Radio over IP is an effective and low cost solution for those companies that are using older hardware for two way radio communications to connect with employees, security teams and service personnel and just don’t have the dollars to upgrade to all new digital mobile radios throughout their organization.
Using radio over the Internet is no longer a new means of communication. Just like VoIP communications, the sound of your voice needs to be converted into a digital signal that travels over your existing network or the internet. The device that does this conversion is called a voice encoder or vocoder. Converting analog voice signals to a digital format also is old technology that dates back to the 1950’s. The telecom giants have been digitizing and packetizing digital voice for many years. What is new is how analog radio communications are able to take advantage of digital vocoders and RoIP gateways to transmit digital voice with a minimal investment.
RoIP is a smarter alternative to the more conventional radio systems. Some of the radio over IP applications are large entertainment venues, metropolitan bus and train transportation networks, large field services teams that deploy engineers and technicians for repairs and campus security teams for universities, business campuses and manufacturing organizations that are spread across acres. If you have people in the field at different locations, it is more practical and less costly to have a digital mobile radio communications rather than using cellular networks. The system works by establishing a Session Initiation Protocol. A connection is made between two parties on the Internet. The server compresses the voice traffic into digital streams and sends them through this connection.
RoIP systems have proven to be cost-effective, reliable, and highly flexible. It has enabled workers and managers involved in large projects that are spread over a large geographic area to communicate with one another. You can put your RoIP system on the same network as your computer system, which makes it easy to maintain the security of both.
If you have decided to invest in this technology, it is important to take robust measures to secure it. Red/black switching is a type of encryption protocol that has been in sue by the department of defense and public safety operations for years and is now available to more commercial applications. Working with a company that is familiar with secure voice communications would be an important criterion in your selection process. Deploying a red black encryption system on your own is not advisable.
Gateways for RoIP systems have become smaller, smarter and more affordable in the past few years. The vendor you work with should be transparent from the beginning. They should offer you a range of options and be open about the advantages and disadvantages of each. Your people will also need training on the new system and therefore the communication systems provider you choose should include training into their package. This is especially important if you plan to put the RoIP system in the field right away.
In addition to training your people, the vendor should commit themselves to providing maintenance for at least a 2-year period. Should anything go wrong with the system, then the communication systems company you had install and program your RoIP gateways must be available to resolve any issue.
Tom writes for a radio over IP applications and RoIP gateways company that focuses on radio over IP for military and commercial applications.