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Two-Way Radio Communication

Posted By: technopediasite

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Two-Way Radio

Two-way radio has evolved from basic walkie-talkies, like those used by hunters and hikers,
into larger systems with a base and unit-to-unit communications, utilized by municipal public
safety departments and public and private transportation companies (e.g., cab and bus


Cellular telephone service providers are incorporating push-to-talk services utilizing
specialized telephones with built-in walkie-talkie features. These communications make

instant connection to the called party possible.

Licensed Versus Unlicensed Spectrum Use

Many applications of two-way radio communications utilize the unlicensed spectrum;
therefore, no special licensing is required. Consumers can purchase any number of two-way
radios, make sure they are all on the same channel, and communications can take place at
distances of up to 3.2 km (2 mi). Since these are not licensed and operate at very low power

levels, communications is generally only reliable at short distances.

Licensed two-way communications rely on either public or private radio systems to replicate
signals and reach across a city or county. This hardware may be either wholly owned or

leased from a service provider, much like a cellular telephone service.

These are connectionless channels—the communications medium is not reserved and a
channel is created each time a push-to-talk conversation is initialized. Because the
communications channel runs from antenna to antenna, LOS must be maintained for the

channel to remain open.

Two-Way Radio Advantages and Disadvantages
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Two-way radios can be inexpensive and serve many purposes (e.g., construction sites, large campus environments, maintenance crews). Licensing fees and hardware costs may be much less than having to equip a workforce with cellular telephones. Two-way radios can be quicker in establishing communications and may work where other forms of communication do not.

However, using a private system places the burden of maintenance and support on the owner. Communications may be spotty or have multiple dead zones. Two-way radios can be
purchased that are impact resistant, but are fragile pieces of equipment that may not stand up to daily use requirements. Backup communications may be required to overcome these

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