Understanding high-powered paging systems
Paging transmitters play a vital role in establishing a reliable broadcast network and ensuring communications reach their intended destination instantly.
So if reliability, security and efficiency are essential for your paging system, then it pays to know a little about how paging transmitter technology works.
But first: How do paging systems work?
Pagers are small telecommunication devices that receive radio signals which are decoded as messages.
Transmitters (also called paging base stations) broadcast over specific frequencies. When a pager ‘hears’ its unique address, it receives the message and alerts the user.
Paging systems broadcast over high-frequency radio signals. High-powered paging transmitters and antennas enable the signal to reach further with less interference than mobile phone networks.
Five ways paging systems are superior to mobile phone communication
- More reliable
- Less interference
- No-delay message delivery
- Modern security protocols reduce network vulnerabilities
- Secure connectivity over large areas
From restaurant pagers that beep when your meal is ready to nationwide emergency services networks, paging systems remain vital in today’s society.
UHF vs VHF paging transmitters
To understand which transmitter suits your paging system, we first need to examine the differences between the frequencies they use to communicate.
Paging systems broadcast over one of two frequency bands:
- UHF or ultra-high frequency
- VHF or very high frequency
Generally, metropolitan paging systems use UHF bands, while regional and remote paging systems rely on VHF bands.
But it’s not always so straightforward.
Each has pros and cons for performance and reliability. Let’s look at UHF and VHF paging systems in more detail to understand the important differences.
UHF paging transmitters
Ultra-high frequency, or UHF, refers to frequencies with short, strong wavelengths (30cm to 100cm).
Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, TV broadcasts and CB radio all use UHF technology.
Broadcasts from high-powered UHF paging transmitters are strong enough to travel through walls but do not reach as far as VHF. This is why most urban paging systems use UHF paging transmitters:
- Hospitals and health facilities
- Office buildings
However, extending the range of a UHF paging transmitter is possible by using a repeater or additional base station.
What is UHF CB?
Citizen Band (CB) radios allow people to communicate over short distances, for example, truck drivers and caravanners with handheld radios.
The Australian Media and Communications Authority (ACMA), which regulates radio frequencies, has set aside UHF frequencies for CB communication in the 476.4125 to 477.4125 MHz band.
(STI Engineering UHF paging transmitters operate in the 929 to 932 MHz band, so there is no interference with CB channels).
VHF paging transmitters
Very high frequency, or VHF, provides better coverage over long distances, especially outdoors.
The longer wavelengths (100cm to 1,000cm) can travel much further than UHF, although obstacles like buildings are more of a nuisance.
High-powered VHF paging transmitters are often used in public safety systems, remote mining and agriculture settings, aviation, shipping and emergency services.
For example, STI Engineering equipped Belgium’s nationwide ASTRID emergency broadcast network with 189 high-powered VHF paging transmitters in 2021 as part of a national public safety upgrade.
High-band vs low-band VHF
Many consumer products use VHF frequencies, including toys, handheld microphones, tablets, and computers.
These transmit comparatively weak signals using low-band frequencies well below the 138 to 174MHz band that STI Engineering VHF paging transmitters use.
Which transmitter to choose for your paging system
Both UHF and VHF paging transmitters have advantages for different paging systems.
But the best choice of paging transmitter always comes back to its intended application.
The environment, industry, use, security requirements and legacy paging system provide context for choosing between VHF or UHF paging transmitters.
To get expert advice and ensure you’re making the right call, reach out to STI Engineering. Our experience and technical expertise will help you dial into the right frequency for your paging system and implement a reliable, cost-effective solution.