While some vendors promote Wi-Fi handsets for in-building phone calls, others are integrating DECT cordless phones into Internet gateways, for more practical voice support.
At least three vendors - Zyxel, AVM and Siemens - have now built DECT base stations into gateways that connect to broadband and support VoIP. For years, Wi-Fi VoIP promoters have predicted the death of DECT. but Wi-Fi handsets have so far been bulky, expensive and battery hungry. DECT gives better range and battery life, and the handsets are cheap.
Zyxel has combined its DECT play with backing for Wi-Fi VoIP. The P2302 HWVDL, an Ethernet-connected version of its P2602 gateway, supports six DECT handsets, as well as two SIP ports for wired phones. The box - which we saw at the VoIP for Business show in London, also has two USB 2.0 ports, to connect a shared printer and storage.
Zyxel has also brought out the X6004, a small business IP PBX, that supports up to 32 lines, and can be stacked five high to support 128 lines, along with a dual-mode Wi-Fi/ GSM handset, that runs Windows Mobile 5.0. The V660 phone, which will cost about £200 is intended as an office extension that can be used as a mobile phone in other locations, on a SIM from any mobile provider
AVM, meanwhile has built a similar DECT base station supporting six standard handsets, into the Fritz! Box Fon WLAN 7270 - and added support for the Draft-N fast Wi-Fi specification to the box, the next version of its Wi-Fi Voip broadband gateway (see our review of the Fritz! Box 7140), which it showed at the CeBit show last week. The Fritz! Box 7270 also includes ADSL 2+ and USB 2.0 support for printers and shared storage.
It's no surprise to find that Siemens, a vendor with a lot of DECT experience, will have a version of its Gigaset SX that includes DECT, along with ADSL 2+ and the usual WLAN, phone and LAN port options, later this year. The company talked about this product at the VoIP for Business show, where it also showed the SL965, an encrypteing DECT phone.