Digital Enhanced Cordless Telecommunications, usually known by the acronym DECT, is a digital communication standard, which is primarily used for creating cordless phone systems. It originated in Europe, where it is the universal standard, replacing earlier cordless phone standards, such as 900 MHz CT1 and CT2.
Beyond Europe, it has been adopted by Australia, and most countries in Asia and South America. North American adoption was delayed by United States radio frequency regulations. This forced development of a variation of DECT, called DECT 6.0, using a slightly different frequency range; the technology is nearly identical, but the frequency difference makes the technology inoperable with other compatible systems in other areas, even from the same manufacturer. DECT has almost universally replaced other standards in most countries where it is used, with the exception of North America.
DECT is used primarily in home and small office systems, but is also available in many PBX systems for medium and large businesses. DECT can also be used for purposes other than cordless phones. Voice applications, such as baby monitors, are becoming common. Data applications also exist, but have been eclipsed by Wi-Fi. 3G cellular also competes with both DECT and Wi-Fi for both voice and data.
DECT handsets and bases from different manufacturers typically work together at the most basic level of functionality: making and receiving calls. The DECT standard includes a standardized interoperability profile for simple telephone capabilities, called GAP, which most manufacturers implement. The standard also contains several other interoperability profiles, for data and for radio local-loop services.
- Domestic cordless telephony, using a single base station to connect one or more handsets to the public telecoms network.
- Enterprise premises cordless PABXs and wireless LANs, using many base stations for coverage. Calls continue as users move between different coverage cells, through a mechanism called handover. Calls can be both within the system and to the public telecoms network.
- Public access, using large numbers of base stations to provide high capacity building or urban area coverage as part of a public telecoms network.
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