastic. I use one in the car all the time. The party on the other end of the call is never able to discern that I am in a car, even at highway speed. The Prime's noise cancellation is substantially better than any other BT headset I have ever tried.

      • Re:Jawbone Bluetooth (Score:4, Interesting)

        by JerryLove (1158461) on Thursday June 10, 2010 @02:19PM (#32525964)

        But what about the other way? Hearing someone when I've got a lot of background noise. My problem with "in-the-ear" has been that, because the distance is so short and the driver so small, the rate of volume increase / decrease is sharp. In short, I quickly go from "can't hear you" to "too loud, but still can't understand".

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by tomz16 (992375)

          But what about the other way? Hearing someone when I've got a lot of background noise. My problem with "in-the-ear" has been that, because the distance is so short and the driver so small, the rate of volume increase / decrease is sharp. In short, I quickly go from "can't hear you" to "too loud, but still can't understand".

          The jawbone does a bit of passive isolation in the ear it's inserted, provided you pick the right earpiece gel. It's plenty for use in a car, but I'm not sure if it will be enough for your particular application.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by _Sprocket_ (42527)

      I use a Plantronics Voyager Pro coupled with a Droid. It uses dual noise-canceling microphones that handle background noise pretty good - including the data center.

    • People hear me fine on my Jawbone. I've opened the window while driving and talked in a DC with no problems on their end. Clear as day.

      My issue is even at Max volume _I_ still can't hear what people are saying. I've got good hearing, but at best I'm straining to hear a whisper amongst the roar of my jet-engine-powered Dells.

      Is there a super volume button I'm missing or something I can do on my iPhone/Blackberry? I've got the unit set to max volume as far as I can tell.

      -Matt

      • by initdeep (1073290)

        on my blackberry if i plug in a set of stereo headphones, the phones mic stays active but the sound out goes to the headphones.

        i have a friend who hooks his up to his car stereo as a music player (through an AUX 1/8" stereo input) while going down the road and when he uses it as a phone, the car stereo transmits the received call while he still speaks into the phone mic on speakerphone. the other thing with this is it mutes the music when you answer a call iirc.

    • by Em Emalb (452530)

      Actually, I recommend a SIP Phone on speaker mode...that'll shut 'em up. ;-)

      (Seriously, though, I second the jawbone. They're bad-ass when it comes to noise canceling.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by EvilBudMan (588716)

      The Plantronics was designed for space plus it looks like it's there unlike a jawjacker. So there you go put a space helmet on (noise canceler) and then strap on a Plantronics headset and you could even use the rest of the spacesuit to eliminate the need to go to the bathroom thereby getting more production. AND...best of all it would look cool.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      Ditto that on the Jawbone. My boss had a Jawbone Prime and recently switched to a Jawbone Icon. He uses it in the datacenter a lot. I never know he is there unless he tells me. Like most, our datacenter is really loud.

      Also, when I am sitting next to him in the office and I make a quip about something he is saying on the phone, the person on the other end can't hear it unless he chooses to repeat it to them. I have gotten pretty chatty with the obnoxious comments trying to trip him up before. I come ve

  • Pilots use.... (Score:2, Informative)

    by Supernoma (794214)

    Pilot's just use aircraft headsets with a plug that can plug into a cell phone.

    There's no magic too it, they're just big foamy headphones with a microphone and cost way too much.

    • Re:Pilots use.... (Score:5, Informative)

      by DerekLyons (302214) <fairwater@g[ ]l.com ['mai' in gap]> on Thursday June 10, 2010 @02:14PM (#32525914) Homepage

      Generally the microphones on those types of headsets are highly directional and have a bandpass filter to eliminate frequencies outside of human speech - so, no magic, but yes engineering.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by jemenake (595948)

      There's no magic too it, they're just big foamy headphones with a microphone and cost way too much.

