The ULE Alliance (www.ulealliance.org) will present its new certification-programme for the DECT ULE (ultra low energy) wireless standard at CES in Las Vegas, USA (6-9 January 2015).
The move comes only a year after the introduction of this new ETSI-Standard and is one many vendors have been waiting for, according to the ULE Alliance. It marks an important step forward, as it will enable customers to mix and match smart home products from different brands, as they do with Wi-Fi clients.
ULE is a low cost, short range wireless technology for the Smart Home designed to support applications such as: lighting control, security systems, metering, door phones and intercom systems.
DECT ULE is based on the global ETSI open standard established in 1993 with more than 800 million devices already installed worldwide. It provides full house coverage without repeaters or interference. ULE is said to be easy to install, has high capacity (more than 1,000 nodes can be supported on a single home gateway) and is very much intended for ‘do it yourself’ applications.
Interference free band
The Alliance points out that the 1.9GHz DECT band is only used by DECT technology unlike the multiple technologies that use different packet sizes, frequency slots and distances without a common etiquette in both sub-1GHz bands and the 2.4GHz unlicensed band.
According to a presentation by the DSP Group, a key supporter of DECT ULE and a provider of wireless chipset solutions for converged communications at home, DECT ULE has a range of approximately 70m indoors and 500m outdoors compared with Wi-Fi (250m), Z-Wave (150m) and ZigBee (c.30m).
ULE can operate in hybrid mode to support high definition voice calls, data applications and low-resolution video features. It uses AES-CCM for encryption and packet authentication (based on AES 128). All packages are authenticated using a message integrity code (MIC).
All communications in ULE is encrypted using AES-CCM – there is no un-encrypted mode and no option to switch off encryption. Key exchange in DECT ULE is based on AES algorithm. The security measures are provided within the DLC layer of ULE to provide the application layer with a secure way of communicating.
Low cost of ownership
The ULE Alliance argues that DECT ULE offers the lowest cost of ownership model for Smart Home applications as it has fewer nodes in a system due to Star Topology and its longer range. It has the benefit of being able to leverage a huge installed base where the home gateway can re-utilised the DECT in the gateway used for telephony.
The solution is easy to install, which lowers Opex costs, and can be done by the customer on a DIY basis without the need for a professional installer. The Alliance argues this is likely to improve the chance of end user acceptance. The new certification programme is designed to ensure product interoperability.
DECT ULE can also reap the benefits of existing economies of scale by being able to harness multiple chipset sources, take advantage of lower chipset costs thanks to an already existing high volume market with an installed base of some 820 million products, with an annual growth rate of 100m plus per annum (DECT Forum/MZA).