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Digital and Analog Radios: What You Need to Know

Just like any gadgets of today, many technologies have made the transition from analog to digital, and radios are not an exception. Analog radios have been a reliable piece of equipment during their early years and some places still use analog radios simply because they are much more used to it than newer ones. Digital radios have been made with one thing in mind: innovation. So, what do you need to know about digital and analog radios? Read below to learn more: 

Digital and Analog: Advantages

Digital radios have been made for innovation, that is why you will see many features in a digital radio compared to an analog one. Digital radios, for one, have more quality in their audio compared to analog since modern algorithms enable digital ones to discern conversations from background noises. Digital ones also have GPS technology, which is a fairly new technology compared to analog radios. Newer software is also relayed for digital radios which ramp up its features and reliability over time.

For analog radios, its advantages are mainly because older technologies are easier to use for many people. There are also lots of accessories devoted to analog radios since they have been around for a long time now. Since analog ones are older, they are also cheaper since they use a simpler signal system called frequency modulation, or FM in short. Plus, analog radios make full and good use of bandwidths.

Digital and Analog: Disadvantages

Since digital radios have more features than analog, many analog users would find digital radios daunting to use. Just imagine using the same old radio for decades and suddenly, a newer radio came in with lots of features. Surely, we will have a difficult time learning how to use the new ones. As digital radios have many features, you can also expect to spend lots of money compared to when buying an analog one. Since you are paying for more technological advancements packed into one device, be prepared to spend more bucks on your digital radios. 

For analog radios, the main disadvantage is the background noise you hear when calling. As analog ones have more basic algorithms compared to digital ones, you will most likely hear every background noise present in your call. Some people prefer to hear background noises to assess the environment of the one they are talking to, but the majority of the people do not love this. Apart from the background noise, analog ones are also archaic in terms of technology and will have limited functionality compared to digital ones. 

The Verdict

For this comparison, the digital radio easily wins. Packed with multiple technologies sandwiched into one, the digital two-way radio is the better device to use since it has more functionality, is more reliable, and is sturdier than its parent analog radio. Analog radios on the other hand are cheaper and easier to use for some, so usage is really dependent on the user’s past experience with two-way radios. Older people will more likely choose the analog, but if functionality and reliability are the concern, the digital one is your best bet for two-way radio communications. 
Want to know more about our digital two-way radio systems? Visit Tidewater today to learn more!

Increase Mall Security With Instant Communication

There are over 116,000 shopping malls in the United States alone. Many of us go to malls to have fun, shop for presents, or spend the day with family and friends. We often do not think about “bad” things happening at malls. However, malls can be a breeding ground for theft, and the instant communication methods that your mall employs can make a difference. 

Loss Prevention and Surveillance 

With our two-way radios your mall security can do the following: 

  • Easily identify shoplifters and alert other members of security. This allows for fast response times and the ability to stop the shoplifter.
  • Identify and alert others of a returning shoplifter. Oftentimes, if they steal once, they will steal again. Even if they are banned from the mall. With a two-way radio, if a security guard identifies a returning shoplifter, they can quickly react. 
  • Alert others of potential suspicious behavior or disruptive customers. 

Security members can discreetly communicate with individual team members or the whole group. Those who are stationed at the front entrances can communicate to those in the surveillance room, and those that are spread throughout the mall, and so forth. Radios allow for a large communication web between all mall security personnel.  



An emergency can strike whenever, and it is important that mall security personnel be on top of any and any emergency with instant communication. Some example emergency situations where a two-way radio can come in handy are: 

  • A medical emergency. Respond fast to medical emergencies with instant two-way communication. Call 911, clear exits, and get the person the medical help they need and fast. When an emergency strikes, it is all hands on deck, and security personnel are always going to be the first to the scene. It is important that everyone is alerted and knows their place in a time of emergency. 
  • Fire or natural disaster. In the event of a fire or some other natural disaster, it is important that all exits be cleared and that the mall gets cleared out via the safest possible route. Two-way radios allow security team members to work together, and have constant communication throughout the whole situation. 
  • A dangerous guest or shooting. While we always hope that these things do not occur, it would be naive of us to suggest that they do not occur. The best thing we can do in scary situations such as these is to be prepared. With two-way radios, security members will be connected with just a touch of a button. This allows team members to take the best course of action should something tragic happen at the mall. 

