Widgets Magazine

2.4GHz Wireless…for Audio?

You may have already heard that in the United States federal legislation may once again cause some discomfort for parties involved in the manufacture, sale and use of analog wireless microphone systems that operate in the 600MHz range.-* As a result, wireless manufacturers have been pursuing-* alternative technologies to address market needs and fulfill the requirements of the pending laws. Once such alternative is the use of 2.4GHz spectrum for wireless microphone transmission.
Most of us are already familiar with 2.4GHz technology in the form of Wi-Fi computer networks, specifically 802.11b and 802.11g/n networking platforms. If you are like me, you have probably experienced varying results with Wi-Fi. As a regular victim of poor performance and connectivity issues, I typically dart straight to any hardwired connection I can find for my computer. With so much congestion and so many issues, why in the world would anyone want to put a wireless microphone in this part of the RF spectrum?
First, the 2.4GHz space is and will most likely remain untouched by the FCC. This means that your investment is somewhat protected from legislative action that would render the hardware useless. If you were around when the FCC ruled the use of wireless systems in the 700Mhz space illegal, you know how much this can cost an organization.
Second, the usable UHF spectrum is shrinking and becoming more congested. This will make it more difficult to establish reliable wireless microphone operation in the UHF space, especially in larger metro areas. Keep in mind that the 2.4GHz space is very congested as well with cordless phones, WAP’s, Bluetooth and other telemetry devices. However, some 2.4GHz microphone technologies utilize a protocol that very rapidly switches frequencies. This increases link reliability and makes it more difficult for other devices to compete for the same spectrum.
Third, transmission range at this frequency is more than adequate for most applications. The typical 6 channel wireless deployment needs reliable transmission within 150′-200′ of the receivers. I can’t speak for all manufacturers’ products but there are several on the market that meet and exceed this requirement. FCC regulations allow for up to 100mW of output power in the 2.4GHz space. This is more than enough power to handle the average church or club stage.
Finally, the audio quality of digital 2.4GHz systems can be comparable to, and in some cases, improved over-*their analog counterparts. Most digital systems are free of companding circuits that can introduce artifacts and effect audio quality. This new found freedom allows for cleaner, more natural audio reproduction.
2.4GHz wireless microphone technology has come a long way.-* Manufacturers are learning to breed reliability, durability and great audio quality into their products. However, please do your homework when shopping as not all products are created equal.

About Author

Comments are closed.