How to Choose an Emergency Callbox
The most well-known application for emergency callboxes has been along major highways. While they are still in use in some areas, with everyone having cell phones, you don't see them there as much. However an emergency call box system has value wherever people congregate so we'll cover what types of systems are available and where they should be used. Some of the other places they are used are: parking lots, factories, parks, campgrounds, school campuses, tunnels, golf courses, waterfronts, bridges, sports facilities, corporate campuses, healthcare facilities, transit hubs, and military camps.
Four Types of Emergency Call Boxes
There are really four main types of emergency call box technology available; cellphone-based, wireless, wired CAT-5-based, and wired analog. Each one will be discussed below.
Cell Phone Callboxes
This is a form of wireless security call box that uses a cell phone network to communicate. It essential operates like any mobile phone in that it can call any phone number when its button is pressed. As long as the area you want to install it has a good signal from a nearby cell tower, this call box can be anywhere. It does require an AC power outlet to be installed somewhere nearby. Each callbox needs its own cell line and phone number.
Wireless Call Boxes
A wireless emergency call box is most likely to use 2-way radio frequencies that can communicate over longer distances assuming proper antenna placement. Like a 2-way radio, they are push-to-talk, release-to-listen systems that are not full-duplex communication. Given the lower power requirements of these radios, they can be battery powered which simplifies installation. These callboxes have built-in antennas, but they can use external antennas mounted up high to extend range. They can also work with repeaters to extend range. These callboxes also have switch contacts that could be used to trigger a flashing blue light.
IP (Internet Protocol) Callboxes
These callboxes usually require CAT-5 or CAT-6 cable run to them. They are IP-based (Internet Protocol) and may connect to a VoIP phone system, or be on their own self-contained network. The wiring distance limitation of any IP wiring system is typically 330 feet, however there are also extenders that can lengthen this distance, or fiber optic cable and converters can send the signal for many miles. These are what is often used as a campus emergency call box.
Wired Analog Callboxes
The simplest system uses analog telephone lines to call phones, or they may have 2-conductor wire between a master station and the callbox. These are usually not very advanced so they may not work well in loud areas.
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