PTT over IP Communications – Part 5

What is Radio over IP (RoIP) and why is it needed?

In today’s radio communications landscape, users are often looking for capable and cost efficient methods to solve complex communication problems. Some of the problems that often need solving are … how to extend radio range, quickly scale up radio networks, achieve higher level of integration of conventional radios with other modern communication technologies? How to accomplish it all for less cost and while making the communication system more reliable?

Image result for RoiP UAE

In many cases RoIP – Radio over IP,  is an answer. RoIP is a “sub-category” of VoIP (Voice over IP). RoIP systems provide clear, private and if required – secure radio communication by using some of the VoIP protocols. Radio over IP gateways transmit radio communications over private or public IP networks (internet) to extend the range and interoperability of conventional radio systems. PTT over IP technology can be used for bridging radios with IP networks and devices.

In it’s simplest form, Radio over IP converts RF signal to data packets suitable for transport over an IP network. An IP radio network consists of any number of radios, which may include a combination of handheld, mobile and fixed two-way radios, along with RoIP gateways that provide interfaces to the IP networks.

What can talKKonnect based RoIP solution do?

  1. Extend the radio communications beyond line-of-sight through IP means. Users in IP radio networks can communicate with endpoints that are far outside the range or line-of-sight of localized radio networks.
  2. Access other devices. Create interoperability of radios with other IP based communications devices (smartphones, tablets, PC’s, third party applications)
  3. Achieve interoperability between diverse radio networks. Enable radio communications between different, otherwise incompatible radio standards (Analog, Digital, VHF, UHF). By providing a common interface between different radio networks, two RoIP gateway devices can communicate with each other directly using the Internet Protocol, regardless of the analog or digital local radio networks the gateways are associated with.
  4. Lower the overall radio networks infrastructure costs. Higher cost radios can be replaced with lower cost smart devices. Number of radios in a communication network can be minimized.
  5. Speed up radio network expansion by easily creating a “hybrid” communication network where radios, applications and smart devices can seamlessly talk to each other. Adding a relatively large numbers of smart “bring your own devices” (BYOD) to the communication network is easier done from procuring and installing large quantities of radios.

Radio over IP solutions offer numerous benefits to both existing radio networks, as well as the new communications systems under development.

Radio over IP (RoIP) helps bridge the gap between disparate radio types, building a single unified radio system with push-to-talk connectivity, no matter the radio brand, frequency or standard. It is suitable for use in a wide range of markets including emergency response, energy sector, security and defense. RoIP connects conventional push-to-talk radio devices to IP and cellular networks. Radio devices from different manufacturers can be made part of a single localized radio system, or transmit across the globe to remote sites, providing a unified radio network regardless of the radio brand, frequency or technology, locally or across the regions and globe.

Communication via IP can enable the interconnection between many different kinds of devices such as smartphones, 2-way radios, PSTN, VoIP phones, third party applications, etc. Important functionalities in radio communication devices or radio-phone “hybrid” communication systems are IO (Input/Output) controls over COS (Carrier Operated Signal/Switch) /COR (Carrier Operated Relay), GPIO (General Purpose Input Output) or VOX (Voice Operated eXchange) mechanisms for accurately enabling/disabling and relaying the voice transmissions.

talKKonnect concept is highly scalable and configurable set of “LEGO bricks for PTT communication” for small and medium size projects. Based on a field-proven Mumble VoIP engine and protocol, talKKonnect based RoIP solution provides a completely new communication dimension. It’s not just another VoIP product – it’s a complete control mechanism for voice and data services that are integrated with radios, phones, Input / Output signals, GPS and other modules.

Radios are far less used in the modern world due to a rapid expansion of cellular networks. But radios remain an important tool for mission-critical communications. In use cases where a communication device needs to remain rugged and highly reliable, for application in the “mission-critical” systems, radio still remains a preferred device in most businesses. Where the radio can be substituted by a smart, lower cost, “bring your own” device, in less critical communications scenarios, this is a viable option today. Specialized classes of rugged smart devices “Android radios” or “Walkie-talkie smartphones” are also gaining popularity. They are mass produced, but lacking the I/O functions that talKKonnect possesses, important for radio control.

The type of a radio – analog, digital, their frequency ranges, shape or form, power level, in the world of higher integration with other unified communications technologies is becoming much less important today. There is far less need to build wide area radio networks aiming for greater signal footprints on the ground; while the same or greater range can be achieved with IP based solutions with added redundancy, costing many times less.

This is why physical radio networks can be kept more localized, without the need to invest in expensive radio hardware for extending the range directly. Range can be extended more efficiently through lower cost IP based solutions (PTT over IP products and radio gateways).

“Radio over IP” commercial solution prices can vary wildly. Commercial solution prices can range from hundreds of dollars to tens of thousands and hundreds of thousands. However, this should not prevent innovative organizations from stepping into this technology to reap all the benefits of Radio over IP technology today.

A good rule of thumb in the communications world is to “start small” and “keep-it-simple” with anything new. One step at a time. As with the tin cans and a string. Just start talking between “A” and “B” and expand your “proof-of-concept” system, gradually, as you are gaining confidence and realize the true potential of RoIP products and technologies.

Once the benefits of PTT over IP and RoIP become apparent on a smaller scale, more building blocks can be added, piece by piece and the systems can grow into more comprehensive communication platform, that punches through the needless barriers and allow people to easily choose a medium for communication that suits their business needs the best, at any given time.

The described RoIP implementation approach is easy on the budget, too. Clients can be provided with small, low costing building blocks of technology to allow them to instantly start communicating and then proceed at their own speed towards building of a more unified hybrid IP communications system which can include both the legacy radios of any standard and the new “smart” technologies. talKKonnect based RoIP design is multipurpose, transformable to different functions. Highly adaptable, talKKonnect can be used as a standalone communication device or a RoIP gateway, allowing you to always find a good use case for the devices and never keep them on the shelf for too long.