      Actually, there is some magic. Aircraft headsets have two plugs. The plug for the headphones are, I think, a standard 1/4" three-conductor ("TRS") headphone plug. The mic on the other hand, is a different story. Some have a three-conductor plug, and others have a four-conductor (the extra conductor being for triggering the "transmit" mode on the radio). In addition, some of the mics require a DC bias voltage (like "phantom power" in music recording) to make the mic work. And the connector is a funky size..

  • http://www.jawbone.com/ [jawbone.com] it uses the vibrations in your skull from speaking to do noise cancellation.

  • There are a lot of noise cancelling headset options:
    http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&source=hp&q=noise+cancelling+headset+for+phones [google.com]

    Pick the one that fits your phone/price/ergonomic requirements.

    Yes, you could mod an aviation headset to do the same thing, however they are significantly weighty compared to most headsets (I know this because I have tried this, a guy I know built his own out of surplus aviation headset for LAN gaming). If you want to contact him about it his nick is "Cova" and he can

    • Yes, you could mod an aviation headset to do the same thing, however they are significantly weighty compared to most headsets

      As a flight test engineer who has tried several different headsets over the years, yes they are heavy beasts. I'm pretty rough with them, but so far I haven't broken any. You can expect to easily pay over $100 for a base model, but for sound exclusion I don't know of anything better.

      In one of our systems we DID hook up the crewmembers to an ISDN connection for voice transmission. I

      • by afidel (530433)
        It worked, but it was costly (at least, from a data center perspective and not a executive telecom perspective).

        The most expensive time in the world for most companies is the time spent by IT waiting to solve a problem affecting n users. Executives need to be in touch, but it would be a very strange situation where that time would be more expensive than an IT outage.
  • Answer (Score:5, Funny)

    by bagboy (630125) <neo@arcti c . net> on Thursday June 10, 2010 @01:49PM (#32525658)
    Cone of Silence" [wikipedia.org]
  • by kriston (7886) on Thursday June 10, 2010 @01:54PM (#32525714) Homepage Journal

    The Stenomask!! The picture needs no description. http://www.scscr.org/mediac/400_0/media/Misc$20110.jpg [scscr.org]

  • by 5pp000 (873881) * on Thursday June 10, 2010 @01:55PM (#32525722)

    I haven't actually tried it, but I have used other Etymotic products, and they generally work very well. Here's the page. [etymotic.com]

    I'm particularly fond of their hf2 stereo headset -- they sound great!

    • Agreed about Etymotic products. I love my pair of ER-6i's; just wish they came with an inline mic.
      • by 5pp000 (873881) *

        Then definitely check out the hf2 -- it sounds better than the ER-6i (which I have also used extensively), and it has an inline mic!

        • Doh! more than double the price! Probably worth it though; I'll at least put it on my wish-list.
  • Get a throat microphone and a secret-service type earpiece. Wires from those are very standard mono jacks and if you can't find the parts to convert them into the right plug at Radioshack, you can certainly buy the bare plug ends and solder up a harness in 15 minutes.

  • I've heard good things about UmeVoice - http://www.theboom.com/v/products/index.html [theboom.com]

  • by HockeyPuck (141947) on Thursday June 10, 2010 @02:00PM (#32525784)

    We're talking out in the field today. Hi, what's your name?
    "My name's Bob Fliber!"

    Bob, what do you do?
    "I'm in the artillery!"
    Thank you, Bob. Listen, can we play anything for you?

    "Anything! Just play it loud! Okay?"

  • they have those nerdy-ass throat mics. Pretend you're Spec Ops in the datacenter. Because you are so cool.
    • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      http://www.thinkgeek.com/electronics/cell-phone/c8e1/

    • by Yvan256 (722131)

      And also get a man-in-black-style earpiece. And then call everyone "Mr. Anderson" [scrapetv.com].

