There is no risk of malfunction due to automatic software updates when the software does not update. There is no chatty distraction of text platforms. Functionality is not affected by changes to volume or mute status as it might be on a heavily used phone. The wavelengths used reportedly have better penetration deep into buildings with shielded areas like around MR machines. They are bulky, and it would be hard to forget that one is on call when they are strapped to the waistband/belt.
When the pager goes off, it doesn't bother other people because they either don't know what it is or know it's a medical issue and is acceptable.
The major problem is that I constantly 'hear' my pager going off when other devices beep in a roughly-similar fashion even when I'm not wearing it and my heart starts racing, so I have to change the ringtone frequently to de-Pavlov myself.
On the other hand, all of that medical information goes over the air in plain text. It is trivial to capture and decode POCSAG , requiring less than $100 of hardware: a Raspberry Pi 3 has enough horsepower to handle the 2 RTL-SDR's needed to capture both the 929MHz and 931MHz bands.
Modern security simply demands that pagers go away (or at least be heavily modified). This is not a theoretical concern .
A pager-like device with proper encryption isn't extraordinarily challenging. But planned obsolescence or selling ads is pretty hard to do with this sort of technology, so despite plenty of interest from users, there's not that much interest from companies.
"An information technology worker from Johnson County recently told The Star about the issue after he stumbled across hospital pager information while playing with an antenna, which he bought to get TV channels on his laptop computer. With a simple program, the antenna picks up radio signals that can be digitized.
Except instead of picking up local TV stations, he started seeing things like this, with the patient's and doctor's names included:
RQSTD RTM: (patient's name) 19 M Origin Unit: EDOF Admitting: (doctor's name) Level of Care: 1st Avail Medical Diagnosis: TONSILAR BLEED, ANEMIA, THROMBOCYTOPENIA
It was the personal patient data of a 19-year-old man, broadcast across the airwaves for anyone to read. And it was coming from a local hospital, which was sending the message to a doctor on a pager."
Edit: Yeah I'm not entirely familiar with interference detection, but I would always suspect some HAM somewhere will figure it out and report it.
A single R820T can do about 2.56MHz bandwidth, which is enough to handle both bands simultaneously.
I have struck an old android wear watch to the front of the computer desk just to see the notifications from my smartphone. So when the notifications arrive, I can see it on the watch like a pager and it has cut my need to touch the smartphone for notifications which could potentially lead into a rabbit hole.
Yes a smartwatch on hand can do these as well, but reaching to it will likely lead to smartwatch rabbit hole. I use the smartwatch on the desk as read only, no actions.
Yup. I've got very, odd, sounds for all my "paging" needs. It's the only way to stay sane.
Interestingly enough it seems like 5G will operate in a similar fashion, albeit a little more modern, where at least the client can talk to multiple towers at the same time and send and receive from multiple towers as well.
It's an old technology but it works. Large parts of the world are still installing new paging networks as their old ones reach end of life. Part of my day job is designing the equipment for such networks.
If a response isn't received in an expected amount of time, then the sender takes the appropriate action.
People are far better at dealing with faults than any automated mechanism.
I'm surprised your pager is so expensive. Mine is around $6/mo through my employer.
Pavlov famously rang a bell while feeding his dog, eventually demonstrating that the dog would salivate at the sound of the bell alone, showing an adaptive link between stimuli and subconscious response.
I was building LED displays for bus stops to show information about the next bus. I found pagers to be a great match: cheap chips with integrated support for communications and displays, low costs for small text messages, great network coverage. But then the telecoms started shutting down the networks.
Now we are seeing the same thing with the push to 5G. I don't want 5G, I want 2G. Before there was TCP/IP over cellular networks, we had cellular packet data. Very power and network efficient, it was the basis for things like BlackBerry's push email. Now the 2G patents are expiring, so it could be cheap and ubiquitous, built into everything. But instead the 2G networks are getting shut down...
NB-IoT is probably where your application would go these days. Bi directional communication, cheap chips, and data plans around $10/device/year for 12MB , which is a lot of short messages (though things like OTA firmware updates might be painful).
