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An overview of DECT, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi for professional business communications

  • created by Dirk Kelbch, Head of Smart Systems at Gigaset
  • News Gigaset pro
  • international news

DECT, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi: sometimes it’s hard not to lose sight of the big picture when you are looking for the best technology to support business communications solutions – including handsets or headsets – in the office or at home. Good news: in general every technology serves another purpose. But what exactly are the differences between DECT, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi? What are the advantages and disadvantages for organizations and end users? An overview of three well-known technologies and their optimal deployment for professional communication.

DECT for flexible, qualitative voice-centric communication 

As one of the leading wireless digital voice technologies, Digital European Cordless Telecommunications (DECT) has established a strong base as the technology behind communications solutions within the business market. The digital, encrypted radio technology has its own bandwidth in the frequency range of 1.8 – 1.9 GHz. This frequency range is specially reserved for DECT technology. When using it, DECT devices have to check the channel first before transmitting. The result is less disruption on the channel and better conversation quality. 

DECT technology is especially interesting for in-house use. The transmission is very powerful and can cover relatively large distances – also between different rooms and floors. This makes DECT an interesting technology for businesses and end users looking for flexibility and freedom of movement – for example if they want to use DECT handsets for their professional communication. However, to create a DECT network they will need at least a base station and possibly also DECT repeaters. For larger installations multicell base station solutions are preferred. In other words, it demands investment in a new infrastructure. 

Bluetooth for personal area communication

Contrary to DECT, Bluetooth technology doesn’t have its own bandwidth but uses the 2.45 GHz band together with other protocols. This means that there might be more disruption because of interference with other protocols that use the band as well. New features like Adaptive Frequency Hopping attempt to prevent this. 

This fact makes Bluetooth less appropriate for communication between rooms or floors, but in fact it’s perfectly suitable for personal area communication. Think about headsets connected to a smartphone or desktop telephone on someone’s desk. Although it also depends on the signal level, in general there are no disruption problems for Bluetooth as long as the connected devices are within close range of each other. So if mobility within the network range and flexibility is less of an issue, Bluetooth is a perfect solution for end users. 

Wi-Fi for telephony and data integration

In general, Wi-Fi makes use of the 2.4 GHz and 5.8 GHz radio bands. One of the most important advantages of Wi-Fi is that it’s relatively cheap, because almost every office and every home has a Wi-Fi network nowadays. This way, end users and businesses benefit from a single infrastructure to support both wireless telephony and data, which often means a better return on investment for hardware, and less long-term operational and maintenance costs. In addition, more and more applications are working via data communication, which means that Wi-Fi communications solutions are better able to fit into the existing IT network. 

However, in the end Wi-Fi is still designed for data communication instead of voice. Therefore, one of the disadvantages of the technology is less audio and voice quality when it comes to communications solutions. This has everything to do with the possible transmission and coding delays of Wi-Fi, which can result in noticeable audio delay for the end user. In fact, if the delay is more than 90 milliseconds, the audio quality gets worse, with a maximum of 220 milliseconds before it’s a matter of real disruption. In short, when it comes to audio and voice quality DECT seems to be a better choice. Because DECT technology makes use of specific coding, specially developed to ensure less latency, the delay is relatively short with around 10 milliseconds.

DECT, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi all have their advantages and disadvantages. The most important thing is that we understand is that every technology is developed for a different type of application, and we need to use it the way it was meant. At Gigaset, we believe in a world where end users and businesses shouldn’t have to worry about any technology, because everything just works the way it should. Whether it’s DECT, Bluetooth or Wi-Fi – it’s the only way to offer people the best-in-class professional communications solutions. 

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