Why Digital Two-way

Why Two-way Radio?

Before we look at the advantages of digital, there's a more fundamental question. With alternative and emerging technologies – such as cellular, push-to-talk over cellular, and Voice-over-WLAN – is there any reason for enterprises to stick with two-way radio at all?

While there's no single answer to this question for every organization, two-way radio offers certain advantages that make it the clear choice for the vast majority of mobile professionals who require an affordable, flexible, highly reliable solution – along with the power and range available only in licensed bands. Advantages of two-way radio include:

  • Low total cost of ownership.
  • Customizable coverage and features.
  • Simple, reliable implementation.

If you're one of the tens of millions of professionals who rely on two-way radio today, it will continue to be your technology of choice tomorrow. And if you're not a two-way radio user today, you owe it to yourself and your business to explore what two-way has to offer.

Digital Two-way Radio: A Modern Solution for Modern Needs

Analog radio works well, and proves itself every day in countless deployments around the world. However, analog two-way radio has reached the limits of innovations. Virtually everything that can be imagined using analog radio has been already been attempted or achieved over more than a half-century of experimentation and innovation. Today, a new platform is required to break through to new levels of performance and productivity.

Many enterprises are finding they need more than the fundamentals that analog two-way radio delivers. Perhaps their licensed channels are becoming crowded and they need more capacity. Perhaps they need more flexible ways to communicate with users both inside and outside the work team. Perhaps they need access to data in combination with voice to improve responsiveness and productivity. Digital radio provides a powerful, flexible platform that professional organizations can adapt to meet these needs and more.

By migrating from analog to digital two-way radio communications, these organizations can fill many of these needs immediately and build a strong technical foundation for adding new functionality to meet new needs in the future.

Need: Efficient Use of RF Spectrum

For many two-way users, the most important benefit of digital radio is to make more efficient use of licensed 25 kHz and 12.5 kHz channels. The airwaves are becoming more and more crowded, and the old licensed channel structures – originally designed with the principal goal of serving a handful of broadcasters – are no longer adequate to carry the increasing broadcast and private radio traffic projected in the future.

Regulatory agencies are responding to an impending crisis in RF congestion by mandating more efficient use of licensed spectrum. For example, in the U.S., the FCC is requiring manufacturers to offer only devices that operate within 12.5 kHz channels by 2011. By the year 2013, all users will be required to operate in 12.5 kHz – making it possible for twice as many users to share the airwaves as compared with today's 25 kHz licenses.

The next logical step is to further improve the effective capacity of 12.5 kHz channels. It's only a matter of time before the ability to carry two voice paths into a single 12.5 kHz channel, also known as 6.25 kHz equivalent efficiency, becomes a requirement. But with digital radio, there's no need to wait for a mandate. Devices that incorporate Time-Division Multiple Access (TDMA) can achieve 6.25 kHz equivalency today – doubling the capacity of a currently licensed 12.5 kHz channel or quadrupling the capacity of a 25 kHz channel.

That means many more people can communicate over an enterprise's existing licensed channels, without worrying about interference. And because each TDMA "slot" works independently, these virtual 6.25 kHz channels can be used flexibly according to the organization's needs. For example, two slots within one channel can be used to carry two separate and private conversations, or else one slot could be used for data or priority signaling in conjunction with a conversation on the other slot.

Digital radio offers:

  • The ability to expand digital voice, data and control capabilities.
  • Lower licensing and equipment costs.
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