When it comes to purchasing a wireless headset for your small business team, you immediately may think of Bluetooth. It’s the global wireless communication standard that connects devices together over short distances. Plantronics Bluetooth headsets let you connect to PCs, smartphones and tablets to make and receive calls as well as participate in video conferencing and listen to your favorite tunes.

But Bluetooth isn’t the only standard that connects headsets to mobile and other devices. Many headsets, including Plantronics, are based on the Digital Enhanced Cordless Telecommunications (DECT) standard. Originally used to connect cordless phones (handsets) to a base station, DECT nowadays also is used to establish a wireless communication link between a headset and desk phone, mobile phone or computer to make and receive calls.

DECT versus Bluetooth

Range is one of the differences between the two standards. Bluetooth typically has a much shorter range than DECT. Whereas Bluetooth’s effective reach in an unobstructed outdoor setting ends at about 30 feet; DECT potentially supports clear voice communication over approximately 350 feet enabling users to work where they want, when they want and how they want. The newer Class 1 Bluetooth standard can offer up to 328 feet of range provided both ends are Class 1 Bluetooth, however.

Since it does not share spectrum with other wireless technologies, DECT technology also often is referred to as being “interference free.”  DECT operates at the 1.9 GHz frequency band unlike WiFi and Bluetooth devices, which use the same 2.4 GHz radio frequency (WiFi also operates in the 5GHz band) to communicate. As a result, Bluetooth and WiFi can interfere with each other and with other proprietary devices that operate on the same frequency.

Security is one of the many other strong points of DECT technology.  DECT uses a layered system, which includes subscription, encryption and authentication, to ensure a very high level of protection against eavesdropping. Certain industries, such as healthcare and finance, require DECT-based wireless communications to help ensure maximum security and confidentiality.

Plantronics meets the call for enhanced DECT security

When it comes to advanced security, Plantronics DECT wireless solutions are the industry’s first and only headsets that meet the enhanced security standards of the DECT Forum Security Certificate, which are designed to reduce the risk of eavesdropping. Plantronics DECT headsets provide:

Subscription verification: Base and remote devices are paired to one another so they can easily identify their correct base or headset. A secret authentication key is calculated using the DECT Standard Authentication Algorithm (DSAA). Definition of this algorithm in full is only made available to equipment manufacturers. The length of time that devices are in subscription is limited for additional security.

Authentication: Both ends check that the appropriate authentication key is used and calculate cipher keys (used to encrypt the data sent over the air) using the DECT Standard Cipher (DSC). The definition of this algorithm is made available only to the equipment manufacturers.

Encryption: The 64-bit cipher key is used to digitally encrypt the voice data being transmitted over the air link. At the receiving end, the key calculated in the authentication stage is used to decrypt the data.

Dynamic channel agility: As part of the DECT protocol, devices will dynamically move to new channels in response to interference. Because the timing and destination of this hop is unpredictable, it adds a layer of security to the transmission.

Dynamic power control: The Plantronics Savi® family and CS500 Series of DECT products makes use of adaptive power control, lowering the radio frequency power levels required to communicate when the user is close to the base, as is typical. Potential cyber attackers would have to be within this range, or use high-gain directional antennas to attempt eavesdropping, limiting such a potential.

To learn more about Plantronics DECT Security Certified Products, download Plantronics white paper.