In this day and age, communication is a key to success in many businesses. There is a variety of products that provide communication, from radios to cell phones to wireless intercom systems. Each of these has their own strengths and weaknesses and each are well suited to different applications.
If you ever see a policeman or fireman doing their job, you’ll probably see them using a two-way radio. They are perfect for applications like this because they are small, portable, relatively inexpensive and can communicate effectively across large distances outdoors when used with repeaters or as part of a trunking system.
The first major drawback of a radio for industrial communication is that it requires strict adherence to FCC guidelines, including the maintaining of a license for each frequency used. Frequencies can also sometimes crowd each other since the systems cover such vast distances; so a towing company in the city might be getting radio traffic bleeding over from a suburban fire department. The cost of the system also goes up exponentially based on the distance it needs to cover, and radios sometimes have trouble working in buildings without enhancement through an expensive bi-directional amplifier.
Cell phones allow quick communication with people almost anywhere in the world, making them perfect for long distance projects that need to be coordinated. They are common—almost everyone has one, and they can be programmed to call coworkers with just the touch of a button. The downside of cell phones is that you can usually only talk to one person at a time, and there is the time lag of an ordinary phone call instead of the instant “push to talk” accessibility of other communication methods.
Wireless Intercom Systems
These systems are great for buildings and small outdoor venues since they transmit very well through the glass and most other building materials. They often give a line of sight communication for up to 500 feet and usually do not require an FCC license. They allow full duplex communication for a limited number of users who carry the primary units, and allow “Listen only” functionality for others, often an unlimited number of others. As with radios, these systems often come with multiple channels, but unlike radios, the limited range of the system makes channel crowding less likely.
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