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What Is DECT?

By Alex Newth
Updated May 17, 2024
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Digital enhanced cordless telecommunications (DECT) is a frequency used by many cordless phones. It also is commonly known as the digital European cordless telecommunications standard, because it started in Europe. After being universally accepted in Europe, DECT was adopted by Australia, Asia, South America and, finally, the United States. This technology improves on older, analog cordless phones by making phones less susceptible to interference, more secure and allowing more phones to be in one area. Along with phones, products such as baby monitors use this frequency, though it is not used for mobile phones, because the frequency only works in small areas.

When cordless phones were first invented, they used an analog signal to transmit audio. While this signal can be utilized, it creates scratchy audio that can be difficult to decipher. This analog signal was turned into a digital one, creating the DECT signal. With the digital signal, phone conversations become clearer. There also were several other benefits to moving from analog to digital.

Conversations were less susceptible to interference, so the phone itself did not emit interference and could be around Internet sources without the phone or Internet connection messing up. More phones also could be in one area without the phones degrading signal transmission. It also became more difficult to listen in on conversations, so security improved.

Business received another benefit: increased flexibility. Most businesses have several phones, known as base stations, where a cordless phone would be plugged in. If the user is moving around and goes outside the range of its base station, then the phone would normally cut off. With DECT, the phone automatically configures to the next base station, allowing the user to move around the entire area without interference or a dropped call.

DECT is not a signal made for mobile phones. The frequency is designed for smaller areas, making it better suited for home and business use, rather than on-the-go use. The closest this frequency gets to mobile use is voice devices, such as baby monitors. It also has the ability to transfer data, such as files but, since other frequencies do this better, DECT is rarely the choice for data.

While DECT phones are made to work primarily inside and with their own frequency, they also can work with other frequencies. The largest proponent of this is the global system for mobile communication (GSM) signal. By combining the two, cordless phones are able to work on a limited basis outside as well as inside.

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