  • BlueParrot (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Jakester2K (612607)
    BlueParrot has decent noise-cancelling BlueTooth headsets. Originally designed for truckers. Mine is great, everyone I talk to says I sound like I'm a foot away, and battery life is good. My GFs headset - a newer version, B250 I think - works well, but battery life is a problem. Not sure why. IMO expensive but worth it.
  • by greenThing (111378) on Thursday June 10, 2010 @02:06PM (#32525844) Homepage

    I've used this in my data center, sitting in the hot row on a conference call, and no one complained about the noise & could hear me fine. I've used it paired to my Crackberry as well as my Macbook Pro. Probably the best bluetooth device I've used.

  • by tezzer (558085) <{terry} {at} {chiastic.net}> on Thursday June 10, 2010 @02:08PM (#32525862) Homepage
    You can find adapters for aircraft headsets that will let you use bluetooth, etc. These will work in -seriously- noisy environments, may be overkill. for example: http://www.marvgolden.com/headsets/adapters.htm [marvgolden.com]
    • by Tracy Reed (3563)

      Aircraft headsets have separate mic and headset connectors and seem to require power from the aircraft intercom system. They do not work standalone as far as I know. I am a pilot and own three different headsets. I would love to be able to use one in the datacenter. I have asked this very question on the lopsa mailing list here:

      http://www.mail-archive.com/tech@lopsa.org/msg01673.html [mail-archive.com]

      And we never came up with a decent answer. This was also asked on the kernel-panic mailing list and we found nothing through t

      • by tezzer (558085)
        Something like these will work: http://www.mypilotstore.com/mypilotstore/sep/3334 [mypilotstore.com] http://pilotproduct.com/products-page-2/?category=8 [pilotproduct.com] The first uses a 9V battery to power the headset, the second uses USB power. The USB solution will only work with computer audio, of course- but if you are using a VOIP app it would work just fine
        • by Tracy Reed (3563)

          Interesting, thanks for the link. The reviews are pretty mixed and people who work in a datacenter really need something that works with a mobile phone or landline. VOIP soft phones are rare in this application and would tie you to a particular location.

      • by joekool (21359)
        what's wrong with the one in the link he posted?

        http://www.marvgolden.com/headsets/pilot86aadapter.htm

        or the generic?

        http://www.marvgolden.com/headsets/pa96.htm
        + an adapter for a cell phone
        http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&client=firefox-a&hs=q7a&rls=org.mozilla%3Aen-US%3Aofficial&q=cell+headset+adapter&aq=0&aqi=m1&aql=&oq=cel+head+set+adapter&gs_rfai=

        just curious...
  • by localman57 (1340533) on Thursday June 10, 2010 @02:11PM (#32525882)
    You know you're not supposed to be surfing, what is that? Slashdot? What the hell is Slashdot? It's not Discover Card applications, I know that for damn sure. If you want to keep working here, get the fuck back to work. And quit bitching about the headset. You see anybody else complaining?
  • Every datacentre I've been in has a quiet or soundproofed control room for the operators and most of the time no-one at all in the machine room itself. Apart from the obvious desire not to have individuals wandering around, breaking things it's not a good working environment. The only people who should be working in there would be "hard hat" types like installers, wiring people and cleaners. None of which will need to make calls so much that a 30-second walk to the control room will matter.

    They will also

    • by mikael_j (106439)

      Ah, but what if you're the guy who's installing a rack full of new gear? Or perhaps doing other hardware-related work in the datacenter and you need to call Joe, the sysadmin in charge of system xyz to ask him about the instructions he scribbled on a napkin which you can at best interpret as "wen /talling sstem make siiie cd320-co.jkei.djk ls conn drec tsm23_33uid.erjk.djk"?

    • by green1 (322787) on Thursday June 10, 2010 @02:39PM (#32526200)

      Apparently you've never worked as one of the "hard hat" crowd.

      We spend hours at a time in these rooms installing, testing, or repairing equipment. Most of which needs to be done concurrently with phone calls to someone sitting at a desk in a quiet area somewhere. This is done to test individual cards, circuits, etc (which as you just pointed out, often can't be done by the person in the machine room) It is simply not practical to run back and forth to a control room for each adjustment, we need to work on equipment while talking with someone who is making the changes live. Running back and forth would increase the time requirements (and the outage lengths) by a very large factor.

