DECT stands for Digital Enhanced Cordless Telephony which is a digital wireless technology that originated in Europe, but has been adopted increasingly worldwide, for cordless telephones, wireless offices and even wireless telephone lines to the home. DECT is a radio access technology, rather than a comprehensive system architecture; DECT has been designed and specified to work with many other types of network, such as the PSTN (conventional telephone networks), ISDN (new digital and data phone networks), GSM (mobile phone networks) and more.
By late 1987, there were two competing technologies in the wireless telephony market, the UK CT2 and the Swedish CT3. It was decided by ETSI (European Telecommunications Standards Institute) that a new standard was needed, combining the best of both CT2 and CT3, plus further improvements. Consequently, in January 1988 DECT was born.
Panasonic DECT products fall into two main categories. Consumer DECT products are designed for home use, and usually consist of a base station which simply plugs in to the existing telephone wall socket, along with a handset, or a number of handsets. Business DECT products on the other hand, are designed to be used with Panasonic PBX products, usually in a business environment. These products bring the advanced features of PBX systems to wireless handset users, such as voicemail and presence indication.
There is an interoperability profile for DECT, called DECT GAP, which exists to allow two different products from different manufacturers to interoperate for basic functions. The two products must conform to both the DECT standard and the GAP profile within the DECT standard in order for this to work successfully. The acronym GAP stands for Generic Access Profile.