ETSI has an M2M DECT standard - expects to lead the market

May 15, 2013

ETSI originally secured Europe-wide spectrum for its DECT (Digital Enhanced Cordless Telecommunications) phone standard which was subsequently picked up around the world - almost everywhere except the US in fact. It still has the spectrum and the cordless phone market, but is keen to stay relevant by augmenting the home phone hub with M2M capabilities - hence the new low power standard.

ETSI claims ULE is ideal for the home M2M market since it combines ultra low power consumption with QoS, so might find favour over other candidates for assisted living and telecare applications, says ETSI, along with security and safety (smoke sensing and so on), as well as the usual smart metering.

ETSI says ULE is a multi-part specification: the first phase is focussing on the Home Automation Network (HAN) but ongoing work will extend its application to industrial automation. The technology will be fully compatible with existing DECT systems and will use the existing DECT spectrum

The killer factor for DECT, says ETSI, is its "instantaneous dynamic channel selection" combined with seamless handover. With DECT the quality of a link is permanently monitored and, if necessary, the transmission is switched to a better channel without interrupting the media stream. This was the QoS factor that saw DECT win out against alternatives when it came to finding a digital standard for cordless telephones and the organisation hopes the same will be true again for 'critical' M2M applications in healthcare, especially, where delay, judder and dropped data are to be avoided (as they were in telephony).

On the critical power consumption side, ETSi says standby time can be increased up to 10 years on monitoring devices, a measure Neul is also promising for the Weightless standard.

Is DECT a viable wireless network candidate for M2M? The story all makes sense and the existing user base in the home will certainly help its case. The only missing element here is the ecosystem-building aspect. Unit cost is incredibly important for budding IoT participants and for that reason modern initiatives often tend to start with the enabling silicon rather than a standards specification. We shall see.

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