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How to Choose a Two-Way Radio for Businesses

Posted by Two Way Direct on 31st Jan 2019

From casino security to hotel chains to firefighter teams, many organizations have business two-way radio requirements. Determining the best possible handheld business radio options can be difficult, especially if you’re not familiar with the industry. Here at Two Way Direct, our goal is to make finding the right communications solutions easy and affordable.

Discover which type of two-way radio is ideal for your organization, and learn about the accessories that can help you to achieve your communications goals.

Radios vs. Smartphones

The first step is determining whether you’d prefer to use a more traditional business two-way radio, or if rugged smartphones with walkie-talkie functionality would be a better choice. Both have their benefits, so the right one largely depends on your unique situation.

In order to determine the best approach, first consider how far your team travels. If you just need to communicate within a few miles, a classic two-way radio system may work fine. If you do end up needing to increase your signal, you can always use two-way repeaters or antennas.

If your team needs to keep in contact over 3+ miles, you may want to look into LMR to LTE interoperability. Instead of using a classic business two-way radio system, you can add a walkie-talkie function to smartphones using AT&T Enhanced Push-to-Talk or FirstNet.

Enhanced Push-to-Talk gives you unlimited range on your smartphone, just like making phone calls or texting. You can also communicate with dozens of other devices with the push of a button.

So, say you’re a construction worker, and you need to communicate with 10 other workers at the top of a large skyscraper. A traditional two-way radio may not reach that far, and the signal may be obstructed by the building. A smartphone with Enhanced Push-to-Talk allows you to deliver your message with confidence to everyone on your team.

For emergency first responders, using a traditional business two-way radio system simply isn’t ideal. FirstNet is a dedicated network reserved strictly for first responders. In addition to keeping the airwaves clear, FirstNet offers many other benefits, including better rural coverage, innovative apps and devices, and more.

UHF or VHF?

If you’ve decided to use traditional handheld business radio systems, your next step is to determine whether you should use UHF (ultra high frequency) or VHF (very high frequency) radios.

As a general rule of thumb, UHF radios are ideal for indoor situations and VHF radios are better for using outdoors. A UHF business two-way radio system’s signal is able to penetrate objects that may cause signal degradation for VHF radios.

For example, a UHF radio system is ideal for a big-box retail store because the signal needs to be able to pass through walls, display shelves, and other infrastructure. On the other hand, if you’re a parking lot attendant, a VHF radio system may be ideal because you get more range.

Radio Features

Now you should have a better idea of whether you’re going to use UHF/VHF radio or a smartphone with LMR to LTE interoperability. If you’re going to use smartphones, our expert team can help you in selecting the right phones and/or network. We can also help you select a business two-way radio system, or even build a custom one from scratch.

Here are some of the features you should keep in mind if you’re looking for an ideal two-way radio setup for your team:

Wattage/Range:

  • Different radios have different ranges. Radios with higher wattages have longer ranges, but they also cost more and use more battery power. As you shop for radios, make sure you also consider that the range may be listed for optimal conditions. A radio may claim to transmit 20+ miles in optimal conditions, but may only transmit 3 miles in practice.

Calling Tones/Vibration:

  • Depending on where your business two-way radio system is going to be used, you may want to look into radios with calling tones or vibration options. That way your handheld business radio doesn’t disrupt customers or clients. Calling tones or vibrations notify the recipient of an incoming transmission before it occurs so they can find an appropriate place to talk.

Scanning:

  • Scanning allows you to browse channels to find the one your team is using. You can also scan all channels to find one that’s open. This allows you to select the clearest channel, facilitating clearer communication.

Keypad Lock:

  • Much like a smartphone, keypad lock features ensure that your settings aren’t accidentally changed if your radio is in your pocket or holster.

Noise Filter:

  • A noise filter helps to reduce unwanted noise and feedback on your business two-way radio signal.

Hands-Free Capabilities:

  • If you work with your hands frequently, you may want to look into radios that can be integrated with headsets and earpieces.

Car Kits:

  • Do you need to use your radio while you travel? Car kits may be a vital solution.

Compatibility:

  • If you’re buying new radios, you may be wondering if you can integrate them with your existing system. Here at Two Way Direct, we make it easy to use radios from different manufacturers. We can frequency match different radios to ensure compatibility.

Contact Us for Expert Assistance

Choosing the best business two-way radio solutions for your organization can seem like a daunting process, but it doesn’t have to be. Call us at 888-742-5893, or fill out our convenient request form online, and our product specialists will be happy to guide you every step of the way. Shop the best handheld business radio solutions for less at Two Way Direct.