School District Case Study

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Glen Ellyn, Illinois, School District 41 relies on MOTOTRBO digital radios to keep communications available during emergencies and increase efficiency for day-to-day operations.
Learn what caused this school system to turn to Motorola for a district-wide communications upgrade, the solution installed, and the results with this case study from Motorola.

 

A Comparison of Analog and Digital Radios

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In the two-way radio world, there are two types of radios available; analog and digital.

The main difference is the way in which signals are transmitted and received.

An analog radio works by picking up the signal from a transmission site using carrier radio frequency waves. Listeners tune into analog frequency stations on their device. They listen to the electrical radio waves as they are transmitted directly from the radio station to the analog radio. These radios waves are transmitted continuously, without interruption to the sound.

Digital radios work by picking up a processed signal which turns sound into patterns of digits rather than the radio waves which are used for analog transmissions. These digital signals are transmitted via satellite to listeners’ radios by the same technology as is used for digital television signals.

Pros and Cons of Analog Radio:

Pro

  • Analog radios are relatively inexpensive when compared to digital radios. They are far less complex and easy to use.
  • The number of products and accessories offered is much larger and provides for more options.
  • Analog systems make good use of bandwidth and are well understood.
  • Analog radios are eco-friendly by comparison to digital radios.
  • Analog radio waves broadcast a continuous signal, so every tone of a transmission is heard as a complete sound.
  • Analog systems use the natural voice, which is a feature preferred by many users.

Con

  • Typically only one two-way conversation can occur at a time on each channel.
  • Analog systems require hardware receivers and transmitters that are designed to fit the particular transmission.
  • No software-driven business applications are available for analog radios.
  • Analog radios cannot filter out other noise around the sender.
  • There is no privacy on an analog radio.
  • Analog radios pick up interference from other transmitting stations.

Pros and Cons of Digital Radio

Pro

  • Digital radios have greater range than analog.
  • Digital and analog voice signals can be combined in the same digital devices.
  • Digital signals can be handled by standardized antenna systems and existing infrastructure equipment.
  • Digital radios have far more capabilities, such as: voice filtering; direct and group calling; text messaging; call privacy.
  • Longer battery life.

Con

  • Radio frequency noises can impact the signal received on a digital device.
  • First-time users may experience a steep learning curve.
  • Digital is currently typically more expensive than analog.

When considering your next fleet radio purchase, it will help to understand which transmission type will suit you best. Assess the level of reception of digital and analog radio signals at the location you intend to use the radio to help ensure you are making the right choice. Keep in mind the United States is moving in favor of digital transmission, which may affect the long-term worth and usability of analog models.

Whichever  you choose, the Sales Team at 2-Way Communications will be happy to help with the selection of radio and accessories that best meets your needs.Give them a call at (603) 421-6288 or send an email to sales@2-way.biz.

Motorcycle Radios

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Motorcycles and two-way radios … makes sense, right? Using a cell phone is almost completely out of the question – you have to stay in control of the bike even while sending and receiving, and some states require “hands-free” operation of vehicles. Whether you are talking with another motorcycle rider or trying to communicate with a base station, two-way radios offer the perfect solution. Today’s digital radios are feature-rich, providing great benefit to the two-wheeler. Here are 4 features you should consider before buying in order to get the most out of your radio.

Headset Support

A two-way radio with quality headset support available will help you communicate with ease. Headsets come in numerous styles with a range of functions. It is worth taking the time to find one that works well while out on the road, protecting you and your team’s safety. It will also ensure you can communicate hands-free at any time.

Radio Range

Two-way radio range becomes more important when you are using radios to communicate between motorcycles. Motorcycles are usually used to travel a good distance which means you are going to need a radio system having a similar range. Also, if you are communicating between other bike riders you will need a greater distance of range under some circumstances.

Battery Life

Your battery must last at least a shift, or 8 hours … if your battery is short-lived it’s going to be difficult to rely on your radio throughout your travels. Motorcycles don’t typically come with power outlets meaning it’s impossible to charge your radio on the go. Check out earlier blog articles about quality Motorola batteries.

 Water & Dust Proof

Two-way radios used on motorcycles may be exposed to harsh elements. Having a two-way radio that is manufactured to IP standards is crucial. If not you might end up with a fully charged radio that is unusable because of exposure to dust or water. Which IP standard is right for you? Check out an earlier blog article for details about IP ratings.
If you’d like to learn more, please don’t hesitate to contact our sales team (https://www.2-way.biz). With years of experience, and a strong desire to develop a long-term partnership, you’ll get the information you need to help make a great choice for your organization.

Migrating to Digital Radio

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Digital two-way communications started revolutionizing the way mobile professionals communicate back around 2008. Digital radio offers many advantages over analog, including improved voice quality with greater coverage, better privacy, better battery life and more. That’s why it’s important to consider migrating to digital communications every time you review your two-way fleet – so when you’re ready to upgrade, you’ll choose a system with the greatest benefits for the long term. Here are a few of the “pros” in a bit more detail:

Better Voice Quality – Because a digital radio has automatic error correction, it rebuilds voice sounds and maintains the clarity of the voice, even if a signal is badly corrupted. And since speech is digitally-encoded, you benefit from smarter capabilities, such as advanced software algorithms that can deliver clear voice in the most extreme conditions. Machine clatter, the crowd noise around you, or radio interference have little or no impact on your transmission, so your message gets through.

Better Capacity – Digital technology has much greater spectrum efficiency so that it can, for example, accommodate two completely separate “channels” in one 12.5 kHz channel. As well as making more efficient use of radio spectrum, this also minimizes your licensing costs. With digital two-way radio communications, you can immediately double the capacity of your existing 12.5 kHz channel and enable many more people to communicate without worrying about privacy or interference.

Better Coverage – Digital radios have built-in error correction to eliminate static and make sure voice calls are heard clearly over a greater range. That’s why at the far edge of coverage, even with similar signal strength, digital radio will be clear while analog voice will be garbled and masked by static. There’s no interference, background noise or distortion.

Better Battery Life

Shift-long battery life is a challenge for mobile devices. Digital technology is much more energy-efficient than analog, though, which means it reduces battery drain and improves talk time. A two-way radio battery will last up to 40% longer when you use a digital radio. While both analog and digital radios consume about the same power in standby mode, once you start transmitting, digital radios are much more efficient. This is critical for frequent and heavy users who depend on their radios to last the entire shift and can’t stop to replace batteries or recharge radios.

Misconceptions about the migration include:

Making the Switch is Costly. Not so. Systems like MotoTRBO is a cost-effective way to reduce your expenses, while providing more features to your employees, making them more effective. Additionally, digital radios double the capacity of your existing 12.5 kHz channel which minimizes license costs and increases the flexibility of your currently licensed spectrum.

Two-Way radios are a Fading Technology. Not so. Digital technology  brings interoperability to two-way radios, with instant unified communications across locations, networks and devices including smartphones, landlines, and PCs. Combine that with better voice quality, capacity, coverage, and battery life, and you realize you’re not talking about a fading technology.

Transitioning to Digital is Complex. Not so. Moving from analog to digital is easy. Once you decide to make the switch, you don’t have to rip and replace. Make the move in stages and use your analog and digital radios simultaneously. It’s your choice whether and when you move one person, a business unit, or your entire organization.

If you’d like to learn more, please don’t hesitate to contact our sales team (https://www.2-way.biz). With years of experience, and a strong desire to develop a long-term partnership, you’ll get the information you need to help make a great choice for your organization.