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Analog vs. Digital Two-Way Radios

Analog vs. Digital Two-Way Radios

Posted on: May 6, 2022 By: Kelcom Admin

History of Two-Way Radios

The two-way radio as we know it came around 1933 when the Canadian Donald Hings created the first portable two-way radio that allowed a transmission to take place. Previous two-way radios were too big to carry and required a lot of wires and equipment. Ten years later, working for Motorola Solutions (then known as the Galvin Corporation), he helped create the analog backpack model called the “walkie talkie” which was used during World War II.

Traditionally, government agencies and emergency services including police and firefighters have relied on two-way radios as a life saving communication tool.

However, businesses including Manufacturing, Security, Construction and Hospitality have also been able to adapt this cost-effective and reliable solution to increase their operation efficiencies, worker safety and productivity and their ability to service their customers.

Although there are still many analog users today, digital two-way radio products are evolving to become the prominent go-to communications solution for the future.

Pros and Cons of Analog Radio Signals

Pros:

  • Inter-operable
  • Simple to use
  • Rugged and reliable devices

Cons:

  • Less functionality
  • Less spectrum efficiency
  • Battery lasts 40% less time than digital radios
  • Only one conversation per channel allowed
  • No software or technology upgrades available
  • Every transmission is accompanied by a static signal
  • The signal quality gets worse as you get to the edge of coverage, eventually fading out

Digital Two-Way Radio Call Types

Motorola MOTOTRBO XPR7550e Digital Two-Way Radio

Digital two-way radios including the Motorola XPR7550e have longer battery life, clearer audio and safety features than analog radio models.

There are three types of calls you can make on a digital two-way radio.

  • One-to-all allows a person to send a broadcast to the entire channel.
  • One-to-many allows a person to talk to a specific group of people, such as within a talk group.
  • One-to-one allows a person to talk to someone else.

Digital Two-Way Radio Advantages

  • Can have two conversations using a licensed repeater channel
  • Enhanced privacy features
  • Extended usable coverage and signal quality is still clear on the edge of the coverage zone
  • Battery lasts 40% longer than on analog portable two-way radios models
  • Integrated data applications including emails, work order tickets, text messaging and others
  • Continuous software and technology upgrades are available

Conclusion

Although relied on heavily for many years, analog technology has reached the limit of its innovations and can no longer support current business communication needs required today.

Digital two-way radio technology offers a platform that continues to meet, adapt and evolve as business needs change.

Contact our two-way radio experts at KELCOM Radio for all your digital two-way radio needs.

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