I am not opposed to using more efficient network protocols, more that we are endlessly replacing old technologies with completely new systems. The selling point of 3G/4G/5G has been that they will have more bandwidth, so people can watch videos or use self driving cars.
What is more interesting to me is embedding cheap low-bandwidth smarts in more devices. The costs of the new and immature hardware gets in the way of that.
In the cellphone commercial sure but in technical reality it's about device density. There is only one set of airspace and only certain chunks are useful for where we want to communicate; getting the most devices able to communicate has been the leading driver of RF planning and design for quite some time now. Bandwidth usually materializes out of a combination of more "slots" to talk and simply not using restrictions needed for 20 year old consumer hardware.
I agree that at this point the cost of cellular IoT is higher than it should and the technology is immature. In the long term though, it would be a better choice than keeping a 2G network.
Also, firmware updates for these devices are a few KB typically and occur maybe once every 6 months. 12 MB per year should be enough.
NB-IoT is fine, I will have to use it. The cost of 4G/5G chips is a lot higher than older generations, to say nothing of what would happen if anyone can make chips.
Everyone just wants to sell me something new, because that's how they make money. When 3G came out all the telecoms were excited to sell video, as it would give higher average revenue per user. Turns out people don't want to pay more.
We get faster networks but keep the same price per GB, so with 5G I will be able to blow through my monthly bandwidth in 60 seconds. And that assumes that the carriers have the backbone capacity.
What people are telling you is that 5G is more than just a plot to sell you YouTube streaming. It is the only way carriers can scale the mobile network to meet its growing needs.
There are only so many ways you can cram more people into a shared medium like the RF spectrum....
The frequency bands these older technologies run on are very, very valuable. The prices paid at the last FCC frequency auction are a tiny fraction of the revenue those frequency bands will earn over the next decades.
Also factor in that in many cases, no new equipment is available for replacement parts, service contracts get increasing expensive as vendors milk the older tech, expertise is lost, features like remote management and interoperability with recent technology is poor....
The list goes on and on.
Remember, in the US, the FCC is only the current custodian of this shared property called the EM spectrum.
US citizens can and should take it back as their property, and demand all citizens profit equally from these auctions.
Other countries have declared internet access a basic human right... At a minimum that should be included in all future leases.
I wonder if it is optimum for society to price the spectrum so high that it is barely possible to build on it, then transfer the costs to the consumer. Basically it's a tax on technology. Or if it's not so high, then it's a windfall to the carriers.
I was just visiting Germany less than a year ago, and got a SIM card and a month of service there for EUR15. My coverage was just fine in cities and some smaller towns, and the data rate seemed just fine; I even used it for a VoIP conversation.
Your prices are much, much cheaper than here in the US. They're also significantly cheaper than Japan. From what I've read, your prices seem to be cheaper than, or on par with, most westernized countries. The only places that seem to be cheaper are eastern European places like Romania.
Seriously, I wish I could get good service as cheap as I found it in Germany; I'd be paying less than half of my current phone bill (and I already pay much less than most people I know, because they all insist on expensive full-service plans).
Coverage on Autobahns and train lines is pretty bad. In some villages it's also bad.
If so, that's great and all, but honestly, from an American perspective, EUR15 per month for 3GB of data is a very, very good deal. That's so cheap that I'm not sure I'd care much if another place was even cheaper.
I didn't notice any coverage problems while I was there, but admittedly I was only there 2 weeks, but I did take the trains a lot (but only in Bavaria). I never noticed any problems. I was using O2. I don't think the coverage was perfect all the time, but it's not perfect here in the US either, and I use Verizon which is generally accepted to have the best overall coverage nationwide.
In short, I think Germany has things pretty good from a global perspective, as far as cellphones go. Some other European places may be even better, but I just don't see much to complain about over there, when compared to any place outside of Europe.
That's nothing though - in Seoul, people are watching YouTube videos on the subway. In Germany, it only became reasonably pleasant to read text websites on the phone in the subway a few years ago.
