Trunked versus Conventional: Some Clarifications

man up pole in sunsetWhen choosing a new radio technology, the decision making process needs to incorporate multiple considerations; spectral efficiency, coverage theory, encryption, even interoperability.  There is a lot to think about.

One major consideration before you select the technology platform and migration program that will deliver the results you need, is to choose either a conventional or trunked system. Both options have distinct benefits but making the right choice can be difficult.

Trunking is a system option for larger networks and essentially makes it possible to allocate any radio channel to any user, maximizing the possible radio ‘traffic’ within any set of channels. DMR, dPMR, TETRA, P25 and MPT 1327 all offer trunked options, however only DMR Tier 2, dPMR Mode 2 and P25 Phase 1 offer conventional.

Here are some of the questions we regularly hear from customers facing this decision.

Aren’t trunked networks more expensive?

This is always a concern for customers who are considering the move to a digital trunking platform. However, there is a range of return on investment opportunities with trunked networks which conventional cannot deliver.

Conventional networks do deliver a lower initial CAPEX investment, however this does not take into account the considerable long term operational advantages that lead to the overall lower total cost of ownership of a trunked network.

Quite simply, trunked networks can accommodate more users, on fewer channels. Trunked technology efficiently rationalizes spectral congestion, allocating channels on a call-by-call basis. This results in fewer license fees, reducing costs significantly.

Trunked Networks also deliver significant worker safety benefits. Faster access to the network in an emergency situation delivers tangible operational and financial benefits whilst end user confidence is increased.

Trunked networks seem more complex? Are they difficult to understand and manage?

Trunked radio networks are more technically advanced and therefore they may seem more complex.

However, to the operator and the user, most of this complexity is concealed and automated by the trunking controller which runs the network. Once installed and configured, the day-to-day operation of a trunked network is straightforward, less demanding of your technical resource and more accessible to your workforce.

As an additional benefit, upgrading to a digital trunked platform can deliver spare network capacity in many instances; increasing revenue opportunities for the network operator through the leasing of the spare capacity to other users.

If several organizations utilize one network, Trunking Talkgroup management maintains communications integrity so that each can operate independently.  Privacy will not be compromised.

If you would like to learn more about this topic, download our new whitepaper: Digital Trunked Radio: Is it right for my organization?


  1. Trunked vs Conventional Radio Networks « Tait Communications Blog says:

    […] For further reading, the functional differences between trunked and conventional systems are summarized in the following articles • Technology Selection conventional or trunked P25: • Trunked vs. Conventional – Some Clarifications […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *