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DECT vs WIFI

DECT vs WIFI

There are two wireless technologies competing in the business voip communications market. As a Hosted PBX Provider, Monmouth Telecom has had the opportunity to test and deploy both of these technologies for various types of businesses. Our experience has uncovered some pretty surprising facts about wireless voip communications. Here is Monmouth Telecom's analysis of DECT vs WIFI.

What is DECT?

Digital Enhanced Cordless Telecommunications

DECT

This is the primary technology that powers the world's cordless phones and baby monitors. It is a mature technology being used all over the world for wireless voice communications. The specification was developed in Europe around 1990 and is very stable.

What is WIFI?

802.11a/b/g/n

WIFI

This is the primary technology connecting our laptops, smartphones, and tablets to the internet. This technology has become common place in our homes and offices from the early 2000's.

Summary of DECT vs WIFI

Spoiler Alert! Before you get all bogged down by disadvantages and advantages of each technology there is an elephant in the room that needs to be addressed. WIFI almost works for voice. That's right, you read that correctly, almost works. If you need wireless phone calls that always work, WIFI is not for you. Sure, you can certainly set up some voip devices on your wifi network, and you can make a phone call, and maybe it will even sound great. The problem is that some portion of your calls will have audio problems. Some portion of your calls, will go unanswered and will be dropped. Its simply because the QOS standards in WIFI aren't established and widely adopted yet. I will cover this more below. OK now for the Pro's and Con's in details.

Advantages of DECT

DECT was designed for Voice. It operates on its own isolated frequency from anything else, guaranteeing that the Voice is never competing for resources with a lower priority communication. DECT has been used for Voice for over 20 years. DECT works reliably.

Advantages of WIFI

WIFI is inexpensive. You probably already have a wifi network, so buying a wifi voip phone is your only expense. You can even simply download a soft-phone app on your smartphone for free and start making VoIP calls on your wireless lan. WIFI is less maintenance. You have to maintain a wireless network whether you use it for voice or not.

Disadvantages of DECT

DECT isn't free. You have to buy a base station and possibly repeaters. DECT operates on its own wireless network and there are infrastructure costs associated with it.

Disadvantages of WIFI

WIFI doesn't always work! WIFI wasn't designed for voice. It is a packet based technology designed for data communications. WIFI hasn't established QOS standards. For VoIP to work, the Voice needs to be prioritized. This is called QOS or quality of service. When a network component sees two pieces of data competing, one for youtube and one for you phone call, it needs to know to prioritize your phone call. Without QOS you end up with gaps in the audio, distortion, and dropped calls.

Final Analysis of DECT vs WIFI

WIFI clearly has advantages, and one day when the WIFI QOS standards are mature it will be a great and inexpensive medium for wireless communications. Unfortunately we are not there yet. In today's marketplace, if you want a wireless voice technology that actually works in your office, DECT is your only choice. Luckily there plenty of vendors manufacturing DECT phones, including Polycom and Snom. Check out our favorites in our office voip phones page.

Comments

Some Vendors ( Juniper, Avaya, ect) already support QoS in Wireless Lan. Please provide other reasons to choose DECT instead of WIFI.

Ken Leland III's picture

Reiner, some vendors do support QoS in Wireless Lan. however due to the lack of widespread acceptance and adoption, these solutions are both expensive and lacking in interoperability. For example cisco sells aironet access points which support an experiemental version of QoS in a Wireless Lan, but these are very expensive and are not supported by all wifi phones. We have tested these access points but at the current price point this has not been a technology that our customers have been interested in. Reliability and Cost Effectiveness are very important to our customers and for that reason we recommend the DECT solutions over the wifi solutions. DECT solutions are much more reliable and tested, and at a much more attractive price point.

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Monmouth Telecom

Founded as an Internet Service Provider in NJ in 1995, Monmouth Telecom has grown to offer a complete set of innovative and economical Business VoIP Phone Services and Business Internet Services.  We were NJ's first Internet Service Provider turned Telephone Company in 2000 and in 2006 we began providing businesses with increased functionality using VoIP. Learn more about Who We Are and how Hosted PBX / Virtual PBX is changing the face of business telephone service.

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