Your guide to radio network maintenance

Whether it’s a one base-station system or a nationwide emergency setup, two-way networks are more robust than ever. However, that doesn’t mean maintenance can be ignored. Vaughan O’Grady discovers what can go wrong

When it comes to two-way radio networks there’s no shortage of useful maintenance advice, including authoritative documents on radio site engineering from ETSI and industry grouping the Federation of Communications Services (FCS).

FCS 1331 in particular offers comprehensive guidelines on all aspects of site installation and maintenance. Tim Cull, head of business radio for FCS, points out: “Any sensible potential supplier and sensible customer should sit down and take a realistic professional view on what is needed and what is not needed. For a small taxi company you don’t want the full power of FCS 1331 being piled on top; it could easily quadruple the price of the solution.”

So how much maintenance is really necessary for two-way networks? After all, as Samuel Hunt, director of two-way radio services provider Maxxwave, says: “A well-installed network does not have huge maintenance issues, and modern kit is reliable.”

Maintenance regularity
High standards of site installation don’t come cheap, but thanks to the frequency bands two- way radio networks operate in and the greater output of their user equipment, “site count goes down dramatically. And if you look at your investment – the quantity of equipment that you’ve got to maintain – it’s a lot less for land mobile than it would be for the equivalent cellular,” says Barend Gildenhuys, technical director at Simoco Group, which delivers critical communication solutions.

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