Snom Brings VoIP DECT Phone To U.S.


DECT, short for digital enhanced cordless telecommunications, has been widely used in Europe, but has yet to take firm hold stateside as an alternative to IP voice over Wi-Fi. Snom joins the ranks of others like Polycom, Nortel, Avaya and Aastra that have brought DECT-based devices to North America.

Snom's latest DECT handset, the M3, is now shipping in North America through Snom channel partners and distributors. The handset, designed for home offices, SMBs and enterprises, is designed for on-site mobile workers in industries like retail, manufacturing and health care.

DECT technology can be deployed as a multi-cell solution for handover between access points. It differs from Wi-Fi in that it's designed specifically for voice, where Wi-Fi is designed primarily for data. Voice over Wi-Fi requires software applications for inter-cell handover and offers minimal power management which can result in lower talk and standby times. DECT, however, has native support for inter-cell handover and power management; offers a larger range than a typically Wi-Fi access point; and uses the 1.9 GHz frequency, cutting down on the interference of Voice over Wi-Fi, which uses the crowded 2.4 GHz frequency.

According to Mike Storella, director of business development for Snom North America, the M3 features a 128 by 128 pixel backlit display with more than 65,000 colors. The lithium ion battery pack offers 10 hours of talk or 100 hours of standby and the device has a range of 164 feet indoors and 328 feet outdoors.

Sponsored post

The M3 also offers 12 numerical keys, five navigation keys and two function keys; speakerphone on the mobile handset; automatic handset registration; and a separate charging cradle for the handset.

Storella added that eight M3 handsets can be used per base station and each base station can support three concurrent calls. Additionally, the M3 supports three-way conferencing, remote setup and password protection and eight SIP registrations with different servicers or registrars.

Along with bringing the M3 to North America, Snom on Monday also announced that the Snom DECT Repeater will be available here in June. The Repeater compliments the DECT base station and features plug and play activation and two internal antennas for inter-cell handoffs between the base station and Repeater. Each DECT base station can scale to support up to six repeaters at one time. The DECT Repeater can extend the range of the M3 to 328 feet inside and 656 feet outside.

Storella said the M3, which is based on SIP, can be offered by VARs to compliment their VoIP solutions, since they interoperate with most IP PBXs. Also, DECT phones can be upgraded with firmware, meaning they don't have to be replaced frequently.

Along with boosting productivity by letting workers be untethered, Storella said DECT can be a strong alternative to Voice over Wi-Fi since because it doesn't compete for the wireless bandwidth and offers a longer battery life.

Storella said that while DECT has yet to really catch on in North America, it's getting near prime time.

"It really seems like its time is ripe right now," he said, adding that DECT initially will play a big role in SMBs and small branch or department deployments before it makes a play enterprise-wide. "I don't know why it hasn't caught on."