Two way communication is a confusing topic. Not necessarily the technical stuff, but trying to figure out the best two way radio for your business.
A lot of businesses run to Walmart or a sporting goods store and get a 2 or a 4 pack of walkie talkies. While these will work on most job sites or in close range, we’ll talk about walkie talkies vs two-way radios here; there are beneficial differences for your business going with two radios.
If you’re wondering how they differ, here is a quick breakdown.
Walkie Talkies for Business Use
When people talk about walkie talkies, they are usually thinking of a basic two way radio. You might see these at outdoor events, large families using them at an outing, or other recreational activities. Mostly non-commercial applications, though. Walkie talkies are usually brightly or multi-colored or have a design on them. You can buy them at most sporting or camping stores.
Walkie talkies tend to have shorter range, fewer features and a lesser build quality compared to two way radios. They also typically don’t require a FCC licence. Some operate on a FRS or GMRS frequencies and may require you to register them.
Two-way Radios for Business Use
A two-way radio is a high-end, feature-rich radio geared toward commercial users such as businesses with large sites, hospitals, security, event management, and other organizations where a quality device is needed. This type of radio generally has a more rugged build quality.
Many have an IP rating. The IP rating for a two way radio lets the end user know how rugged the radio is and which environments they can use it. For example, someone at a building site has different needs than a warehouse employee. The IP rating will say say it can withstand dust and water, but cannot be submerged. IP67 rated is pretty common. This means it is
- Totally protected against dust ingress
- and protected against short periods of immersion in water.
Using Walkie Talkies for Business
Walkie talkies for business can work. Where walkie talkies might be the right choice is if your business has specific needs. For example, if you are a pilot car company and you need communication a trailing vehicle within a couple miles of your position. Another possibility would be if your business requires you to go into a geographically challenging area and need line of sight distance communications.
- FCC license may not be needed
- For the price, walkie talkies are good in a pinch
- As long as you are close, you can use them anywhere
- Other people can hear you
- You don’t have your own frequency
- Limited range (line of sight)
- Limited features/expandability
- Not encrypted
- Analog communication
Using Two Way Radios for Business
Two way radios are a bit different than walkie talkies. For starters, there is an infrastructure behind them. It can be simple, but most of the time, you won’t be connecting radio to radio; there is a middle man, so to speak. Whether you are using a mobile radio, base station, or portable radio, there will be a repeater involved. You will key up your radio when you are in the warehouse, it will connect to your repeater and send the transmission out to the other radios.
It sounds complicated and expensive, but it’s not. Think of it like having your own cellphone tower, just for your business’s two way communication. These are great on farms, a quarry where you have a lot of trucks and manufacturing plant, a warehouse, or businesses where there are a lot of moving parts that need to stay in contact. If you have other buildings somewhat close to each other, there are ways to connect them to further extend your coverage.
If this sounds complicated, we have an option where you can use our two way radio towers for a monthly fee. Going this route will give you coverage from Madison to Milwaukee, South to the state line and North of the Wisconsin Dells.
- Digital communications
- Can add a repeater to extend range
- Encrypted communication
- Your own frequency
- On the right system, you can talk to cellphones and send messages
- One-to-all or one to one communication
- Greater cost
- Needs an FCC license or an airtime agreement
- Area of use can be limited due to tower or network limitations
Two way radios are a great addition to your business arsenal. They offer quick push to talk communication between one or all of your employees with the push of a button. When you’re using them regularly, two way radios can cut overall communication costs, keep you legal while driving, and increase efficiency. If you don’t need constant communication, you can try walkie talkies, or rent two way radios for events in the Madison or Milwaukee areas. This will reduce your cost and have reliable communications for your event.