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Cell Phones vs Radios for Security

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  • Maelstrom
    replied
    One site I'm aware of has basic 'non-commercial' 2-way & a cordless phone system, because of environmental factors there are 'dead spots' where neither have sufficient reception/access to colleagues... necessity requires the SOs to also carry personal/private cell phones

    If it were up to me... I'd choose the commercial grade VHF option everytime, cell towers have a habit of getting overloaded in times of crisis (as already stated).



    I should also add that when SHTF, it's dramatically easier to 'key-up' a portable radio than attempt to negotiate through the phone menu to select the number you require (all whilst keeping one eye on the offender)
    Last edited by Maelstrom; 12-23-2007, 11:59 PM.

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  • Investigation
    replied
    At the facility where I work, we utilize two-way radios with voice encryption. The ability to instantly communicate with a co-worker is priceless (sometimes you don't have time or the ability to talk on a cell phone).

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  • rauker
    replied
    Cell Phones

    I work for haspital police. We use both, a Nextel and a two way. The only problem we have that all 25 officers have a direct connect number each. So you can only reach one person at a time. But we also have a group number, the problem here is if you want to get a hold of veryone at the same time, you have to scroll trough and find the #. Sometimes you just don't have enough time to do this and that why we still use two ways.

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  • CAP
    replied
    Out Patrol Division uses a Trunked UHF system. Most of our Patrol Officers have Nextel that we use just to chew the fat on.

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  • SecTrainer
    replied
    Originally posted by tacscuba View Post
    I agree with Minneapolis. The direct connect on the nextel's is a really good feature. When you pay the Nextel bill, not only are you getting cell phone coverage for your officers, you're also getting two way radios, on or off the network.
    One other not-so-small advantage of using any PTT (push-to-talk) cellular radio system (and all cell phones are radios) is connectivity to the police by using just one unit. Another is that the PTT system will not involve licensing headaches. In some areas, unless you trunk off an already-licensed system, licensing can be a real chore and it gets worse if you start talking about towers and repeaters.

    You can also achieve Internet access using the PTT phone, although you're talking fairly pricey service contracts in some cases. It looks to me like these prices are going to be coming down in the coming months as 4th-gen WLAN services are deployed and competition heats up. The long-term trend in WLAN technologies is to provide "Internet access everywhere, to everyone" and this is a VERY good thing for our industry. It's happening in other parts of the world faster than it is here due to our ancient, convoluted regulatory processes.

    In order to achieve public safety access with 2-way radios, you would either have to work out a deal for a shared frequency (and then select radios capable of implementing such), which is pretty difficult to achieve in many places, or else...you carry separate cell phones! Now you're back to juggling two radios...and maybe a pager too. The PTT phone can do all three plus the Internet (especially text messaging) as noted above.

    Finally, this in particular with respect to Internet/data access: Text messaging is the main thing you need portable units to do. Do not lay off onto your portable comm units chores that can and should be handled by WLAN-enabled mobile laptops.

    I would strongly suggest field testing whatever system you are thinking about using. There are communications companies that will rent you whatever you are thinking about using (many of them rent out Nextels as well as 2-ways) and satisfy yourself about several things:

    1. Coverage across your security service area...and your PLANNED service area if you have future expansion in mind.

    2. Ease of use of different features of the units by officers in the field. If you live in cold climes, test the units while wearing gloves. Prioritize the features your officers will use most and be sure to test those, if nothing else.

    3. The quality of accessories such as shoulder mikes. Some are simply crappy. If there are range-increasing accessories such as vehicle-mount antennas, etc., and you want to use them, try them out too.

    4. Battery longevity/recharge issues under reasonably heavy use.

    You also need to do some research about the robustness and availability of the overall carrier system during area-wide disaster situations relevant to your particular area. No comm system is the least bit of good if it fails you when you need it most, whether it's cell towers going down or trunked radio towers/repeaters.

    On the last issue, once you have chosen and acquired your primary comm system, begin to think immediately about redundancy, at least in some rudimentary form. This does not have to be "redundant portables" in all cases (i.e., 2-way and cell phone), although it might be. A mesh network installed in your mobile units, for instance, can be configured with applications that provide redundancy for your "voice comm" system, while giving you substantial "everyday use" data capabilities of its own.
    Last edited by SecTrainer; 10-31-2007, 09:28 AM.

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  • tacscuba
    replied
    I agree with Minneapolis. The direct connect on the nextel's is a really good feature. When you pay the Nextel bill, not only are you getting cell phone coverage for your officers, you're also getting two way radios, on or off the network.

