The ANT Telecom Blog

Digital vs Analogue radio systems for businesses

Written by ANT Telecom | 20 Feb 2015
There are many businesses that still use analogue radio systems, some of which may have been installed well over ten years ago. With this in mind, they may be finding that in many cases these radios are now discontinued by the manufacturer and as a result are paying a significant amount of money repairing old handsets or finding replacements.

If this is the situation businesses are finding themselves in, they may not realise the simple migration path they can take to invest in digital technology today that will provide them with long term benefits in the future.

The benefits of digital radio

Being able to operate two voice channels with a single repeater, and with only one antenna, is one of the key differences between analogue and digital systems. With two digital repeaters, four time slots are possible and is far more cost-effective than a trunked system. XPT Enhanced Pseudo Trunking will also offer the benefits of dynamic channel/slot allocation without the cost of a control channel.

These features provide far greater flexibility when configuring systems and enables different departments to utilise different channels. Alternatively, it's possible to have a dedicated channel for alarm traffic, for example from a Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) system monitoring a process line in a manufacturing plant. It could even be used for alarms generated from lone workers such as engineers or maintenance staff that work alone occasionally in remote parts of the plant or factory.

Coverage is improved because digital radio can still produce perfect audio quality even when receiving a very low signal level. Furthermore, background 'noise cancelling' using Digital Mobile Radios (DMR) is incredible. Even in extremely noisy environments the radios will produce clear voice audio by removing all background noise.

Digital Mobile Radio can link to more advanced and feature-rich applications. It can integrate into existing building or process monitoring systems and have alarms routed to the team that need to address those issues. Staff that work alone can be protected more effectively with GPS location or indoor beacons to locate an injured party on a site map or a specific plant area more easily. Text messaging is possible with digital radios too, which means alarms are responded to more promptly, and the person initiating the action is aware that their emergency has been received.

Finding the right digital radio system

Importantly, any migration to digital mobile radio can be done over a period of time rather than being done in one big hit ' something that may have previously prevented companies from making the transition.

When ensuring they find the right digital radio system for them, businesses should consider the range of radios they may need, for example, some will require more robust handsets if they have engineers working on outdoor sites, while others may need smaller handsets that fit into the pockets of office based staff or for those working in hospitality, which have a small ear piece and are more discreet.

Businesses also need to think about new regulations around health and safety and ensure they have the correct cover for those workers working in isolation or alone. Some digital radio system providers can offer an added lone worker functionality within its solution, which will mean companies that have a radio system already won't necessarily have to purchase a separate lone worker system to provide protection for its employees.

If you'd like to discuss the radio system you are currently using and the alternative options available to your business, please get in touch. We're currently running a fantastic promotion whereby in exchange for new digital radios, we'll buy-back your old analogues radios. The offer runs until 30th April 2015. For further information contact us on 01494 833123 or visit us at www.anttele.com/dmr.

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