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Understanding DECT wireless broadcast tech

Posted: 05 Dec 2011     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:DECT  ultra low power wireless device  SmartPulse 

In September, Dialog Semiconductor announced that it was releasing the world's first DECT ultra low power wireless devices. Many think this is an intriguing new approach to the low power market for products such as home automation, healthcare, security, energy monitoring, and other consumer applications. I asked Jos van der Loop, product marketing manager, Dialog Semiconductor, if he was willing to answer a few follow up questions about DECT, and he was kind enough to sit down with RF&Microwave Designline to respond....

RF&Microwave Designline: What is DECT? How is it different from other wireless technologies?
van der Loop: DECT is a wireless broadcast technology that transmits small packet data in 1880-1900MHz band. It has a data rate of 1.152Mb/s, range of approximately 300m (50m indoors) and is automatically configurable, making it ideal for in home applications.

It uses a 1 base station to many portable units organisation, and the technology has typically been used for cordless phones. A new, low-power variant, DECT ULE, was announced earlier this year, which enables it to be used for battery-powered applications such as smoke alarms, appliance control, door lock actuators, etc.

The key benefits of DECT relate to:

1) Low interference—portable units continually select an interference-free channel. Also, being based on 1900MHz, it isn't affected by the home's Wi-Fi/ Zigbee/ Bluetooth networks or the microwave, which all emit at 2.4GHz.

2) Easy networking with star (base station to many portable units), mesh (base station to base station), and tree (multi base station to many portable units) networks possible.

3) Integration levels, with voice, data and repairer functions possible on the same hardware.

RF&Microwave Designline: What is the history of DECT?
van der Loop:
DECT was originally developed by Ericsson for a multi basestation (cell) enterprise network that has hand-over and roaming on the handset. The technology was standardised for residential use by ETSI in Europe and then by the FCC in the US.

RF&Microwave Designline: When did you/ your company get involved with the technology?
van der Loop:
Dialog's expertise comes from the 2011 acquisition of Sitel, which I worked for. Sitel (and I) has approximately 20 years' experience in this sector, and we created the first DECT telephone in 1992.

RF&Microwave Designline: What is the biggest misconception about DECT? (i.e. what do you wish people knew about it?)
van der Loop:
Many people only think of DECT for voice communication, which is wrong. DECT has been installed throughout the world and proven to be easy to install and use in a licensed, interference-free band with coverage range of more than 300m.

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