Cordless Phones to Get VoIP

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HONG KONG -- Consumers who know nothing about new Internet telephone technologies but don't want to miss out on the action could be interested in this development: Manufacturers of cordless digital telephones plan to add IP capability to a new generation of home communication and entertainment devices.

Suppliers of DECT phones (Digital Enhanced Cordless Telecommunication), represented through their industry association the DECT Forum, have agreed to build new phones that can easily connect to broadband IP networks and offer services such as Voice over IP, Web-based phone directories, and audio streaming, the association said today at the Telecom World conference and exhibition in Hong Kong.

The DECT Forum will be in charge of certifying the new generation of phones, called CAT-iq, which stands for Cordless Advanced Technology-internet and quality.

VoIP First, Then Audio Streaming

Although the phones are IP-enabled, they are not designed for Web surfing, according to DECT Forum Chairman Erich Kamperschroer. "You'll continue using your PC for surfing, but in the future, instead of booting up your computer to check an online phone directory or listen to Internet radio, you'll use your CAT-iq phone instead," he said.

The first line of products, expected in the third quarter of 2007, will provide VoIP capability. By mid-2008, manufacturers intend to add audio streaming, with additional features planned through the end of the decade.

The European Telecommunications Standards Institute is expected to approve a new release of the CAT-iq standard early next year, according to Kamperschroer.

The CAT-iq work group has also cooperated with the Home Gateway Initiative to ensure interoperability between phones and residential gateways.

The new IP-enabled phones will use the same frequency band already allocated to DECT and have the same range of around 300 meters.

Telecom World, which is organized by the International Telecommunication Union, a United Nations agency, runs through Friday.

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