Radio communications technology has come a long way since fixed RF channels, digital trunked systems and now radio over IP. Each telecommunication technology was developed to meet a specific requirement. So every one of them has limitations and can’t serve as a catch all solution for the various radio communication needs we have today. With an everchanging mobile workforce, the need to cross connect two-way radios with VoIP and cellular LTE networks is a very common request of our clients.

connecting two way radios with cel phones

For this post we will be sharing how to

Connect Radios with Cell Phones & The Control Center

At most University campuses worldwide, the communication between security personnel or maintenance teams takes place over two-way radios. While these are perfect for communicating between small teams, it makes life difficult when you are trying to talk to other teams or the administrative staff, who don’t usually carry a radio.

Other disadvantages of using two-way radios include:

  • Coverage Area: Limited coverage area, making it difficult for personnel in huge campuses to keep in touch
  • Security: Digital Mobile radios are not secure and can be hacked into relatively easily
  • Line of Sight: Most consumer 2-way radios operating in the 150 — 900 MHz range and need line of sight to communicate clearly. This makes tall buildings, dense metallic objects, a barrier for clear communication. One way to get around that is tapping into a Radio over IP for your security teams.
  • Lack of Interoperability: Traditional two way radios cannot communicate over cellular phone networks without bridging equipment.

How Do You Cross Connect Two-Way Radio with Cell Phone Users?

You might be wondering if there’s a way to solve this problem without having to reinvent the wheel. Below are a few ways where an existing technology can complement another without incurring major costs to overhaul the complete communication architecture.

Push to Talk Over Cellular (PoC)

The OMA (Open Mobile Alliance) defined the V 1.0, 2.0 and 2.1 of OMA-PoC (Push to Talk over Cellular) architecture to facilitate a solution that cross connects PTT with cellular as well as other kinds of networks.

These components are defined as PoC Interworking Service and External P2T Networks in the architecture document. The architecture also looks at connecting users from different PTT services too.

The exciting part is that it’s not only voice; by taking advantage of devices that are built on this architecture you can share still images, videos and files as well.

These services are offered by various telecommunication service providers as well as private PoC equipment manufacturers. Typically a PoC Server is configured with ad-hoc groups that consist of cell phone users and two way radios that can communicate freely with each other. Cell phones do not come with PTT capabilities and will need to install an app to be able to communicate within the group.

DCS or DXC (Digital Cross Connect Systems)

Today digital switches are available that can aide communication between dissimilar incoming and outgoing networks via circuit switching. These can be compared to an advanced form of electronic patch panel.