Pagers Information

PagersPagers are electronic communications devices that are used to notify or alert a user about an event. They beep, vibrate, flash, display text, and use other alerts or methods of notification.


Pagers and beepers are often used in:

  • restaurants
  • supermarkets
  • factories
  • service centers
  • hospitals
  • other commercial and industrial settings

Because of their group-messaging capabilities, they are also used by emergency services personnel, medical staff, and information technology (IT) teams. Some pagers, such as those used at restaurants, cover only a short range. Others, such as those used in factories, are designed to cover longer distances. Pager suppliers may designate their products by industry instead of by specifications and features. Examples include automotive service center pagers, beepers for doctor’s offices and grocery stores, hotel pagers, restaurant pagers, and pharmacy pagers. Often, these paging products have similar capabilities, but may require some modifications for the industry served. For example, pagers that are designed for use in a noisy restaurant need to have a louder alert than those intended for use in a hospital nursery or sleep center.


There are many different types of pagers. Numeric devices are the simplest type. They display only phone numbers and pager codes. Alphanumeric pagers are more complex. In addition to numbers, they can display text messages.Typically, these telecommunications devices are assigned an email address so that they can receive messages via the sender’s email client. Two-way alphanumeric pagers are also available. These beepers are capable of both sending and receiving text messages and email. To send a message, the user types with a small, built-in keypad or QWERTY keyboard.


Selecting pagers requires an analysis of basic product specifications, radio frequency (RF) characteristics, and serial port characteristics. Basic product specifications include:

  • pager weight
  • dimensions
  • input voltage range
  • current drain
  • operating frequency
  • operating temperature

Signal protocol and message format are also important parameters to consider. With pagers, RF characteristics include sensitivity, image rejection and inter-modulation rejection, frequency deviation, and frequency stability. The serial port between the host and receiver carries specifications for signal type, data rate, data length, mode, interface type, and message formats. 

Related Information

IEEE Spectrum—Brilliant Little Jumping Robot Only Needs One Motor

IEEE Spectrum—Mobs R Us

IEEE Spectrum—Turning a DIY Project into a Product

Image credit: