Calling it ‘old-school’ does not actually do it justice. In fact, this is a mistake whenever people assume that the walkie-talkie is an old technology and cellular phone is it’s more evolved or developed keen. The truth is, the cellular phone and the walkie talkie are two entirely different gadgets. Even the more advanced digital walkie talkies in Singapore have different functionalities and advantages compared to regular mobile phones.
Although people say that walkie-talkies cannot be used to send text messages, do not have audio-visual capacities of modern cellular phones, or allow internet connection, the quick answer to that is: walkie talkies were never designed and built for all these to begin with.
Function and Structure of the Walkie Talkie
So what is the walkie talkie and what is it for?
Walkie talkies are point to point communication that do not work based on satellite network connection the same way the cellular phone does. Instead walkie talkies work based on allocated frequencies which. It uses ‘channels’ where transmissions and receptions are made. These frequencies and channels work similar to radio channels or ‘stations’ which is why walkie talkies are often referred to as ‘two-way-radios’. In addition, radio frequencies are limited in range and therefore walkie-talkies are also limited in terms of range. The usefulness of a two-way radio diminishes as the distance between users.
Cellular phones on the other hand uses satellite networks which means it is not dependent on limited coverage of frequencies. Considering the coverage of satellite networks which can practically span across, the globe expand, cellular phones have very little limitations in terms of distance.
Another alleged weakness of the cellular phone too, is that it cannot support continuous ‘talk’. Since walkie talkies have integrated microphone and speaker system, users would have to press a button to speak and release the button listen unlike cell phones with separate microphones and earpieces that allow natural, uninterrupted talking and listening. But this is an advantage only if the purpose of communication involves extended chats. The walkie talkie on the other hand is meant only as an emergency device for communication that involves simple conversations. In many cases, even the best walkie-talkies in Singapore are used only for short messages like communicating warnings, simple instructions or messages.
Limited Functionality but Tremendous Reliability
Despite these limitations, the walke talkie have different functions which cellular phones cannot perform. One, since cellular phones are not dependent on satellite signals, it can function virtually anywhere and under any condition provided the communication covers short distances. Although, frequency channels have limited range, they are also more reliable compared to satellite coverage. In other words, cellular phones loses ‘signals’ while walkie talkies do not.
Walkie talkies are also considerably cheaper considering its reliability. Of course again, walkie talkie were obviously designed for very specific functions over limited distances but this also makes it more practical since there are walkie talkies rentals in Singapore precisely for such short needs while there are no such options among cellular phones. Lastly, while cellular phones have almost 20% error or malfunction rate, walkie talkie failures are only at a measly 4-7% which attests to its considerable reliability especially in times of emergency.