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DECTweb aims to bring you occasional timely feature articles from well known names in the cordless telecommunications industry.   If you feel you would be a suitable contributor and would like to offer an article for consideration please e-mail us with your biographical details and an outline for the proposed feature. 

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Use of DECT for Distribution of 
Residential Voice over Broadband Services

by Julian Hall, Tality 

Voice telephony services are set to become an important application for broadband in the residential market.  The ability to deliver multiple derived telephone lines to the home over the broadband access network has the potential to give service providers a new source of revenue from increased call charges and line rental.  It is now recognised that high-speed Internet access alone is not an attractive enough proposition for mass adoption of broadband.   Providing a bundle of services that includes Internet, telephony and digital TV offers consumers a much more compelling reason for parting with their monthly subscription fee.

Derived telephone lines are digitally multiplexed over the broadband access network and de-multiplexed and distributed within the customer premises.  At the exchange end, the lines are connected to the PSTN via a voice gateway, providing users with a telephony service that is indistinguishable from a conventionally delivered service.  Provision of additional lines is highly economical as no engineer visit to the customer premises is required and existing network infrastructure is reused.

To be truly attractive to consumers, a mechanism for distributing lines in the home is required.  Simply presenting multiple telephone sockets at the Integrated Access Device (IAD) or residential gateway is far from ideal, as consumers will resist installing yet more telephone wiring.  An external DECT base station with one or two analogue line interfaces offers a partial solution but fails to exploit fully the potential of a multi-line service. 

Wired home distribution of multiple lines

By integrating the DECT base station functionality into the IAD, the constraints imposed by the analogue line interfaces are lifted.  Such an approach offers a number of benefits:

  • Wireless access to all lines is possible without the artificial limit imposed by an external base station.

  • The solution scales well for a variable number of lines.

  • As with ISDN, a fully digital service is delivered to the terminal device.

  • The signalling capabilities of DECT can be more tightly integrated with the telephony service.

Wireless home distribution of multiple lines

A precedent for combining the digital network termination with a DECT base station has already been set with ISDN.  Combining DECT with the broadband access device is the natural next step.  Service providers and broadband equipment manufacturers both stand to benefit from the adoption of DECT for service delivery.  In the competitive broadband market, a wireless home distribution solution will be a clear differentiator for voice over broadband services.

DECT is well positioned to be the standard mechanism for distributing multiple derived lines in the home.  As the uptake of broadband increases, so will the number of multi-line homes, creating opportunities for DECT equipment manufacturers, particularly in the supply of additional handsets.  The current trend of supplying a base station paired with a handset will finally be broken.  Consumers will expect to be able to purchase additional handsets, chosen on the basis of features, aesthetics or price, and for handsets to successfully interoperate with their broadband access device.  The challenge for equipment manufacturers will be to meet the consumerís needs and expectations.


Julian Hall is the technical leader of the residential gateways group at Tality in Cambridge.  Tality provide design services and intellectual property for DECT, wireless networking and broadband.



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