As digital and two-way radios become more and more vital for teams across a variety of organisations, the work carried out can differ. Often, employees can find themselves working independently or even on-site alone. Two-way and digital radios are designed to keep both staff and visitors safe.
The purpose of a lone worker device is for your employer to keep you safe within a team, as well as the staff who work alone. As there are more and exclusive risks with working alone, the lone worker device is an essential tool to keep you away from these risks.
What is a Lone Worker Device?
A lone worker safety device is a discreet and undetectable tool which allows for communication with employers and emergency services.
The devices themselves are usually radio systems such as two-way walkie talkie, but can also be much more discreet devices in the form of an earpiece or an app.
Lone Worker Safety
Within your team or organisation, working alone is completely legal and is usually safe to do so. Your company should have carried out a risk assessment before placing you in a situation where you would be working independently.
For an idea of what you need for your business or site, read our blog on lone worker radio systems for construction workers, here.
Lone Worker Function
The Lone Worker function, also known as a Lone Worker Alarm is designed with solo workers in mind. It is an efficient, simple and quick way of ensuring the safety of workers throughout the working day. This function will provide managers and supervisors with regular updates on their wellbeing and the smooth running of their work. This will give both workers, supervisors and visitors peace of mind that their safety is cared for and monitored.
Lone worker devices feature the Man Down function, a great way of alerting supervisors on the safety of workers. The mission sensor sends an alarm to supervisors when:
The radio holder is moving more than what is considered the usual amount for the job at hand
The radio is completely stationary
The radio is positioned at an unusual angle for a longer period of time.
Most digital radios have the ability to be updated with lone worker functions. Get in touch with one of our experts during set up for any guidance you need. Learn more about lone worker function here, in our recent blog.
At Wall to Wall Communications we have over 40 years experience in bringing you the latest communications technology. So what do we do exactly?
Two Way Radio Suppliers
At Wall to Wall we are proud providers of two way radios across many industries. These include;Construction,Events,Security,Hospitality Leisure,Auction Houses,Transportation,Retailers,Film Production,Banks,Hospitals and much more. Our most recent case study includes the Bank Underground Station where we are providing a multi channel Hytera System that is connected with leaky feeder cables to allow signal to penetrate underground. You can read more about this case study here. In addition to this, we also provide two way radios to local charities such as the Croydon Legacy Youth Zone. For this charity we have provided 16 ICOM 4002 radios to enable staff to keep the premises safe, secure and working efficiently for the youth of London to enjoy.
Types of Two Way Radios
To enable us to provide two way radios across all industries, at Wall to Wall we have a wide selection of radio rentals. These include Digital Radios, Analogue Radios, ATEX Radios and more recently POC Radios. Whatever your budget and needs may be, we have the perfect radio for you. Do you need help finding the right one? You can read our blog post here which outlines the benefits of each, or you can contact us on 0208 770 1007, email us on email@example.com or fill out the form below for personalised advice.
Specialised Two Way Radios
Two way radios can be modified to provide additional features beyond just voice messages, to make them a crucial tool in the running of your business. Not only do radios provide communication, but they enhance efficiency, safety and security. Specialised features that can be installed on your radio include noise cancelling, discrete communication, man down, lone worker, GPS tracking (Trackitt), manager override function, integrated task management systems, text messaging, caller ID, emergency call functions and automated radio alarms. For more information on this, you can read our blog ‘Make Your Radio Right For Your Business’ here. Two way radios can also be designed to withstand the environment which they will be exposed to. For example if your radio will be used in construction they can be dust-proof. Alternatively, if your radios will be used for outdoor security they can be waterproof. Whatever your needs are, Wall to Wall can provide you with a communication solution.
Additional Services and Products
Whilst we are two way radio specialists, this is not all we provide. In addition to walkie talkies, we are now providers of body cameras which are particularly useful for customer-facing businesses. If you have any questions about body cameras, you can read our FAQ blog post here. In addition to two way radios, we also provide supporting technology such as leaky feeders, Distributed Antenna Systems and Radio Frequency Over Fibre. We even provide help with applying for an OFCOM licence and training staff on the use of two way radios!
Radio Repairs and Maintenance
Once we have provided you with your two way radios and communication system, the support does not stop there. With a team of in-house experts we are ready to repair your radios and keep them functioning at their very best. If your radios need to be taken off-site for maintenance then we will provide temporary radio hire so the running of your business is not interrupted. You can read our blog ‘Wall to Wall Going the Extra Mile’ to find out more.
A Distributed Antenna System can be the perfect solution for providing strong and reliable radio coverage and wireless connectivity in certain situations. A DAS is a network of antennas evenly distributed over a certain area, all connected by a common source. This is an alternative option to a single antenna which has a smaller area of coverage, a weaker signal and consumes more power.
DAS has been around for many years. However, it is the result of increased demand for wireless systems within buildings, remote areas and across difficult coverage areas that has spiked the demand for this technology.
There are also two types of DAS; Outdoors Distributed Antenna System (oDAS) and In-building Distributed Antenna System. iDAS can be useful for increasing wireless signal across large areas by being placed atop of high poles and buildings such as streetlights and utility poles. iDAS on the other hand can boost wireless coverage inside larger structures such as stadiums of office headquarters.
Advantages and disadvantages of a Distributed Antenna System (DAS)
The DAS is becoming increasingly popular as a result of its numerous advantages and applications. Whilst the Distributed Antenna Systems installation are more costly and complicated, their advantages often outweigh their disadvantages.
