Radio over Internet Protocol (also known as Radio over IP or RoIP) is a network technology for teams that use push-to-talk communication. RoIP is not a product or device — it’s a way of connecting radio users. RoIP sends push-to-talk messages as data over the internet instead of radio waves over the air. RoIP is similar to VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol): both technologies help people communicate with voice using the Internet.
Related: What Is Push-to-Talk?
How does Radio over IP Work?
Radio over IP works by enabling radio communication over the internet. RoIP connects groups and individuals with the same push-to-talk communication interface regardless of what device(s) the end user is using. For example, if a group needs to talk, but some people have one type of radio handset, some use another type, and yet more people have simple push-to-talk apps on smartphones, then RoIP can connect them all. However, it’s not the only way to connect people using multiple devices —more on that later.
RoIP vs LMR-only Radios
Radio over IP was invented in the 1990s to expand coverage for Land Mobile Radio (LMR), also known as two-way radio. LMR was invented in the 1940s and over time, teams discovered its many issues, the most important ones being coverage, reliability, and device limitations. You can read about all the problems with traditional radios in the free e-book 12 Reasons Radios Are Holding Your Company Back.
Radio over IP tries to address the problems of LMR by reducing the need for special networking equipment. And as we already noted, RoIP also means it’s a bit easier for people using a variety of devices to communicate.
Of the two, it’s no contest — Radio over IP beats LMR-only radios! But as we’ll explain, Radio over IP has plenty of issues of its own. Modern solutions are fast becoming the new standard for push-to-talk communication. First, let’s explore some of the benefits of RoIP.
The Benefits of RoIP Systems
Radio over IP has a few benefits, some of which we’ve already mentioned:
- Better coverage than LMR: Because the Internet is everywhere
- More reliable than LMR: Because traditional radio networks set up single points of failure
- More compatible devices than LMR: Users can choose from more radio handsets and use a few simple apps
- Somewhat lower cost than LMR: Users can forego some traditional radio equipment, which tends to be expensive to set up and operate
But these benefits still aren’t enough for today’s enterprise businesses and government organizations. Let’s explore some of the weaknesses of Radio over IP.
The Disadvantages of RoIP and New Solutions for Radio over IP
Push-to-talk communication has improved by leaps and bounds since the invention of LMR in the 1940s and RoIP in the 1990s. Leading companies across hospitality, retail, security, and transportation industries now expect push-to-talk solutions that provide more than simple voice messaging.
For teams to thrive, they need advanced communications functionality that Radio over IP still can’t provide. The disadvantages of RoIP include:
- Poor audio quality: RoIP still has all the audio limitations of radios
- Inherently unsecure communication: Encryption doesn’t come standard with RoIP
- It’s still voice-only, meaning if you want to share a business-critical image or video, you need to use something other than RoIP
- Location tracking is limited and requires special equipment
- Automations, user access to back-end information systems, and usage analytics are all but nonexistent with RoIP too
Many of these problems are typical of radios themselves. Some of them can be solved by adding new radios (at great expense).
Fortunately, there are newer, proven solutions to radio-centric problems that are easier to use or set up than radios and RoIP ever have been.
If you’d like to learn how far push-to-talk communication has advanced and what you should expect from a modern PTT solution for frontline workers, get the free Collaboration Solution Buyers Guide.
Now let’s examine the next generation of team communication.
The Next Generation of PTT: Push-to-Talk 2.0
Push-to-Talk 2.0 (PTT 2.0) is the future of push-to-talk. It’s a cloud-based service from Orion that easily outshines Radio over IP solutions both in terms of ease of use and powerful capabilities.
What Is Push-to-Talk 2.0? It’s a cloud collaboration platform for businesses and government organizations that radically modernizes push-to-talk so teams can be more productive, safer, and better connected.
You can learn all about Push-to-Talk 2.0 in the free fact sheet. Here are just a few reasons it tends to beat RoIP-based solutions:
- Crystal clear audio quality for voice messages, unlike radios
- End-to-end encryption (E2EE) and security: read this blog for more detail
- Multimedia messaging: users can securely send text, photos, videos, and files
- Location tracking built-in
- Big range of device support
- Integrations with other modern technology like HERE location tracking, ESRI mapping, and ATAK situational awareness
- Voice Bots that participate in talk groups and perform tasks to help teams get more done
There’s a lot more to that Push-to-Talk 2.0 can do. Get the fact sheet to learn more. When it comes to RoIP vs PTT 2.0, the clear winner is PTT 2.0!