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Pager Facts


• The character Bob Pataki from the animated Nickelodeon show Hey Arnold! is an example of a successful pager salesman, as the head of the emporium chain Big Bob’s Beepers. The character was designed to be a firm representative of 1990s capitalist culture, explaining his love for a Wheel of Fortuneclone and his ownership of a Lincoln Continental and a Hummer in later seasons. Pagers were a featured segment on the “1991” episode of I Love the ’90s: Part Deux. The segment explored the device’s entrance into mainstream pop culture; it also discussed the humorous use of calculator spelling to send messages through the devices. A pager is used to deliver a message from God at (716) 776-2323 in the cinematic release of Bruce Almighty; the home video replaces this with a 555 number. The 30 Rocksitcom character Dennis Duffy attracts disdain and mockery for his career as a pager salesman. PagePlus has supplied pagers for props to many TV shows and movies. The Blacklist, Sandy Wexler (Adam Sandler Movie) just to name a few.


• A cell phone is only as good as the cellular or Wi-Fi network off of which it operates, so even the best networks still have dead zones and poor in-building coverage. Pagers also instantly deliver messages to multiple people at the exact same time—no lags in delivery, which is critical when minutes, even seconds, count in an emergency. Finally, cellular networks quickly become overloaded during disasters. This doesn’t happen with paging networks.


• So until cellular networks become just as reliable, the little “beeper” that hangs from a belt remains the best form of communication for those working in the critical communications fields. Yes, We have them at PagePlus.


• FCC did not approve pagers for use until 1958


• Bellboy was the first commercial system for personal paging. It also marked one of the first consumer applications of the transistor (invented by Bell Labs in 1947), for which three Bell Labs inventors received a Nobel Prize in Physics in 1956.


• The 2005 London bombings resulted in overload of TETRA systems by the emergency services, and showed that pagers, with their absence of necessity to transmit an acknowledgement before showing the message, and the related capability to operate on very low signal levels, are not completely outclassed by their successors. Volunteer firefighters, EMS paramedics, and rescue squad members usually carry pagers to alert them of emergency call outs for their department. These pagers receive a special tone from a fire department radio frequency.


• Common paging protocols include TAP, FLEX, ReFLEX, POCSAG, GOLAY, ERMES and NTT. Past paging protocols include Two-tone and 5/6-tone. In the United States, pagers typically receive signals using the FLEX protocol in the 900 MHz band. Commercial paging transmitters typically radiate 1000 watts of effective power, resulting in a much wider coverage area per tower than a mobile phone transmitter, which typically radiates around 0.6 Watts per channel. Although FLEX paging networks tend to have stronger in-building coverage than mobile phone networks, commercial paging service providers will work with large institutions to install repeater equipment in the event that service is not available in needed areas of the subscribing institution’s buildings. This is especially critical in hospital settings where emergency staff must be able to reliably receive pages in order to respond to patient needs. PagePlus sell pagers intended for this use.


• Beepers or tone-only pagers are the simplest and least expensive form of paging. They were named beepers because they originally made a beeping noise, but current pagers in this category use other forms of alert as well. Some use audio signals, others light up and some vibrate, often used in combination. The majority of restaurant pagers fall into this category.


• Numeric Pagers contain a numeric LCD display capable of displaying the calling phone number or other numeric information generally up to 10 digits. The display can also convey pager codes, a set of number codes corresponding to mutually understood pre-defined messages.


• Alphanumeric pagers contain a more sophisticated LCD capable of displaying text and icons. These devices receive text messages, often through email or direct connection to the paging system. The sender must enter a message, either numeric and push # or, text & push # or a verbal message. The pager does not automatically record the sender’s number; the pager will beep but no message can be seen or heard if none has been entered.


• Pagers also have privacy advantages compared with cellular phones. Since a one-way pager is a passive receiver only (it sends no information back to the base station), its location cannot be tracked. However, this can also be disadvantageous, as a message sent to a pager must be broadcast from every paging transmitter in the pager’s service area. Thus, if a pager has nationwide service, a message sent to it could be intercepted by criminals or law enforcement agencies anywhere within the nationwide service area.


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