Radio Dispatch Systems Using IP Networks

When you call 911, a public safety communications operator is often plugged into a radio dispatch system that has the ability to communicate with emergency management personnel while keeping you on the phone. This is just one of the many useful applications of an Internet Protocol (IP)-based dispatch radio console system and its related accessories. 

Over the past few years, this communications innovation has moved from a frequency based network to an IP based network and has been proven to be beneficial for many sectors. Apart from public safety, it is also utilized by utility companies that need to manage a fleet of trucks, educational institutions that oversees a network of buses, and private businesses that dispatch drivers and vehicles (e.g., taxi companies). 

What Is A Radio Dispatch and How It’s Used

The radio dispatch console is designed to connect Emergency Communications Centers (ECC) with responders who are in the field. These can refer to first-aid providers, firefighters, and law enforcement officials. 

Interfaced with a land mobile radio (LMR) system, the console conveys voice and the caller’s ID and emergency status. Thanks to technological advancements, it’s now also possible to relay where the field units are located. 

In small ECCs, it is the public safety telecommunicator (PST), or the person who answers the calls and performs the dispatching. In larger centers, there is a separate PST who takes the call and another who dispatches. These two groups of PSTs are linked by a computer-aided dispatch system. 

When a field unit is dispatched, they use a tactical LMR channel to communicate with the ECC. With this approach, the ECC can guarantee that their main dispatch channel is available and unobstructed for succeeding dispatches. 

In any center, PSTs are supervised by a senior official. Another administrator is assigned to oversee the operations of the center and liaise with suppliers or vendors. They also report to a head agency for whom the ECC provides its services. 

In ECCs where a dispatch radio console system using IP networks is employed, dedicated technicians and specialists are assigned to manage and maintain the modern systems being used. 

The Advantages of IP-powered Radio Dispatch Systems

When organizations use a radio dispatch console using radio over IP interface, they can save on equipment costs. Compared with costly leased lines, IP connections are more cost-effective. This system allows radio dispatchers to operate remotely and have more flexibly, eliminating the need to maintain larger control centers. 

Additionally, digital dispatch systems are more reliable. Analog radio communications require a network of receiving antennas, repeaters and signal relays. This equipment is costly to acquire and deploy. IP-powered systems are advantageous because they are field-tested, and use existing LAN, WAN and virtual networks that are already established for computing and telecommunications. Radio over IP is not affected by signal transmission barriers, which are a common issue with analog radio communication devices. 

The radio interoperability solutions for commercial and service companies are customizable to your own specific needs. . If you are just switching to radio over IP (RoIP) from a PTT over IP solution, the process is even easier.  By simply connecting one or two consoles with a single local area network (LAN) using a radio of IP gateway your digital mobile radios in the field can be connected to the dispatch base station. From there, you can expand to a geographically distributed Wide Area Network (WAN), depending on your organization’s current demands.

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