What's Radio over IP?

With spectrum availability an increasing concern in the capital, Jon Severs takes a look at radio over IP technology, which removes the need for a radio licence

Traditional two-way radio networks are an often-unacknowledged operational necessity for the majority of companies. A good installation coupled with a maintenance agreement with a reputable dealership means radio systems can easily fade into the background. Additionally because the technology is well-established the costs aren’t extravagant enough to attract the concern of many procurement departments.

But is this status quo detrimental? Are companies failing to future-proof themselves or get their money’s worth by not looking at what else is on the market? Those pushing an alternative to traditional two-way radios – radio over IP – would argue yes.

IP radio systems are used in the same way as a standard radio; with individual and group calling options and they are fully duplex. But instead of using the UHF2 band they use a building’s existing Wi-Fi network.

According to radio manufacturer Icom’s marketing manager Ian Lockyer one of the chief benefits of using Wi-Fi is that you don’t need a licence. Indeed, the licence-free benefit has been one of the key marketing messages focused upon in the UK thus far. It has been claimed that in many parts of the country radio licences are increasingly hard to obtain, due to lack of spectrum availability for business applications. For example, in London Icom says it is virtually impossible to get a licence for a UHF2 radio scheme.

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