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Chicomm Blog

Bi-Directional Amplifiers vs Repeaters: How Are They Different?

Posted by Lisa MacGillivray on Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Bi-Directional amplifiers, boosters, extenders, repeaters – there is no shortage of options when you’re looking to broaden the reach and enhance the effectiveness of your cell and two-way radio coverage to combat dreaded “dead zones.” For now, let’s focus on just one part of the coverage picture – bi directional amplifiers and repeaters for two-way radios and how the two options are different. Looking at the two side-by-side can help you decide which will be the best fit for you.

Two-way Radio Bi Directional Amplifiers

Bi-directional amplifiers work by locating a wireless signal from outside of a building – say, an antenna placed on the roof – amplifying that signal and rebroadcasting it throughout a coverage area. BDAs:BDA.png

  • Operate on a single frequency.
  • Are generally limited in coverage to a single building, campus or geographic footprint.
  • Are only as effective as where they’re placed. BDAs rely on a distributed antenna system, or DAS, to pick up wireless signals and distribute them to your hard-to-access spots that need them most. The DAS needs to be strategically placed for best results, which is why it’s key to call in a professional installer to assess the needs of your situation and your best placement options.

Two-way Radio Repeaters

Motorola and Vertex two-way radios are gold standards in the industry, and repeaters offer a way to make them work even harder for you and your team. Two-way radio repeaters receive data on one frequency and retransmit it at a higher power on a different base_station_repeater-resized-600.pngfrequency. Repeaters:

  • Require two frequencies to operate.
  • Have a more expansive coverage area than a BDA. Motorola also offers the option to link up to 15 repeaters to create wide area coverage.
  • Can switch back and forth between analog and digital modes, providing the flexibility to continue to use analog devices as you upgrade to digital. A system with both analog and digital capabilities can also use data functions such as GPS.
  • Can also serve as base stations, or the base hub for all lines of communication. Transmissions from two-way radios are sent to the base station where they can then be transmitted through a higher wattage to other frequencies. Base stations are useful for companies and operations that have a fleet of vehicles, from taxis to tow trucks.

To meet your needs for bi directional amplifier products, installation, and service, contact Chicago Communications today!

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