Push-to-Talk

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What Does Push-to-Talk Mean?

Push-to-talk (PTT or P2T) is a method of telecommunications that normally uses a half duplex system. As the name implies, Push To Talk (PTT) requires the person talking to press a button for the other party at the other end of the line to hear him. Because basic PTT uses half duplex, only one person can talk at a time. Police radios, air traffic controller telecommunications systems, and even some cellular technologies (e.g. iDEN) employ Push To Talk.

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Techopedia Explains Push-to-Talk

PTT users communicate bidirectionally but not simultaneously during voice transmission, i.e., callers take turns speaking and listening via push button switching.

Newer PTT systems use voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) for 3G digital PTT. For example, an air traffic controller communicates with aircraft via one radio frequency, and transmitted voice messages are shared between the controller and each airplane.

The PTT concept has been adopted by cellular systems to offer a service known as Push To Talk over Cellular (PoC), which allows end users to turn their cellphone into a walkie talkie with a much wider range.

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Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert
Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.