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Paging networks in the UK use either POCSAG or FLEX protocols to transmit paging messages over the air to paging receivers. The POCSAG protocols can operate at three speeds, 512 bits per second, 1200 bits per second, or 2400 bits per second. Flex protocol speeds are higher and use four level modulation techniques to achieve 1600 bits per second, 3200 bits per second and 6400 bits per second.
Each radio channel uses a narrow band 25KHz channel spacing that can support up to 50,000 uses representing a highly efficient use of the radio spectrum.
There are 500 transmitting paging base stations around the UK that provide resilient coverage overlap in high population areas, and the best out door coverage in very rural areas such as central Wales, and the Highlands and Islands of Scotland where no other form of personal radio coverage is available.
Paging networks operate in a broadcast mode that sends a message to each of the transmitters simultaneously. They have safe guards that prevent reductions in message processing and delivery speed, regardless of the volume of traffic, protecting the network at the input stage using sophisticated service controls and more radio channels to spread the traffic load.
PageOne is the only wide area network in the UK which operates completely independently of the mobile networks. This offers vital resilience if normal mobile networks fail or are congested – as experienced with the New York and London terrorist attacks. Today, paging still provides an essential and robust service to many corporate and blue light users who have multiple communication strategies and require reliable backup.