      The machine room is a constant test of how loud my headset can go, along with a hefty dose of "say again please?"

    • by BobMcD (601576)

      While huge corporations definitely exist, you might consider that there are also small and medium sized datacenters, which also produce a crap-ton of noise. There are something close to 800 fans in my datacenter, for example, and the only 'control room' I have access to is my cubicle.

    • We don't work there you insensitive...
    • by TomXP411 (860000)

      Yeah, that's a helpful reply. Tell him everything his situation isn't. Maybe if he prints out your comment and takes it to his boss, his company will hire the magic data center faeries, who will poof a soundproof office in to existence just for him.

      I have several friends who work as system operators, and they work right there next to the computers; they have to load and unload printers, swap tapes, swap drive carts, and perform other tasks that require them to be in the same room as the systems.

      It's good th

  • Bose... (Score:5, Informative)

    by Roskolnikov (68772) on Thursday June 10, 2010 @02:21PM (#32525988)

    I use Bose QC2's in the DC for long stays, they have a phone connection kit, the mic seems to be very able to keep things quiet on both ends, they keep your ears warm and while not serving as a phoneset they can be used to listen to tunes, I do not recommend these headsets lightly or for anyone not in a NOISY environment, they add noise to the sound in quiet environments.

  • How serious about this are you? My jawbone headset works pretty well in noisy environments on one ear but you just can't beat an aviation bluetooth headset for active noise cancellation and two ear sound. See the ones from Lightspeed. I have not tried them but have used other ANR aviation headsets in small airplanes which are so noisy you can't hear yourself shout and they are amazing. I looked around at their website and the Zulu seems to be the bomb for the low low low price of $850. See it at http:/ [lightspeedaviation.com]

  • by CrankyFool (680025) on Thursday June 10, 2010 @03:14PM (#32526670)

    We've got two datacenters and I've spent ... well, way too much time in both of them. At some point, our network team discovered the Peltor bluetooth headsets -- see http://www.peltor.com/peltor.com/comm_detail.cfm?prod_family=BlueTooth%20Headsets&ind_prod_num=MT53H7AWS2001 [peltor.com] -- and stocked up on about 3-4 headsets per datacenter.

    These things work beautifully. They're comfortable for wear (I typically put one on even if I'm not going to make a phone call), pair nicely with both the wired telephone and my iPhone, have great sound quality while talking to tech support, etc. Can't recommend enough.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Luckyo (1726890)

      I can largely confirm various Peltors working beautifully. They're the stuff that officers leading the firing range used in the army too - though they used lower end stuff.

      And they're comfortable enough to sleep in. I used to sleep in pair of basic sound dampening peltors when 155mm cannons were shooting 50m away and I needed sleep. You can feel ground shaking a bit when they fire, but sound won't wake you up - dampening is that good. Your ears get a bit sweaty, and you'll feel them if you try to turn on th

  • by IBitOBear (410965) on Thursday June 10, 2010 @03:55PM (#32527200) Homepage Journal

    Your question contains your answer.

    Those headphone and microphone combinations you mention in your question are all available with 3.5" and 2.5" (etc.) standard connectors. If that's the kind of thing you want to use, go get one and use it. There are also several that use USB and in-device coding/decoding so if your Skype requirements involve a laptop of stationary computer, those work as well.

    There are lots of full ear-cup and direct boom microphone headsets, and fully half can be used with phones, and probably a third of them are available with amplifiers in them so as not to suck the life out of a cell phone etc.

    They are all just really pricey.

    On my current DoD project we have tried several brands so far.

    Go to a pilot supply store and try a few.

    Expect to spend $150 USD or more.

    Share and enjoy. 8-)

    • by bunyip (17018)

      The noise reduction (ANR) headsets that pilots use are a little more expensive but work really well. Start shopping (well) north of $300 and the top of the line models are around $900. I have a Lightspeed headset, and really like it. I've tried it with my phone a couple of times and it makes a great hands-free for driving on the highway.