Advantages of DAS
Increased signal coverage over a defined area
Multiple antennas use less power all together than a singular antenna
Fewer coverage holes
Can be used in situations where other telecommunication technologies would not be suitable
DAS do not need to be placed as high up as a single antenna to provide the same coverage
DAS overcomes the penetration and shadowing losses because a sight link is more available. This results in a reduced delay speed and a reduction in fade depths.
Disadvantages of DAS
Higher cost compared to a single antenna due to additional infrastructure
Although the antennas can be placed lower down, the increased number of antennas can result in a greater visual impact
Distributed Antenna System Wifi
One of the less common uses for DAS is its ability to provide Wifi. Whilst it is usually internet service providers that supply a large building with Wifi, this can also be done with the use of a Distributed Antenna System.
Radio Frequency Over Fibre is a way of transmitting radio waves via a fibre optic cable. The Radio Frequency is first converted into light, where it then travels along the fibre optic cable, before being recovered by an Optical Electrical modulator (O/E) and converted back into a Radio Frequency once more. Unlike a traditional copper coax cable, the transmission along a fibre optic cable can travel more than 300ft and is not distance limited. This makes Radio Frequency Over Fibre more applicable to many businesses.
A Radio Frequency Over Fibre consists of 4 parts:
Light Source/Laser Diode
Electrical-optical Modulator (E/O) which converts the Radio Frequency into a light beam
Transmission Medium: This is a single-mode fibre-optic cable. This cable has minimal light reflections to lower attenuation and allows the signal to travel longer distances.
Optical-electrical Modulator (O/E) which converts the light beam back into a Radio Frequency signal on the receivers side using a photodiode or avalanche photodiode (APD).
Radio Frequency Over Fibre can be categorised as either ‘Radio Frequency Over Fibre (RFOF) or Intermediate Frequency Over Fibre (IFOF).
RFOF: A RFOF signal with a radio frequency greater than 10GHZ is imposed on a lightwave signal before being transported over the fibre optic cable.
IFOF: An IFOF with a radio signal frequency less than 10 GHZ is used for modulating light before being transported over the fibre optic cable.
Where can you use Radio Frequency Over Fibre
One of the main uses of RFOF is its ability to provide wireless coverage to ‘dead zones’. These can include tunnels, behind buildings, mountainous areas, inside structures and secluded areas.
Advantages of Radio Frequency Over Fibre
There are many advantages of Radio Frequency Over Fibre. These include:
Easy installation and maintenance
Lower cost as a result of easy maintenance, simple installation and low power consumption
Low risk of noise and electromagnetic interference
Lower transmission losses
Radio frequency signals can be sent over large distances without the use of repeaters
Adaptable with future advancements. Fibre Optics can cope with higher speeds than today’s technology, meaning they are able to be used with future advancements.
Wireless access: A single antenna can receive any and all wireless communication carried over a fibre optic cable. This includes 5G, cell, Wifi etc…
There are two types of two way radios, licenced and licence-free radios. For licenced radios it is required by law to obtain an radio licence from OFCOM.
Licence-free radios are a cheaper alternative to licenced radios. They can be bought and used straight away without obtaining a licence from OFCOM. This is because they have a relatively low power output of 0.5 watts, and only have a small range. This makes them the perfect option if your business is functioning in a small building e.g. retail, construction, smaller schools or any other site where minimal coverage is required within close range. Licence-free radios are also ideal for personal use such as when skiing, hiking or at a leisure park where mobile signal is not available. Their benefits include:
Simple to use
Professional use within a small range
Licenced radios are the slightly more costly alternative as they are designed to have a higher power output of up to 5 watts, offer increased coverage and range. If your business is functioning over a wider area or on a larger site a licenced radio with the addition of an OFCOM licence is required. This will allow your site access to dedicated frequencies and additional features. The benefits of a licenced radio include:
Specific to your site
Clear audio quality
Conversation more secure
Send text messages
Dial up individual users
Wider and longer range
Types of OFCOM licence
When it comes to OFCOM licences it is not a one-size-fits-all scenario. Depending on your needs, your business will require different OFCOM licences. These can range from £75 for 5 years, all the way up to £9900 per year, so it is important to find one that meets your criteria. So what OFCOM licences are they, and how do you choose the right one?
Simple UK Light- This is one of the most affordable OFCOM licences costing £75+ for 5 years. Every holder of a Simple UK Light licence will share access to a number of radio tones and frequencies. This will allow for communication across the UK without the use of a base station. This licence is ideal for companies who function throughout the country and need a wide coverage.
Simple Site UK- Also costing a relatively low £75+ for 5 years, the Simple Site UK licence will allow for radio use within a 3km radius of the base station or paging system. This is the perfect license if your business functions at a static location.
Technically Assigned (Shared and Exclusive)- This OFCOM licence can range from £75-£1480 per year and frequency. This licence will allow your company to use a designated frequency within an allotted area with the use of a repeater. The shared licence will allow for a frequency to be used up to 50% of the time, which the exclusive licence is more expensive but can be used more than 50% of the time.
Area Defined- This OFCOM licence varies from £75-£9900 depending on the size of the area covered. This licence can cover radio frequency up to 50km2 and can be tailored to your needs. This means your business pays for what it needs and only what it needs.
At Wall to Wall we provide you and your business with assistance and advice on which OFCOM licence would best suit your needs. We also offer assistance obtaining and managing your licence after purchase. Read more about how Wall to Wall Communications can help you with your OFCOM licence application on our blog ‘Wall to Wall Going the Extra Mile’.