Difference Between Similar Terms and Objects

Difference Between Tone Dialing and Pulse Dialing

Tone Dialing vs Pulse Dialing

Tone and pulse dialing are two ways of communicating with the central telephone relay to indicate the telephone number that you wish to call. Pulse dialing indicates each digit in the phone number by a series of clicks that corresponds only to that digit. It would then need a short pause in order to clearly identify one digit from the next. Tone dialing, also called as Dual Tone Multi Frequency, uses different tones to indicate a different number. Instead of sending multiple signals for each digit, it would only need to send one for each.

For most cases, the most discriminating part between phone sets that use pulse or tone dialing is the mechanism used to dial the number. Tone dialing handsets use a numeric keypad where you simply push each digit. Although there are some versions of pulse dialing phones with numeric keypads, the most prevalent models were those equipped with rotary dials. This difference between the two has huge implications with the ease of use. Dialing a number with a rotary dial takes a lot longer since you would need to wait for the dial to return in its resting position before you can dial the next digit. This is not an issue with tone dialing phones; you can dial as quickly as you can or want without causing any problem.

Due to the advantages of tone dialing, it has now become the standard for telephone companies all over the world. You would be hard pressed to find an area that still uses pulse dialing. Despite this, most telephone systems that uses tone dialing are also able to recognize and work with pulse dialing. Some handsets are also manufactured to support both pulse and tone dialing. In these handsets, you can often find a toggle underneath the base with the letters P and T. This has all been done to ensure the backwards compatibility of the system and the handsets that work with them.


1. Tone dialing uses specific tones to indicate the number that was entered while pulse dialing uses a number of signal pulses

2. All tone dialing phones have numeric keypads while most pulse dialing phones have rotary dials

3. Tone dialing is very quick and easy to use while pulse dialing can take a long time

4. Tone dialing is the prevailing method right now while pulse dialing is already obsolete

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  1. I am satisfy wit d difference given.

  2. I know a couple of people who still use rotary dial phones, and am surprised that they still work. Despite the minute or so extra time needed to dial, the phones seem to be much sturdier and of better quality than the newer ones. I have also been told that they are less susceptible to damage from power surges.

  3. Amaize

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