Activity report 2018-2019

Technical Committee (TC) Digital Enhanced Cordless Telecommunications (DECTTM)

Chairman: Günter Kleindl, OVE

Responsible for the development and maintenance of standards for Digital Enhanced Cordless Telecommunications (DECT).

ETSI’s Digital Enhanced Cordless Telecommunications (DECT) specification is the leading standard around the world for digital cordless telecommunications. Over 1 billion devices have been installed worldwide: the system has been adopted in over 110 countries and more than 100 million new devices are sold every year. The number one cordless system in Europe and the USA, DECT products now account for more than 90% of the world’s cordless market. They are also sold in Japan, where a legislative change has provided more spectrum for license-exempt operation.

DECT is now being enhanced to include Ultra Low Energy (ULE) – the new networking technology for residential and building applications driven primarily by low power requirements for battery-operated devices. With around 80% of data traffic generated by indoor systems, low-latency DECT ULE systems have the potential to be key contributors to the success of 5G and the Internet of Things – both in smart homes and in a range of vertical markets.

DECT ULE enjoys all the advantages of the DECT spectrum and technology as well as adhering to the technical parameters for the Internet of Things. As well as low power consumption, DECT ULE offers good Quality of Service (a unique feature compared with other low power wireless standards) and wider coverage than competing technologies. Although specifically designed for optimal coverage of homes and industrial premises, it can also be used in Personal Area Networks due to its low power consumption.

DECT ULE is not a minor adaptation of DECT but has been developed specifically for Machine-to-Machine communications. DECT ULE reuses the DECT physical layer, DECT spectrum and DECT channel structure, but there are significant differences in the MAC layer, security algorithms and channel selection. DECT ULE operates over license-exempt ‘high-quality’ spectrum (1 880 - 1 900 MHz) which provides a more reliable service than the industrial, scientific, and medical (ISM) radio band. 

The target applications of DECT ULE in the first phase of its development were smart home and smart living applications such as home automation and energy control, remote switches, the control of smart appliances, smart metering and temperature controls, security, alarms and eHealth applications.

Our DECT Technical Committee meanwhile maintains its focus on two main work areas, DECT evolution and DECT-2020, which will both support home automation, industrial automation, the creative and culture industry (e.g. audio production), eHealth and conferencing.

DECT evolution is the shorter-term activity. It aims to provide a lower end-to-end latency, higher data rates and higher reliability based on the current DECT physical layer.

The longer-term activity, DECT-2020, is a new radio interface supporting Ultra Reliable Low Latency Communications (URLLC) and Machine Type Communications (MTC) as specified for International Mobile Telecommunications-2020 (IMT-2020) usage scenarios. The new DECT-2020 air interface will co-exist with the existing DECT system. Thus the time frame of 10 ms is maintained, with the possibility to add shorter sub-frames for low latency operation. For additional robustness in multi-path scenarios OFDM combined with FDMA/TDMA channel access is used. The basic carrier spacing of 1 728 kHz has been retained. Up to 16 contiguous basic channels can be allocated supporting a transmission bandwidth of up to about 28 MHz. The data-rate is scalable up to about 1 Gbit/s when MIMO is used. The selected parameters provide coexistence of DECT-2020 with legacy DECT. 

In 2018 our DECT Technical Committee made significant inputs to a DECT-5G Industry White Paper published by the DECT Forum, the international association of the wireless home and enterprise communication industry. Making use of license exempt radio spectrum, DECT-5G will seamlessly interface with 3GPP 5G systems in a complementary role. The paper discusses the potential of DECT-5G as a Radio Interface Technology to address specific needs of various vertical markets including industrial, media/entertainment, smart home and healthcare.

In 2018 we also updated the first part of the DECT test specification, covering radio frequency parameters, security elements and DECT protocols facilitating RF tests and efficient use of spectrum.

We issued a new Technical Report evaluating vertical industry use cases for DECT evolution – targeting lower end-to-end latency, higher data rates and higher reliability based on the current DECT physical layer – as well as DECT-2020, a New Radio (NR) interface supporting URLLC and Machine Type Communications (MTC). Also relating to DECT’s longer-term evolution, we published a Technical Report on NR for DECT-2020, focusing on the physical layer. 

A further Technical Report studied technical updates to the DECT standard to enable super wideband (SWB) audio calls in existing DECT slot formats as well as technical improvements to narrowband (NB) and wideband (WB) calls. A new EN defined the DECT Wireless Relay Station (WRS) – an additional building block for DECT fixed networks. We also issued a Technical Specification for DECT in the 1 920 - 1 930 MHz Unlicensed Personal Communications Services (UPCS) frequency band.

Look out for in 2019 – TC DECT work in progress:

  • Revision to Harmonised Standard (EN) on Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC) and Radio spectrum Matters (ERM) for Base Stations, Repeaters and User Equipment for IMT-2000 - 3G networks
  • Revision to EN on Generic Access Profile (GAP), adding audio codec support
  • Technical Report (TR) on interworking framework for DECT and 3GPP
  • TR on DECT-2020 New Radio (NR) Interface – study of self-evaluation towards IMT-2020 submission
  • TR on DECT-2020 radio interface - Stage 2: security architecture
  • Technical Specification (TS) on DECT-2020 – PHY, MAC and DLC layers
  • Revision to EN on audio and speech test specifications for DECT
  • Revision to EN on DECT Common Interface
  • TS on Low Complexity Communication Codec plus (LC3plus); standard for narrowband to fullband low delay audio communication
  • TR on Low Complexity Communication Codec (LC3) – characterization
  • TR on DECT-2020 Technology Roadmap