What is a telephone paging system?

The HowToAV team explain how to use a standard telephone system as part of your public address / paging system.

In general, most Public Address / Paging Systems use dedicated microphones (for example – desktop paging microphones or zone microphones) for making voice paging announcements.

These are extremely reliable and will provide years of service if maintained and looked after properly. However, developments in technology have made it possible to use utilise standard telephone systems to make announcements rather than dedicated microphones, meaning a saving on cost and desk space with a reduction of devices being required.

What is a telephone paging system?

In it's most simple terms, a standard public address or paging system consists of a microphone, amplifier and loudspeakers (though in reality, most systems are far more complex than this of course!).
But the complexitiy of zone paging and paging from multiple locations can make the use of standard microphones quite complex.
However, in most buildings you're likely to find very handy microphones readily available in most rooms (or at least close-by) in the form of a telelephone! Therefore, telephone paging systems replace standard paging mics with standard desktop phones either via a telephone paging interface or, in many cases, via the 'telephone input', often found in professional PA amplifiers.

Telephone Paging Systems in an Office Building:

What is a telephone paging system?

What are the advantages of using a telephone rather than a dedicated microphone?Buy telephone paging system related products like the InterM PA360 at CIE.

There are many benefits to using telephone paging systems including:

  • Any location that has a telephone has the ability to make paging announcements; therefore, there is no need for an additional microphone and potentially expensive cable installation.
  • Simplifies any additions or alterations to staff positions or room reconfiguration.
  • It is possible to make announcements on systems where previously it may have been difficult or impossible to install a microphone such as building-to-building, site-to-site or even remotely from another town or country
  • Telephone interface devices have the ability to make announcements live or in 'store-and-forward' mode. There are several advantages of store-and-forward systems such as it can help eliminate audio feedback and enable the person making the announcement to preview the announcement, the person can then decide to either send the announcement or may decide to rerecord the message if they are not happy with it. Most dedicated microphones only have the ability to make a live announcement.

How to set-up a Telephone Paging System:

There are several techniques and technologies for connecting a telephone system into a paging system. The way to set up a Telephone Paging System will depend on the existing telephone system and the facilities required.

Telephone system in useThe most cost effective way is to use the paging port output on the telephone. This output is usually an audio line level signal that can be wired into an audio input on the PA amplifier via a low cost barrier interface unit. The barrier interface unit provides electrical isolation of the two systems; this is beneficial as an electrical fault on one system will not cause any damage to the other. The user can simply pick up the telephone handset and dial a facility code on the system which is normally a star command. A paging announcement can be made live; then the PA call can be ended by hanging up on the telephone.

Another method of connecting a telephone system into a paging system is by using a telephone paging extension interface. This is a device that can be plugged into an interface phone extension and then connect to a public address system. The user can dial the designated extension number for the paging interface and then make the announcement as soon as the call has been picked up by the telephone paging extension interface device.

What are the advantages of using a telephone paging extension interface?

There are several advantages for using a telephone paging interface rather than a paging port output including:

  • Announcements can be made live or in store-and-forward mode.
  • Users are able to route the announcement to different paging zones by using the keypad on the telephone to notify the system which zones should be paged.
  • Another option to consider when using digital or IP-based telephone system and an IP paging system. An IP PA system (also known as audio-over-IP) has the ability to connect directly to a digital telephone system using an Ethernet cable. The IP PA software will directly connect to the IP telephone system; this means that no additional interface boxes or cabling is required.
  • The user simply dials the extension number assigned to the PA system and the paging call is made. With this type of system it is possible to crate more PA zoning options than you can with a telephone paging extension interface.

There are a wide range of professional products available on the market to enable telephone paging and PA system integration.

Need help designing a public address system?

CIE public address and bakcground music and system design teamCIE is a multi-award winning distributor of professional audio equipment and public address systems. As well as supplying audio equipment to the UK installation sector, our dedicated systems architecture team design, specify and build many of the UK's blue-chip and most complex public address and background music systems for our installer customers.

If you would like help with design, specification or rack build for your next audio, PA or background music project, then please call the CIE team on T. 0115 9770075 or email [email protected]

Click here to see some of the many projects designed, supplied and supported by the CIE projects team.

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