Maintenance Alerts 

Mall security are the eyes and ears of the entire establishment. Perhaps there is a plumbing issue in one of the bathrooms, a guest might seek out the first security guard that they see and alert them. It is then this guard’s duty to ensure that others are alerted and that a plumber or maintenance team gets to the bathroom ASAP. 

Malls tend to have food courts, which also means an increased chance that a spill occurs. If someone spills a drink in the middle of the mall, this can be quite a hazard for guests. The mall could even be held liable for not cleaning up such a mess in the event that an individual slips and falls. Waste no time when a spill occurs, alert a clean up crew via radio, and monitor the spill until someone is able to come and clean it up. 


Mall parking can get crazy at times, especially during peak shopping seasons like the summer and during Christmas. It may sometimes be necessary to have security guards out at mall entrances and throughout the parking lot or parking structure directing traffic with cones and flags. With two-way radios and the best Motorola devices, security guards can communicate when various parking levels or lots are at max capacity, allowing for a more seamless parking experience for guests. 

Protect Mall Staff and Customers Today 

You might think a cell phone would be an easy solution, but this would be wrong. Cell phones are pricey and highly distracting. Security guards need to be on high alert 24/7, and providing them with two-way radio devices will ensure that they are distraction free. Learn more about how our 2-way radios and devices can benefit your mall security staff and keep shoppers safe no matter what.

Two-Way Radios: Digital Versus Analog

Analog radios were initially used by the military in the early 1900s. By the 1990s the digital radio was being developed. So which radio is better? The original analog radio or the more modernized digital radio? What is the difference between the two? While most of our Motorola two-way radios feature digital designs, we still offer analog radios like the VX-261 and the VX-264. Choosing the right radio is all about looking at your two-way radio needs and weighing the pros and cons of each device.

Benefits of Digital Radios

For one, digital radios tend to have coverage that is 40% better than analog radios. Other benefits include higher voice clarity, larger range, and more advanced software that is constantly updated. The amount of background noise is decreased due to the radio’s ability to differentiate between human conversation and background noise. This is a huge advantage since background noise can make communicating efficiently extremely difficult. Other benefits of digital radios include:

  • Higher battery life by 30-50%
  • More clear and functional regardless of their range
  • You can hold conversations with multiple individuals on a single channel
  • Compatible with more applications like GPS tracking and unit ID
  • Various safety features that digital radios can be equipped with for fleet units
  • Allow for hands-free Bluetooth communication, which is helpful for those who use them on the go while operating a vehicle or other heavy machinery.

Digital Radio Downsides

There are many benefits to digital radios, but there are also a few disadvantages. Digital radios are more complex than analog radios. For this reason, they do take a little getting used to compared to analog radios.

These radios are unable to handle radio frequency or RF signals. This means that if there is RF noise then the radio may drop the signal altogether, which can be crucial. As with most newer technology, digital radios tend to be more on the expensive side than analog radios. This is in part due to the advanced technology of the devices and all of the options that they come with nowadays.

2 way radio

Benefits of Analog Radios

Analog radios tend to be more simplified and standardized. Due to the simplicity of analog radios, they are typically easy for the average person to use and operate. You do not need to be a super tech-savvy individual to enjoy the benefits of two-way communication. They typically come with a push-to-talk option for easy communication. Since these radios have been around for a while, they are more affordable than digital radios. This is due to the simplicity of the system.

These radios use what is called an FM or frequency modulation, which requires minimal technology for the device to function. There are many companies that prefer the traditional ways of analog radio. The way these radios work is through sinusoidal value waveforms. This means that voice signals are transmitted on a continuous wavelength. Another plus is that they efficiently use bandwidth and do not have digital interference when it comes to the transmission of the human voice.

2 Way Radio

Analog Radio Downsides

The signal of an analog radio decreases once the range is almost exceeded. For this reason, and considering if you are looking to communicate with a large team of people, then analog might not be the best way to go. On a given channel, typically only one two-way signal can be held. This can cause frustration amongst staff or team members when multiple individuals need to communicate at a single given time.

In addition, the technology of the devices is unable to be upgraded. Which makes it unable to support applications needed by businesses. However, analog radio is still a good viable option for radio communication.

If you don’t need all the fancy options that come with digital radios, then analog might be right for you. A local church might find analog radios to be just the right fit. They will only use the devices within a specified perimeter for a couple of hours at a time. However, if you are a trucking company, looking to use radios over the distance of hundreds of miles for long periods at a time, then digital radios might be best for you.

Check out our wide variety of 2-way radios, and let us help match you with the perfect radio system for your company or event


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