Two-Way Radios Enhancing Today’s Communication Technology

on Thursday, 27 March 2014. Posted in Two Way Radio Industry News Blog


SWAT Team Image Public Safety StoryWhen I tell people Motorola Solutions’ largest business is two-way radios, there is a two-way radio solution for every industry, and it’s a multibillion dollar market, I often get an odd look. That look is typically followed by the question, “Two-way radios? You mean like walkie-talkies?”

With all the buzz that surrounds cellular technology, two-way Land Mobile Radio (LMR) is often overlooked in today’s communication portfolio – but it is an ever-evolving technology that continues to provide reliable communications plus innovative new features that help organizations to stay connected, better manage their workforce, keep employees safe and increase productivity. Today’s device is not the same radio used in the 1960s. Today, a modern, standards-based radio is also data-enabled with an IP address that enables lots of cool, exciting functionality. Yes, I said cool!

In November, my home state, Illinois, and other states across the Midwest experienced a rare outburst of violent storms and tornadoes. As I was reviewing news coverage of the storms, it struck me that during an event like this, first responders need to reliably communicate using voice and data on a two-way radio, to coordinate response and save lives. They need a device that is designed specifically for the rugged world they operate in, and it needs to be easy to use – no phone numbers to look up and dial, no competing for spectrum capacity with consumers, just hit the push-to-talk button and talk. A two-way radio is a simple, reliable, purpose-built tool that is very good at its job – always-available communications.

For mission-critical communications, two-way radio – with its extended coverage range and extremely rugged equipment – does the job better than any other solution. For example, the STARCOM21 statewide Project 25 radio network covers the entire state of Illinois with approximately 270 radio tower sites, providing dedicated capacity to first responders across the state. It is much easier to keep 270 sites hardened, which means being always available, than the thousands of towers cellular technology requires.

And when the disaster strikes, like last November, those thousands of cell towers must also support hundreds of thousands of consumers, all competing for the same shared capacity. When a cell tower is knocked out by a storm, consumers have no way to communicate.

If a radio tower goes down the radio user can still communicate in direct mode,radio-to-radio communications, providing additional peace of mind the call will get through. In addition, powerful vehicle-mounted mobile radios in direct mode can work for 10’s of miles, covering large areas easily.

So next time you see a police officer, check to see if the officer has a radio. I am sure he will have one. Then ask him or her to share with you what the radio means to them in the moments that matter. I think you will find it interesting and cool, too!

John Kedzierski is Motorola Solutions Director of Product and Solutions Marketing and previously the Motorola Solutions Area Sales Manager for State of Illinois and Indiana.