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  • Minneapolis Security
    replied
    Originally posted by integrator97 View Post
    Alot of people don't know that Nextel requires the use of their towers for the radios. You could be 30 feet away line of sight, but without hitting a tower, you ain't talking to each other. (well, I guess you could shout )
    Some of the newer Nextels have this feature:


    Direct Talk(SM)
    The all-digital off-network Direct Connect that works anywhere, anytime between compatible phones within a range of up to 6 miles (range will vary based on terrain and conditions). Direct Talk(SM) provides reliable back-up communications tool in times of emergency, network outage, or when traveling to remote areas not under Nextel coverage such as hiking, cruise vacations or inside buildings.

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  • NRM_Oz
    replied
    A mobile phone is compulsory for all S/O's nothing worse than being unable to call for help (ie. 000 or 911) because you have no mobile phone. Even a no credit mobile can access these services for free and be a contact tool if unable to attend. I have given out dozens of free Nokia phone chargers I have acquired that were either being tossed out or were given to me with new phones, to S/O's to keep in their work bags or bring onsite with them. There is no excuse for having a flat mobile whilst at work - especially a solo shift.

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  • Unit6
    replied
    i Agree but..... radios usualy dont give out like cells do. from being on a FD and from doing security for 3 years i have found that having both is far better then just having one.

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  • NRM_Oz
    replied
    Cost comes into it alot too. To outfit a team with portable radios. repeaters, perhaps add trunk calling ops and then send this through GPS - you are looking at 10's of 1,000's of dollars. Prepaid mobile phones with $100.00 credit will get you 1000 mins on some plans in Australia for a month. Also now I notice MOST S/O's come into the ranks and don't know HOW to use a radio. They have NFI about protocols, of what information and order must be delivered and how to respond to a Signal One (SHTF) call (aka Officer Down). I remind ALL people using radios, CALL SIGN TO / FROM and then give me the bloody location so I know WHERE to go or to look.

    Love the old motorola bricks as we used to have repeaters in the patrol cars, were reliable, could be used as a back scratcher and never broke on the job (despite many drops). Have used something like the Nextel units on a site and when a major blackout hit (I was without anything to recharge my unit on after 10 hours of use).

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  • Ganymede
    replied
    Originally posted by bpdblue View Post
    Personally I like to have them both. If in a good cell phone reception area, possibly a nextel would suffice. But if in a marginal reception area, a cell phone and a strong radio would be the best. If you don't have your own repeater system, a strong grms radio (i've seen some advertised for 25 mile range, but that probably means 5 or 6 good miles) is very important for contact with co-workers, the office, ect.

    A phone is usually necessary to call the police and fire departments, and other non radio available groups.

    I agree with this. I carry a two way radio and If I lose communication with the radio I pick up the cell. With how compact these devices have become I feel both are a necessity in security work.

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  • Hank1
    replied
    I use the Motorola radio as well as the cell phone. Our radios have "Private/supervisor" mode but we rarely use that feature. Certain information just just not be transmitted using the radio.

    Be Safe,

    Hank

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  • Mr. Security
    replied
    Originally posted by bpdblue View Post
    Personally I like to have them both. If in a good cell phone reception area, possibly a nextel would suffice. But if in a marginal reception area, a cell phone and a strong radio would be the best. If you don't have your own repeater system, a strong grms radio (i've seen some advertised for 25 mile range, but that probably means 5 or 6 good miles) is very important for contact with co-workers, the office, ect.

    A phone is usually necessary to call the police and fire departments, and other non radio available groups.
    The police like cell phones, especially in areas where scanners can p/u radio transmissions. The downside is that the conversations are not recorded the way they are when run through dispatch. Unfortunately, some officers use the phones to keep information that might not be favorable to them off the record. Sorry, just a pet peeve of mine about radios.

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  • craig333
    replied
    I was absolutely blown away the other day. I go out to a site (I'll fill in for the regular guy while he's on vacation) and get the rundown. He tells me "when the battery (on the nextel) runs down, call dispatch and tell them you'll be out of contact for a couple hours while charging the battery". I carry my own cell phone but that the company would allow that just boggles my mind. Sure hope I can leave them soon.

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  • integrator97
    replied
    Alot of people don't know that Nextel requires the use of their towers for the radios. You could be 30 feet away line of sight, but without hitting a tower, you ain't talking to each other. (well, I guess you could shout )

    Leave a comment:

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