A Comprehensive Guide to Choosing the Right Two Way Radio

Key Comparisons Between PoC Radios, Traditional Two Way Radios, CB Radios and GMRS Radios.
January 22, 2024 by
A Comprehensive Guide to Choosing the Right Two Way Radio
Expert Mobile Communications Ltd.

In the realm of two-way communication, various radio options cater to different needs and scenarios. Whether you're a business professional, outdoor enthusiast, or emergency responder, selecting the right radio is crucial. In this guide, we'll explore the key differences between Push-to-Talk over Cellular (PoC) radios, traditional two-way radios, Citizens Band (CB) radios, and General Mobile Radio Service (GMRS) radios.

Key Comparisons

FeaturePoC RadiosTraditional Two-Way Radios (LMR)CB RadiosGMRS Radios
Network ConnectivityWi-Fi, Cellular Networks (3G, 4G, LTE)Simplex Repeaters

Frequency Range

Cellular Bands

VHF: 136-174MHz; UHF: 350-390 MHz

26.965 MHz to 27.405 MHz

Specific UHF Frequencies

RangeNationwide CoverageLimited Range (Several miles)Limited Range (Several miles)
Limited Range (Up to a few miles)
Licensing RequirementsIncluded with Cellular Plan
License Is Required (ISED License)No License RequiredNo License Required
ChannelsUnlimited ChannelsUp to 1024 Channels40 Channels16 Channels
InterferenceNo InterferencePotential for Network Congestion
Susceptible to Interference on Shared BandsSusceptible to Interference on Shared Bands
Privacy FeaturesEncryption and Highly Secure CommunicationPrivacy Features (Tone Codes) Basic EncryptionBuilt-in Privacy Features Depending on ModelPrivacy Depending on Brand and Retailer
GPS TrackingCommon Feature for Location MonitoringLimited to Large SystemsNo
Data TransmissionSupports Data, Text, and Multimedia MessagingPrimarily Voice CommunicationVoice Communication OnlyVoice Communication Only
InfrastructureRequires Cellular InfrastructureStandalone Radios with Repeaters (Optional)Direct Radio to Radio
Direct Radio to Radio

Common Use Cases

Broad Range of Industries and Applications

Various Industries and Localized Applications

Personal and Short-Range Communication

Retail, Hospitality, Outdoor Activities, Family Communication

Overview of Radio Technologies

1. PoC Radios

PoC radios leverage Wi-Fi and cellular networks (3G, 4G, LTE) for communication, providing nationwide coverage and unlimited channels. These radios already have their licenses included, making them accessible for all types of users. Encryption and secure voice, video & text communications, along with GPS tracking, are common features. At its core, PoC radios MUST be subscribed to a PTT app in order to get the PTT functionality, which also delivers access to various useful features depending on the PTT app you choose to use. iConvNet and Zello are popular with Inrico PoC radios. However, we recommend the use of iConvNet for Inrico PoC radios. At Expert Mobile Communications, we rent, sell and support Inrico PoC radios and software services.

Browse our inventory of Inrico PoC radios and accessories or continue reading to learn more about how PoC radios compare with other types of two way radios.

2. Traditional Two-Way Radios

Traditional two-way radios operate on FM radio frequencies (analog or digital) operating on either UHF and VHF bands. Traditional two way radios have limited range since they rely on the radio's antenna. This limited range can also be amplified with more powerful antennas (normally used for mobile/vehicle models). Their range can also be extended with the help of repeaters or gateway devices. Using the Inrico DR10 gateway, traditional two way radios are not only able to amplify their range, but they can also be used to merge their network with a PoC radio network allowing both traditional two way radios and PoC radios to talk to each other on the same network. In Canada, traditional two way radios also require licensing to operate (ISED radio frequency license). Traditional two way radios also offer privacy features like tone codes. However, their infrastructure relies on standalone radios with optional repeaters.

Traditional two way radios are popular with mining and oil and gas users, as they constitute the most expensive to operate, especially when long range and privacy is critical for their needs. However, privacy is a feature you can also find with every other type of two way radios depending on the brand. This leaves "coverage and range" as the  key deciding factor. If you require wider coverage and range, we recommend PoC radios. Whether you're choosing a PoC radio or a two way radio, we can help. Browse our inventory of Hytera and Belfone two way radios with their accessories or continue reading to learn more about how traditional two way radios compare with other types of two way radios.

3. CB Radios

CB radios operate within the Citizen Band frequency bands, spanning from 26.965 MHz to 27.405 MHz, across 40 publicly accessible channels. While these radios generally operate on open channels, certain CB radio brands may provide privacy features exclusive to their products. For example, configuring a common CTCSS/DCS code enables communication within a specific group equipped with compatible CB radios, such as the PRESIDENT Randy and Harrison models. This configuration restricts communication to users within the group who share the same CTCSS/DCS code, preventing others without this code from joining the conversation. CB radios do not require a license for operation. Widely used among long-haul truckers, CB radios enhance coordination among drivers on the road, contributing to improved overall safety. It's worth noting, however, that CB radios lack the advanced features found in traditional two-way radios or PoC radios and are designed for voice communications.

Browse our inventory of PRESIDENT CB radios and accessories or continue reading to learn more about how CB radios compare with other types of two way radios.

4. GMRS Radios

GMRS radios are the simplest types of radios to use, as they're purely engineered for their core Push-to-Talk (PTT) functionality. While they may appear simple, they offer up to 2W output power with a frequency range of 400 to 470MHz making them powerful enough to be used by various professional users. They are popular with retail, hospitality and recreational users, as they're the most affordable types of professional two way radios in the market today. GMRS radios do not require licensing to operate, offering moderate range communications across up to 16 publicly accessible channels. While they may seem basic, GMRS radios also feature privacy codes. Take the WLN GMRS radios from Expert Mobile Communications, for example. To ensure exclusive communication, our radios will only connect with WLN GMRS radios purchased from us. This privacy coding guarantees secure and interference-free communication within designated groups.

Here's a crucial tip: If you ever need to replace a GMRS radio, make sure to acquire it from the same store where you purchased its working counterpart. This ensures seamless communication between old and new radios. Otherwise, new radios may not sync up with their older counterparts. It's the key to maintaining a well-connected and reliable communication network.

Browse our inventory of WLN GMRS radios and accessories.

Choosing the right radio depends on your specific needs and use cases. PoC radios offer advanced features with nationwide coverage, while traditional two-way radios, CB radios, and GMRS radios cater to different ranges and licensing requirements. Consider your communication requirements and the features essential for your scenario to make an informed decision.

Selecting the right radio ensures effective communication, be it for business operations, outdoor adventures, or emergency situations. Explore the options, weigh the features, and make a choice that aligns with your communication needs.

Still unsure about what device to choose? Contact us for a chat about your needs.

You can also follow the links below to shop devices online:

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