Modern radio communications systems are now beginning to see several technology options available. Although a proper consultative approach should provide a degree of identification and evaluation of the relevant technologies, the system documentation should preferably not define an exact technology but rather leave the vendors to offer their best solution to the overall needs and then a choice between technologies is made based on the actual user requirements with reference to the vendor offerings. The ability to define the user needs without specifying the technology option is very important as part of any system design, by doing this the options for the client are kept as wide as possible allowing for a much better outcome
Amongst the technology options available are:
- Standard analogue radio communications, including the various available additions such as selective calling and voting
- Trunked radio technologies, including MPT1327, SmartNet, SmartTrunk and LTR systems within the analogue radio sphere
- Receiver voting and transmitter steering systems
- Digital radio techniques, including Tetra and P-25 for major public safety systems, as well as the lower tier technology platforms more suited to commercial applications. These include DMR based on the European ETSI standards, as well as NXDN protocols such as IDAS from Icom and NEXEDGE from Kenwood and the dPMR standards which follow on from the NXDN systems. Each of these digital technologies has specific benefits, however, in general terms they are not interchangeable and so a choice of digital technology may well mean a choice of single supplier.
- Digital trunked radio networks, which progress on from the above and offer many more facilities and features for the larger user systems or those with specialised feature requirements.