Why Gatwick Chose Digital Over Analogue Radio System
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New digital two way radio system doubles Gatwick’s network capacity
In a significant announcement in the world of two way radio, communications giant Motorola Solutions recently announced the launch of its MOTOTRBO Capacity Max system at London Gatwick Airport. Gatwick is the latest, and possibly one of the biggest so far, in a long line of organisations choosing to update their existing analogue systems.
While analogue technology has been around for many decades, it appears to be coming to the end of the line in its capabilities. Gatwick itself admits that it is experiencing the limitations of its previous analogue system. By contrast, digital radio technology is thought to be heralding a new era in radio technology. Gatwick’s recent changes illustrate perfectly the benefits that digital radio technology provides. Let’s take a look at the key points in relation to Gatwick.
Digital radio is much more efficient than analogue. In the case of a 12.5Hz channel, it would only be possible to run one analogue channel, but it is possible to run two digital channels using the same frequency. Indeed, Motorola claims that Gatwick’s new Digital Mobile Radio (DMR) will double the capacity of the existing analogue network and is fully scalable, meaning it is ready and able to cope with the demands of Gatwick’s ongoing growth.
Analogue radio works through picking up radio waves from a transmitter to a receiver in a process called modulation. This works wonderfully, except that the wave become weaker towards the edge of a transmitter’s range and is prone to interference.
Digital technology works by fragmenting the signal and sending it in a binary code of 0 and 1 digits. It is not impeded by interference and can reach its receiver in the same quality as when it left the transmitter, right to the edge of a transmitter’s range. This will provide enhanced voice and data communications to 1,300 users both airside and groundside at Gatwick.
Better Voice Quality
For the same reasons that digital radio technology provides better coverage and capacity, it also means better voice quality. A digital signal transmits over a much wider band of frequency, meaning that it has greater scope for avoiding interference along the way. Even if it does encounter interference, the receiver is able to piece together the fragments to reproduce the signal clearly.
Better Battery Life
Digital radio technology is much more energy efficient than analogue, so doesn’t drain a receiver’s battery as quickly. Motorola claims that digital technology could allow a battery to last up to 40% longer.
Motorola also highlights all the added benefits that the new two way radios give Gatwick, not least the ability to update hardware via WiFi, resulting in software updates that can be sent to equipment quickly and with less load on the radio network. Some other benefits include:
- TRBOnet PLUS, a dispatcher application that enables voice recording, mapping and event logging in the control room
- iBeacon indoor positioning, which allows alerts to be sent to individual radios based on location.
- central controllers can dispatch the closest employee to an incident, saving staff valuable time
- hardware is connected to WiFi, software updates can be sent to equipment quickly and with less load on the radio network.
The major factor persuading many organisations to transition from analogue to digital is that devices can work both on existing analogue networks and, in Gatwick’s case, on the new Motorola Capacity Max system. The benefits of being able to retain the original analogue systems while transitioning to digital are huge and makes the impact of introducing new technology much less of a burden.
Find out how we can equip you with an analogue or digital two way radio system.
Released On 13th Oct 2016