Why the ULE standard should be adopted for residential gateways

Demands on the home network have risen sharply since the beginning of last year. Whether it is equipment for remote working, the latest game console, or smart home products, everything has to work smoothly, especially when the whole household needs to access the home network at the same time. Ulrich Grote, chairman of the ULE Alliance, explains why it is important that the residential gateway supports ULE as well as Wi-Fi.

The Covid-19 pandemic has turned our lives upside down. This applies not least to our working life. Those who can, work from home and are suddenly confronted with a situation that pushes many to their limits. Home schooling, the lack of dedicated work areas, insufficient ICT infrastructure: working from home is a major challenge. This is especially true where landline technology has been completely replaced by mobile devices.

Everyone who has participated in video calls knows first-hand how important it is to have a fast internet connection and stable Wi-Fi. It isn’t enough to be blessed with fast and stable connections at home; everyone else on the call also needs a reliable infrastructure for the virtual meeting to be a success. In addition to fast internet connections, reliable routers that provide a stable Wi-Fi signal throughout the house are a must as there is no doubt that Wi-Fi is the most suitable wireless standard for video calls.

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However, when it comes to phone calls without the transmission of video, DECT radio beats Wi-Fi hands down. After all, there are good reasons why DECT has been the leading standard for cordless telephony in over 110 countries for many decades. The DECT standard’s protected frequency band is simply unique. The protected frequencies prevent interferences with other devices in the house or neighbouring apartments, as it often occurs with Wi-Fi devices. It is not surprising that service providers recorded a significant increase in landline calls last year. Wherever it is possible, people love making calls via the landline when working from home. Interference-free phone calls in HD are making life much easier these days.

When it comes to smart home, ULE is much more reliable than Wi-Fi

The same applies to smart home solutions. Here, the ULE radio standard proves to be much more reliable than Wi-Fi. After all, ULE is based on DECT frequencies and thus enjoys the advantages of the protected frequency band (1880-1900 MHz). While Wi-Fi-based smart home products sometimes do not work reliably when downloads, streams or video calls take place at the same time, ULE-based solutions are simply not affected. This means that it is no problem at all when some family members use the benefits of the smart home while others are depending on a strong and reliable Wi-Fi signal.

The underlying technology also makes ULE the ideal solution for voice control, a key trend in the smart home ecosystem. Communication can take place in both directions: from the user to the system and vice versa. An internet connection is not necessarily needed, and even voice recognition is possible.

What also speaks for ULE is that it is very energy efficient. Thanks to ULE, battery-operated devices work for up to 10 years without the need to change the batteries. That’s good for the environment and saves money. And thanks to the long range of up to 50 metres indoors and 500 metres outdoors, no repeaters have to be used to connect the entire house when using ULE, which helps to keep costs down, too.

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In Germany and France, consumers can use their residential gateway as their smart home hub

In Germany, the majority of all consumers do not even have to invest in a hub for their smart home. With the Speedport and the FRITZ!Box, Deutsche Telekom and the German market leader for broadband devices, AVM, offer residential gateways with integrated DECT technology. Even older models have benefitted from free software updates, adding ULE to the list of supported standards. As ULE is an open standard, some of the smart home components can even be combined easily regardless of the vendor. In France, Orange supports ULE in their devices. With these residential gateways, users can connect their entire house, from the smart home, to the game console, to the office in the basement.

During the pandemic, many consumers have discovered the possibilities residential gateways, which support ULE and DECT, have to offer. Not long ago, some industry leaders predicted that mobile technology and Wi-Fi would basically replace all other standards in our homes. The predictions have now changed, and the question is: how quickly will other countries, providers and manufacturers follow suit and integrate DECT and ULE into their residential gateways? Anyone who appreciates stable connections and the benefits of a protected smart home is looking forward to it.