      You could try one at any pilot store. Most General Aviation (GA) airports, even many of the smaller ones, have a store nearby.

  • I know I probably lose geek points, but after fighting with interference on wireless phones (2.4 and 5 ghz) or headsets that don't go loud enough, I went out to Walmart, bought the cheapest POTS phone I could find that didn't have an answering machine in it. Then I bought a 50-foot handset cord, and tie-wrapped it to the side of my network rack. Yeah, I can't make it to rack # 15, but for casual "read me the diag lights" calls to vendors, works pretty good.

  • The mentioned phone is a DECT unit. Very reliable at DC distances, sound is clear. It can talk to Bluetooth or 2.5 mm jack headsets. Whichever is used works fine as long as it is of good quality, which implies a good deal of background noise rejection among other things.

    That provides you not only with a reasonable quality of speech in both directions, but also, just as important, with two free hands AND freedom to move around.

    Talking from experience on a well-known (and as noisy as any) DC.

  • The answer you want is a Land Line coupled with Plantronics SHR2083-01 Industrial Noise Canceling Headsets. I've put these into the last 12 cage buildouts I've done. The mouth piece isn't great, but at least it's audible when you're standing right in-between two 20-ton CRAC units. Don't do a cell phone, life is too short. Avoid VOIP because you can't call up and talk to a vendor if your network is down.
  • by EEPROMS (889169)
    I am a bit confused by the actual question itself as the poster doesn't define what type of telephone/s he wants to use the headset with. Does he want something that works with a mobile/pc/desk/cordless phone as there are different combinations for each setup. Me personally I use a Plantronics Voyagerpro (dual mic) with a USB dongle for my PC and my mobile. If I was looking at a PC/Desk phone rig I would go with a Plantronics Savi Office Pro WO300 or WO350.

    http://www.plantronics.com/north_america/en_US/pro
  • The Nexus One is pretty great in data centers. It kills pretty much all of the background noise. The Motorolla S9-HD headset however, while fantastic for music, is pretty much worthless in the data center or if you have your windows down in the car.
  • I would go with wifi headsest that can accept a plug in headphone jack and just get a custom cable to hook into pilot cans.

    That way if you have wifi in the datacenter you're not hampered by signal issues. Other wireless solutions tied to your desk will not work with large datacenters I've seen them ineffective in ones of 6000sqft that are full of fun metal cabinets. Wifi though works great because you can deal with dead zones or align the antennas with the walkspaces.

  • anyone working in data center should use ptt throat mic. it's pain to keep remind yourself to press two buttons on your neck to talk but hell, i can hear dime drops on the other end of the line and you rarely hear person on the other end asking "What did you say? What.. What?"
  • Look into the Type 230 "Confidencer" [roanwell.com] by Ronwell. These microphones replace the standard microphone that is found on your typical wall phone. They make models for both Avaya and Nortel analog wall phones. I can attest that this product works very well in exceptionally noisy environments. Good luck.
  • Been using the GN Netcom headsets (both wired and wireless) in the workplace now for over 10 years. Great quality. Jabra recently bought them.

    http://www.jabra.com/NA-US/headsetsolutions/Pages/JabraGN9100.aspx?tab=variants#UID=9 [jabra.com]

    If you have money to absolutely blow, there are some Aviation headsets that have built in Bluetooth. The Lightspeed Zulu comes to mind.

    But it's complete overkill for what you're attempting to accomplish. A dual-ear Jabra GN series would work fine in all but the most noisy environme

  • The Lightspeed Zulu [lightspeedaviation.com] is a headset designed for airplane and helicopter pilots, but has a bluetooth interface. It has active noise cancellation that's much stronger than that of the Bose QC series, and it also has a music input if you want to pump in an iPod. I've used the Zulu's in a helicopter sitting on the edge with the door removed doing aerial photography, and when calling someone else they couldn't tell I wasn't sitting in a quiet office. Truly unbelievable. They're about $850 though.

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