2826

The 2826 Rookie’s Guide to two way radios: Part 8.

Analogue and Digital. What’s the difference?  What are the pitfalls and advantages?

If you have read all of the information we’ve shared so far on two way radios, you probably have a rather good understanding now of how it works and why a radio system is used!  But the ‘techy’ stuff?  That’s the next one to cover off…

Radios are either analogue or digital.  We’re sure you’ve heard of both, but what’s the difference?

Analogue:

  • Analogue is the ‘old fashioned’ and robust system that most of us (regardless of our field of work) have encountered at some point. An analogue system picks up audio signal from the transmission site along radio frequency waves called ‘carriers.’
  • Using an analogue system normally means only one conversation can happen at a time. Analogue signals are poor when you get closer to the maximum range and at this point you may hear white static noise, crackling sounds, lower voice tones and the signal may drop out altogether.

Digital:

  • A digital radio (or digital radio system/DMR) is much more reliable than analogue and the sound quality is hugely superior. Even at maximum range the sound will be clear if you choose digital.
  • Digital radio can distinguish between background noise and can choose not to transmit this, making the overall conversation quality that much better. Digital radios have many extra features. Because of the nature of digital these features continue to develop and ensure that the system is future-proof and not easily outdated in functionality or feature terms.

 

Analogue

Digital

Easy to use

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Reliable and robust hardware

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Sound quality over long range

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Sound quality over short range

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General sound quality

Variable

High

Ability to block out background noise during transmission 

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Multiple conversations able to take place at once

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Additional features such as GPS, emergency features and text and data messaging (see ‘Features’ blog)

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Likelihood of obsolescence in next ten years (2031)

Product availability in current market

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