A friend of mine also has a map of 5G hotspots in Switzerland, and there are already quite a lot, e.g. in Geneva, for such a small city and they have at least multiple tens already installed.
As to attaching “basic services” and other riders—these are outmoded, disproven ideas. Unfunded mandates and conditions invariably (1) reduce competition; (2) cost the public more money; and (3) produce opaque markets and trade offs that are impossible to quantify.
Granting license based on “public interest” type analysis is what got us into our current mess, with broadcasters holding valuable spectrum for low value television and radio services. (Likewise with the idea of granting cable monopolies in return for the public benefit of serving areas that would otherwise be unserved, which was such a bad idea Congress had to make it illegal.)
Almost every developed country has copied the US model of spectrum auctions. It was one of the foundational advances in the regulation of public goods in the 20th century. See: https://www.chapman.edu/ESI/wp/Porter-Smith-Hazlett-RadioSpe....
I feel the opposite -- why are the leases so expensive? Billions of dollars paid to the government for spectrum is a hidden tax since it's paid by consumers.
Much better would be to sell them for the cost of administration of the sale, but only upon approval of a business plan that weighs the value to consumers in awarding the bid. So instead of selling to huge telcos that can afford to pay billions of dollars, it could be sold to a much smaller company that may provide a better value to end users.
As to government review of business plans—the market is better at deciding what business models bring “better value to end users” than the government. We used to have exactly the model you suggest—the FCC would grant spectrum licenses based on its view of “the public interest.” It was a disaster—resulting in our current situation where huge amounts of spectrum are locked up in low value uses like over-the-air TV.
If they say they are going to sell wireless broadband at $xx/mbit to consumers, they need to follow through or lose their spectrum allocation, so there's no incentive to lie.
You’re aloud to sign things, so if you’re doing ip/packet you can use client side certs for authentication and then I think with OpenSSL there’s a way to only enable the “null” cypher.
The other issue is you’re not supposed to use it for profit (except selling radio equipment and I think there are other rules on that too) so you really couldn’t usefully replace your internet connection with it.
The licenses that the FCC auctions off have a finite term. E.g. this  license is owned by AT&T and expires in 2021.
So over the next decades those carriers have to purchase it from the FCC again and again and again.
I was always pretty upset about the low unlicensed power levels living out in the country side as a kid. The cell companies weren’t using the frequencies out there so why couldn’t we?
I’ve heard tv white space actually works that way although some telcos “cheat” by reporting that they cover way more area than they do. I’m so glad to have moved far enough into the city that I no longer care.
The FM/AM radio spectrum is too low frequency to be practical for cell phone use. The antennas would be outrageous.
This is the only way I'll ever allow work things on my phone.
The modern equivalent of this is a Blackberry device. My employer provides work phones (a mix of iDevices, Samsung garbage, and blackberries) and even though I think the BB10 OS was a total failure as a consumer product, for a work device where I had no desire for Snapchat or whatever, my old BlackBerry was perfect.
All I need in a work phone is a solid email/SMS platform and my employer-provided iPhone X is way overpowered for that use case.
If it's still an option, I'd be amazed you don't take it. I still have and love my Q10, but Wire has upped their minimum API level to 5.0 (above the runtime RIM shipped).
Especially when you have a dual-sim phone
There's a lot of things you can't easily buy in the US, but it's not because of some grand conspiracy, it's because American consumers wouldn't buy enough of those things to make it profitable to sell them. PC computers pre-loaded with Linux is one example (it's been tried, multiple times). Another example is "washlet" toilet seats, which almost every toilet in Japan is outfitted with. They were invented in the US, but good luck buying one here, though any appliance store in Japan will have them. They don't sell them in America because almost no one would buy them, because Americans just aren't as hygienic as Japanese.
I do get it's probably a bit of real and a bit of nostalgia.
I still remember the number too but don't remember a few of my phone numbers.
- Pager and It's Development: https://youtu.be/ebtppTU_sng?t=114
- Fancy Pager1970s Columbo: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rybqMKo8kQk
All ten of them.