Professional base station radios are often one channel. In lightly-used base stations, a multi-channel unit may be employed. In heavily-used systems, the capability for additional channels, where needed, is accomplished by installing an additional base station for each channel. Each base station appears as a single channel on the dispatch center control console. In a properly designed dispatch center with several staff members, this allows each dispatcher to communicate simultaneously, independently of one another, on a different channel as necessary. For example, a taxi company dispatch center may have one base station on a high-rise building in Boston and another on a different channel in Providence. Each taxi dispatcher could communicate with taxis in either Boston or Providence by selecting the respective base station on his or her console.
In dispatching centers it is common for eight or more radio base stations to be connected to a single dispatching console. Dispatching personnel can tell which channel a message is being received on by a combination of local protocol, unit identifiers, volume settings, and busy indicator lights. A typical console has two speakers identified as select and unselect. Audio from a primary selected channel is routed to the select speaker and to a headset. Each channel has a busy light which flashes when someone talks on the associated channel.
Base stations can be local controlled or remote controlled. Local controlled base stations are operated by front panel controls on the base station cabinet. Remote control base stations can be operated over tone- or DC-remote circuits. The dispatch point console and remote base station are connected by leased private line telephone circuits, (sometimes called RTO circuits), a DS-1, or radio links. The consoles multiplex transmit commands onto remote control circuits. Some system configurations require duplex, or four wire, audio paths from the base station to the console. Others require only a two-wire or half duplex link.
Interference could be defined as receiving any signal other than from a radio in your own system. To avoid interference from users on the same channel, or interference from nearby strong signals on another channel, professional base stations use a combination of:
Base stations are sometimes called control or fixed stations in US Federal Communications Commission licensing. These terms are defined in regulations inside Part 90 of the commissions regulations. In US licensing jargon, types of base stations include:
A wireless telephone base station communicates with a mobile or hand-held phone. For example, in a wireless telephone system, the signals from one or more mobile telephones in an area are received at a nearby base station, which then connects the call to the land-line network. Other equipment is involved depending on the system architecture. Mobile telephone provider networks, such as European GSM networks, may involve carrier, microwave radio, and switching facilities to connect the call. In the case of a portable phone such as a US cordless phone, the connection is directly connected to a wired land line.
While low levels of radio-frequency power are usually considered to have negligible effects on health, national and local regulations restrict the design of base stations to limit exposure to electromagnetic fields. Technical measures to limit exposure include restricting the radio frequency power emitted by the station, elevating the antenna above ground level, changes to the antenna pattern, and barriers to foot or road traffic. For typical base stations, significant electromagnetic energy is only emitted at the antenna, not along the length of the antenna tower.
Because mobile phones and their base stations are two-way radios, they produce radio-frequency (RF) radiation (that's how they communicate), and they expose people near them to RF radiation giving concerns about mobile phone radiation and health. Hand-held mobile telephones are relatively low power so the RF radiation exposures from them are generally low.
The consensus of the scientific community is that the power from these mobile phone base station antennas is too low to produce health hazards as long as people are kept away from direct access to the antennas. However, current international exposure guidelines (INCIRP) are based largely on the thermal effects of base station emissions. Some scientists have questioned whether there are non thermal effects from being exposed to low level RF such as are transmitted from mobile phone base stations. Such 'non-thermal' effects include how the actual frequencies interfere with the human brain and all other cells in the human body.