What is an intercom system?
An intercom is a stand-alone voice communications system
for use within a building or small collection of buildings, functioning independently of the public telephone network. Intercoms can incorporate connections to public address loudspeaker systems, walkie talkies, telephones, and to other intercom systems. Some intercom systems incorporate control of devices such as signal lights and door latches.
Many schools and office buildings now use audio / video systems to identify visitors trying to gain access to a locked building, and can be interfaced with the building's access control system.
For installations where it is not desirable or possible to run wires to support an intercom system, wireless intercom systems are available. There are two major benefits of a wireless intercom system over the traditional wired intercom. The first is that installation is much easier since no wires have to be run between intercom units. The second is that you can easily move the units at any time. With that convenience and ease of installation comes a risk of interference from other wireless and electrical devices. Nearby wireless devices such as cordless telephones, wireless data networks, and remote audio speakers, as well as structural features in your building, can all interfere.
Basic Intercom systems components
Master Station or Base Station
– These are units that can control the system, i.e., initiate a call with any of the stations and make announcements over the whole system.
– Units that are capable of only initiating a call with a Master Station but not capable of initiating calls with any other stations
– Like sub-stations, these units are only capable of initiating a call to a Master Station. They are typically weather-proof.
– Full-featured remote unit that is capable of initiating and receiving party-line conversation, individual conversation and signaling. May be rack-mounted, wall-mounted or portable.
Wall Mount Station
– fixed-position intercom station with built-in loudspeaker. May have flush-mounted microphone, hand-held push to talk microphone or telephone-style handset.
– permanent or portable telephone-style connection to an intercom station. Holds both an earpiece and a push to talk microphone.