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Personal Access Communications System (PACS)

Definition - What does Personal Access Communications System (PACS) mean?

The Personal Access Communications System (PACS) is a type of wireless telephone network that is compatible with computers, fax machines, answering machines and telephone sets. This is a low-power system designed for wireless local loop applications and personal communication services. It can be configured to be part of a large network, connected to a telephone system or used like a local area network with voice capability.

The Personal Access Communications System (PACS) can be optimized for private cordless telephony or indoor wireless PBX applications.

Techopedia explains Personal Access Communications System (PACS)

The PACS resembles a miniature cellular telephone network and contains several radio port control units (RPCUs), with each being equivalent to a cellular repeater, but with a shorter communications range and only linking the subscribers within a few-hundred-foot radius.

The RPCUs are often located atop buildings, utility poles or other places capable of offering good coverage in all directions. The transmitter power is usually limited to about 800 milliwatts while the operating frequency is in the UHF radio range at 1.9GHz

The subscriber sets in the PACS network can be portable, mobile or fixed. The voice sets utilize 32 or 64 KBps digital speech encoding, while the data modems for the computers operate at 28.8 or 57.6 KBps. The transmitter output power for the subscriber sets is limited to 200 milliwatts, however, in typical applications this is often lower and in the order of a few tens of milliwatts. The low power reduces the likelihood of electromagnetic interference with electronic equipment near the subscriber's set.

Features of a PACS include:

  • A fully integrated network approach
  • Easily integrated with other cellular systems in a single handset
  • Supports both public and private key encryption for authentication as well as privacy
  • Has protocols that support circuit mode data, packet mode data, and messaging and interleaved data/speech services

The PACS is based on low-complex, low-power design and supports digital data, voiceband data, messaging services and wireline quality voice. The systems are usually designed for low-mobility, vehicular mobility and fixed applications either for indoor or outdoor use, and offers both public and private access.

The microcellular system provides high frequency reuse efficiency, which enables it to support high traffic density. This makes the PACS suitable for fixed wireless local loop and mobile services in areas which are moderately or densely populated. These services are provided by interfacing the PACS with cellular or personal communication system mobile switching centers, traditional wireline switches, ISDN or advanced intelligent network switches.

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