Tom's Tech Talk (#2): Analog vs. Digital with Motorola’s MOTOTRBO
With the current evolution of technology, two way radios have been slow to change. Motorola within the last several years has developed a radio platform that will not only allow for a migration path from analog to digital, but also allow for third party developers to create software products to enhance the functionality of the system.
Analog radio allows a user to basically push to talk and release to listen. There are variations within this that can allow users to do GPS and status messaging. These required the use of the channel to send data across it when no voice communications were present. With Motorola’s MOTOTRBO digital platform, an existing analog user can buy the repeater and use it in analog. As the user budgets for new equipment, when complete, the entire system can be converted to digital.
Why Digital? To start with, by using a repeater in the digital mode, Motorola allows for two completely simultaneous conversations over the same channel. With radio spectrum a commodity, this allows for minor modifications to the license which allows the TDMA protocol to handle two concurrent calls. In addition, having this digital capability allows a user to Privately Call another user so the typical Party line radio communication is not heard. In addition to features like private call you can do simple text messaging across
the system to communicate.
To further enhance the system’s ability is the “Third Party Application Vendors”. Through licensing, Motorola has allowed for their system to be used as a backbone to allow for wireless applications such as GPS, Telephone, Email and Indoor location services by outside developers. In essence a system purchased that originally was used for push to talk and release to listen has now created tracking, monitoring, texting and telephone, all from a single radio channel.