Difference Between Tone Dialing and Pulse Dialing

Both Tone Dialing and Pulse Dialing are mediums of communications where prime telephone relay to register the extension phone number that you want to communicate to. But because of the similarities they have, many consider them to be the same, even use their names interchangeably. But if one pays proper attention while analyzing the differences and characteristics, then they will be able to understand that they have vast differences.

Tone Dialing vs Pulse Dialing

The main difference between Tone Dialing and Pulse Dialing is that the first still manages to be the most common and universal medium of dial communication, whereas the latter has become an out-of-date method. Moreover, Tone dialing is known for the use of numeric style, whereas the latter one used Rotary Design.

Tone Dialing vs Pulse Dialing

Tone dialing, also sometimes referred to as Dual-Tone Multi-Frequency, is described as one of the two processes through which the telephone communicates and interfaces with the primary or the basic telephone and relay to define the receiving number that the caller wishes to communicate with. Tone Dialing shows various numbers dialed or pressed by the caller via applying distinct colorative tones.

Pulse dialling is referred to as a traditional method of connection with the basic telephone that helps in transferring the call to a particular extension telephonic number that the caller wants to communicate with. The digits of the telephone number which the caller wants or needs to call are symbolized by a group of clicks that epistolize with that particular digit.

Comparison Table Between Tone Dialing and Pulse Dialing

Parameters of ComparisonTone DialingPulse Dialing
ComplexitySimpleAbit Complicated
Time TakenExtremely swift.It can take a lot of time as it is a lengthy process.
KeypadsNumeric StyleRotary Design
FeaturesUtilizes distinct and particular tones to symbolize the number that has being Dialed or Entered.Handles several signal pulsations.
UsageA popular, universal, and ubiquitous system right now.Previously out-of-date.

What is Tone Dialing?

Tone dialing is sometimes also referred to as Dual-Tone Multi-Frequency. It is one of the two processes by which the phone will be able to communicate with the primary telephone and will help in relaying to a specific telephone number that the caller is requesting to communicate to. It shows the various numbers dialed by the dialer by applying contrasting tones. One well-known characteristic of tone dialing is that it transfers only one single signal for an individual number that is touched rather than transmitting multiple signals.

To initiate the dialing method remarkably comfortable and available for telephone users, the tone dialing telephones are manufactured with numeric keypads inbuilt in them. Having the numbers on the telephone helps in making it manageable and simple to dial a number instantly without suffering or creating any difficulty.

The dialing method has become so easy and convenient that even kids face no difficulty in using the tone dialing telephone and by calling their parents just by dialing the phone number of their parents, or their beloved relative, or even their friends whenever they feel like or want to talk to them. The comfort of convenience and plainness included in tone dialing have helped in making the telephone businesses and corporations across the world anchor it as an example.

What is Pulse Dialing?

Pulse dialing is known to be a traditional method of communication with the primary or the basic central telephone that helps in transmitting to a specific telephonic number that the caller expects to get connected with. The number of the telephone number to which the caller wants to connect to is shown via a range of snaps that resemble one specific digit. Recognizing one number from the following uses up a bit of extra time that makes this method take up a longer time than the others when compared.

The device utilized to dial the telephone number while using the pulse dialing has its foundation on turning and rotation of the dial, which, as previously mentioned, is again is a long method. This is because the caller will have to wait for a while for the dial to revert to its initial status before turning it over again for entering the following digit.

The difficulty and problems concerned with this method have made this method become an antiquated method of telephone dialing. There are only a handful number of companies that are left in the whole world who still use it and even fewer companies who manufacture Pulse dialing nowadays.

Main Differences Between Tone Dialing and Pulse Dialing

  1. Tone dialing is a very simplistic process, whereas Pulse Dialing involves a few complicated complexities.
  2. The Tone Dialing takes very little time and is extremely swift, whereas Pulse Dialing can be a very lengthy process.
  3. The Keypads of Tone Dialing are of Numeric Style, but in the case of Pulse Dialing, the keypads have a Rotary Design.
  4. One of the main and distinct features of Tone Dialing is that it has distinct and particular tones to symbolize the number that has being Dialed, whereas, in the matter of Pulse Dialing, the distinctive feature is that it Handles several signals pulsations.
  5. Tone Dialing is an extremely popular, universal, and remarkably common system right now across the globe, but Pulse Dialing has previously become an out-of-date dialing method.
Difference Between Tone Dialing and Pulse Dialing


Though having a lot of differences and similarities and differences, both Tone Dialing and Pulse Dialing have a fair share of features and distinctions to complement on. Tone Dialing is still one of the most common and universal methods of dialing communication, whereas Pulse Dialing has a distinctive feature, that is, it Handles several signal pulsations. 

Another notable feature difference amongst these two is that the first one is known to have a numeric style keypad, whereas the latter used to have Rotary Design. Furthermore, Tone Dialing is an extremely simple process, and it takes very little time for one to learn and use, but in the case of Pulse Dialing, it is a little complicated process and hence takes a bit extra time to learn and use the process.


  1. https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/abstract/document/1050884/
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