motorola radios

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!

Two-Way Digital Radios Increase Security

Security is an ever-growing industry, with an estimated expected growth rate of 6% between 2016 and 2026. Security is everywhere, and a multitude of industries could benefit from utilizing two-way radios to amp up their security.  

  • Malls and shopping centers 
  • Event and concerts 
  • Sporting events 
  • Amusement parks 
  • Hotels 
  • Hospitals 
  • Banks and financial institutions
  • Government buildings
  • Museums 
  • Schools and Universities 

The list can go on forever. Two-way radios allow for sophisticated communication and the ability to identify potentially dangerous situations and neutralize a danger or threat before the situation escalates. 


Keep Everyone Safe 

Safety is the number one priority of security guards everywhere. How can they do that if they do not have the proper means of communication? We live in a world where anything can happen, both good and bad. The best way we can protect ourselves and community members is by always anticipating and expecting the unexpected. 

Our MOTOROLA radios are top of the line, military grade, and strong enough for any security team. Along with an increased need for security and security guards, comes with the increased need for proper communication tools. Two-way radios allow for fast response times, discreet conversations, and even short text messages to be sent between security guards. Don’t be caught off guard when an emergency or dangerous situation strikes, and be prepared to keep civilians out of harm’s way with instant communication. When it comes to communication, a delay in response of even a minute can make a difference between life and death.

Perfect For Any Security Team 

Whether you run a small hotel chain, or are in charge of supplying security for huge sporting events, two-way radios are there when you need them. They are distraction free, reliable when cell phones are not, fast and efficient 24/7. There are radio rentals available for any size security team in any industry. Two-way radios are easy to use and customizable depending on how many individuals need to be equipped with a radio.

There is also a lone worker function of two-way radios, that allow management to check in with security members. For example, management can send an alert to a security member, and the security member will need to press the push-to-talk button. This will tell management that the individual is alert and in a safe location. If the team member were to fail to push the button then this sends an alert.


Stay Connected  

The biggest threat to security is not being able to easily communicate with other security personnel. For example, hospitals and many hotels tend to have a lot of dead zones or dead spots within them. You probably have gone to the hospital once or twice and noticed that you had absolutely zero cellular coverage. This presents a huge threat to security. With two-way radios, not only do you have consistent coverage, but you have long lasting batteries and even backup batteries. 

Cell phones are not reliable when it comes to natural disasters, a telephone pole that goes down, or a power outage. If a city wide power outage strikes, how will security measures continue with systems down and no communication? This is why two-way radios are of the utmost importance. 

Stay Organized 

The beauty of two-way radios is the ability to have a group chat without the need of a cell phone. How so? Two-way radios have a multi-channel feature that lets you organize and group together various members depending upon their position and who you need to be connected to. You can also connect with every member at once and alert them of a situation. 

Two-way radios also have a GPS tracking feature, so that management can keep track of everyone’s whereabouts at all times. This can prove extremely helpful in case of an emergency where all personnel need to be accounted for.  

Be Prepared 

Security cannot keep an area secure without the proper means of doing so. An emergency, by definition, is a serious and unexpected situation that requires immediate action. You can’t expect the unexpected if you aren’t prepared for it to happen to begin with. If you run a team, or are looking for a little extra security for your small business, two-way radios are your answer. Your staff will thank you, and so will your customers or clients.

Motorola Releases Ion Smart Radio


2-Way Radio, Android Platform, Open App Ecosystem, LTE, Wi-Fi

MOTOTRBO Ion brings together renowned PTT performance, an open app ecosystem on the Android platform, and access to the Motorola Solutions technology ecosystem — including video security and analytics, and best-in-class network security. With Ion, teams stay connected across networks and devices. Business-critical data and workflows are unified and simplified. And the capabilities your workforce needs to be at their best are always on.

  • Android platform
  • Open app ecosystem
  • Full multimedia capabilities
  • Built for any environment (IP68)
  • Industry-leading audio
  • Intrinsically safe
  • Seamless voice (DMR & LTE PTT)
  • Broadband data (LTE, Wi-Fi, CBRS)

Ion Capabilities


Full multimedia capabilities on an Android platform with an open app ecosystem. An intuitive touchscreen lets you view high resolution images, and an integrated camera lets you send — even stream — photos and videos.


Designed for dependability and ease of use, in any environment. Pristine audio quality lets you hear and be heard when it matters most. And ultra-strong materials — including a rugged touchscreen — are used inside and out for outstanding impact resilience.


Built to keep your workforce connected anywhere you do business. You can seamlessly communicate through voice and data, over public and private networks. And our Seamless Voice Handover feature automatically switches you to broadband when you roam beyond your smart radio system coverage, so your connectivity is always on when you need it.


A revolutionary ownership experience lets you deploy your smart radios faster and keep them in the field longer. With cloud-based configuration and provisioning, remote updates, and real-time device monitoring, you can deploy and maintain your radio fleet with minimal touch and downtime. So your IT team can spend less time managing devices, and your workforce can spend more time on-point and on-task.


Stay safe from cyber threats. A defense-in-depth approach provides multiple layers of security to help prevent unauthorized device access and malicious activity, and to safeguard your critical data.

Download the Full Brochure

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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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