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Why Frequency Hopping Spread Spectrum (FHSS) radio communications make OptionFinder® audience response systems a better choice

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 People often ask me if our response systems are reliable and if they are subject to radio interference.  They want to make sure that they can rely on their interactive system every time they use it in a meeting or class.  These questions are always welcome.  Not all radio keypad systems or “clickers” are the same.  Our OptionFinder® branded solution is truly superior.

Why is that?  Let me explain.   OptionFinder keypads utilize an advanced radio communication protocol called FHSS.  Frequency-hopping spread spectrum (FHSS) is a method of transmitting radio signals by rapidly switching a signal carrier among many frequency channels, using a pseudorandom sequence known to both the transmitter and receiver.

Why is that important?  The frequency hopping spread-spectrum transmission architecture of OptionFinder® hardware provides several advantages over the fixed-frequency transmission methods used in other radio keypad systems:

1. Spread-spectrum signals are highly resistant to narrowband interference. The process of re-collecting a spread signal spreads out the interfering signal, causing it to recede into the background.  That means they are more reliable.

2.  Spread-spectrum signals are difficult to intercept.  This makes the OptionFinder® system more secure than other systems.  The FHSS signal from an OptionFinder keypad or base station simply looks like an increase in the background noise to a narrowband receiver.  An eavesdropper would only be able to intercept the transmission if the pseudorandom hopping sequence was known.   

3.  Spread-spectrum transmissions from OptionFinder® keypads are able to share the 2.4 gigahertz frequency band with many types of conventional transmissions with minimal interference. The spread-spectrum signals add minimal noise to the narrow-frequency communications.  This makes for a more efficient use of bandwidth.  It provides an important advantage in installations with Wi-Fi (802.11) networks .

4. Because OptionFinder® systems use FHSS radio communications; they are able to use more power than other non-spread spectrum keypad systems sold in the United States.  Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulations permit systems in 2.4GHz band to use more transmission power than non-spread spectrum systems.  OptionFinder FHSS systems transmit with at least 10 milliwatts of power which is ten times  the 1 milliwatt limitation imposed on non-FHSS response systems.   That’s significant.  Because OptionFinder systems have ten times more transmission power they are more reliable.

We urge you to give careful consideration to your purchase decision and hope this information has been helpful.   We are confident  you will find frequency hopping spread spectrum (FHSS) radio communication to be one of many advantages of our OptionFinder hardware.  

- Mark Fite

Posted by Mark Fite

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