Contact Us: 01506 418198 Telephone

Support Site   |   Country   |   Our Partners




Contact Us

Alarms & Monitoring

Emergency Services




Staff Protection





Emergency Services



Manufacturing & Construction




Desktop Telephony







WiFi Telephony

Multitone Electronics plc,

Multitone House,

Shortwood Copse Lane,



RG23 7NL

Tel: 01506 418198


Registered in England No. 256314. VAT no. 232150709. Copyright © 2015 Multitone. All rights reserved.   Terms & Conditions  |  Policies  |  Multitone Electronics plc  |  Kantone Holdings

LinkedIn YouTube

Critical Communications demonstrate why it is sometimes better to separate voice and data systems

Smart mobile devices have, by their very nature, brought voice and data convergence to a mass market. It’s easy to be convinced that they offer a reliable panacea communications solution – addressing all needs and offering the best value for money. However, when critical communications are a chief requirement the situation can become much more complicated. Whilst it is certainly possible to bring voice and data together, even for the most important emergency communications networks (with careful planning and the right level of consideration for the longer term), it may become obvious that separating voice and data systems could be a better solution. Whilst initially attractive, combined communications may not be that one-size-fits-all solution and alternative designs and infrastructure may prove to be a more effective solution where there is simply no option for failure.

One of the biggest benefits to using smartphones in any organisation is the ability to not only use the commercial cellular services but also a locally hosted Wi-Fi enabled solution. This is the kind of flexibility that is highly useful and cost-effective in most applications and was simply not available in the past. Whilst voice calls are still the most immediate and useful method of general communication for the emergency services, the wider use of rich data content is still just as important as it is for any other modern organisation.


Today we continue to build our onsite networks and links to the outside world to provide high speed rich data content to suit our needs. However, as each year passes the content, definition of graphics and tolerance to delays shift, requiring us to carefully manage and upgrade our onsite Wi-Fi and internet connectivity so it provides the best for users, for the foreseeable future. We continue this stepwise investment to keep abreast of IT demands of our users and as far we know this trend is set to continue. So is introducing VoIP, (Voice over IP), onto Wi-Fi network that continually struggles to keep abreast of our needs counterproductive? Whilst it uses an existing asset, upgrading for voice is not inexpensive.

When critical communications are at stake this is an even more important consideration and the answer is not necessarily a simple one. The issue with VoIP is that voice grabs bandwidth, making less available for data. As we struggle to keep up with our data needs, introducing something which deteriorates our level of service, may not be sensible. We also need to consider vulnerability to disruption. If our Wi-Fi goes down and we lose voice and data, it is potentially very serious - even life-threatening in the case of emergency calls. So should we actually consider voice and data separately?

When it comes to voice communications, VoIP systems have long been touted as a cost-effective and user-friendly way of making voice calls which are perfectly suited to running over powerful Wi-Fi systems. However, the downside to using VoIP is the resources it demands to carry voice over a network. While it uses an existing asset, upgrading a Wi-Fi network for voice can be very resource-hungry.

For many organisations this will involve substantially increasing the Wi-Fi capacity to gain the desired result. Modern voice systems could bring the benefits of smart devices and offer reliability to an organisation without the burden on IT - with savings not only in terms of the systems and the financial outlay for them, but also with regards to the time and resources required by the IT team and department in running them. Whilst there are considerable benefits to incorporating the IT and communications functions in one department, it also means that the resources of this department can suddenly be heavily stretched.

It’s a bold statement, but sometimes it would be better to separate voice and data systems. This seems to contradict the popular unified communications message, but for example when the emergency services and its users wholly rely upon its communications, having diversity and resilience is the main desirable feature. In some cases this might feel like a step backwards – but actually this is a great strength of using smartphones which are able to utilise both Wi-Fi and public GSM mobile networks, making full use of dedicated apps to administer this efficiently. It also means that the IT/Communications team can plan in detail the best ways to address communications needs for data without the interruption to critical voice services.

If used properly, smart devices could be the robust future communications tool for the emergency services, offering excellent capacity and resilience across Wi-Fi and public GSM networks. Whilst the pervasive trend is undoubtedly towards unification, careful planning of the infrastructure is essential and for some organisations this will mean diversification to ensure users get the most from these systems. It is of course possible to integrate data and voice data streams over a single IT network successfully, but this requires careful upgrades. It may also ultimately impact on the overall performance of data - when the need for information and rich content is booming - ultimately reducing the benefits and making the return on investment less attractive.

Happily the flexibility of smart devices means that different technologies can be used in the network design without an adverse impact on the people using the service. Whilst network design may be becoming more complicated, the usability of communications looks set to become even easier.