Compass Communications


Frequently Asked Questions

Wireless FAQ

What does “wireless” imply?

Wireless describes products and standards that allow communications without additional electrical connections. Generally wireless refers to electromagnetic waves that travel through the air carrying information. Waves have different properties depending on their frequency, microwaves bounce off walls and objects, low frequency waves tend to travel through walls and objects. In the case of Compass nurse call systems, we utilize 900 mHz spread spectrum wireless signal, completely separate from WiFi.

What is RFID and how does it work?

RFID systems are used to track and identify. Most systems are a tag, a reader, and a data processing device. The tag stores relevant identification information, the reader communicates with the tag thru wireless radio frequency. Many times the reader is attached to a data processing device, either a wire or wirelessly. In order to furnish accurate location data, RFID systems operate as line-of-sight networks, requiring many readers at high expense. RFID is utilized heavily in hospital settings, where the high cost is carried by the larger budget of the organization. Compass systems are not RFID systems.

What is spread spectrum?

Modulation is a technique in which a carrier wave is used to carry information from one place to another. Spread spectrum is a special modulation technique that spreads the transmitted signal over a frequency range much wider that the minimum bandwidth required to send the signal. By making the signal bandwidth wider, the probability that the received information matches the transmitted information increases. Compass systems utilize spread spectrum technology to better transmit resident calls.

How wide is the range for wireless devices?

Design and application of the device will affect the device’s range. Some devices operate over a few inches and some operate over tens of miles. Other factors that affect the range include the environment, the frequency and the power output. Because Compass uses signal repeaters, we can cover any sized community.


Compass FAQ

The system is wireless, what infrastructure will I need in my building to add a Compass Communications system?

The main portion of the system is all wireless. All resident call devices and staff pagers are wireless. The only components that need wires are: repeaters that bounce wireless signal through your community need to be plugged into an outlet, remote viewing screens need data cabling to display all active calls at nurses stations, the main console needs data connectivity, optional dome lights require low voltage wiring. A great improvement over wired systems, wireless is adaptable to any senior living community. To discuss options, please email

What does a new nurse call system from Compass Communications cost?

Each community is different, and each system is tailored for that specific location. For a personalized quote, please email the Sales department at

How is support for my system set up?

Whenever possible, your nurse call system can be accessed to give our customer support department remote access. That way, when you have a question or concern, our staff can log into your system to resolve the issues and help you keep your system running smoothly. You can also call our customer support department any time at 231-932-0850 ext. 104 for help with any issues you may have.

All the devices are wireless, how long do the batteries last?

All our transmitters use a CR123 lithium ion battery for longer life. The lifespan can vary depending on call volume, but we estimate an average of about 2 years on each battery.

Are batteries easily changed?

Yes, absolutely. All you need are two screwdrivers and a new battery. Simply remove the station from the wall, pop open the transmitter and swap out the battery. No programming required.

Can I access the nurse call system from my desk, to run reports, make changes etc?

Yes. Once the system is installed, your onsite IT team can add it to your existing network, and set up VNC access so you can remote access the nurse call computer from the comfort of your office.

I sent some equipment in to be repaired, when can I expect to get it back?

Typical turnaround time is 6-8 weeks.

Can you send me an advanced replacement while I wait for my equipment to be repaired?

Unfortunately, we do not have the capacity to provide advanced replacement parts for equipment being repaired. We only offer advance replacement on warranty parts. If you need a replacement part while another is being repaired, we stock many parts that you may wish to order.

How much do repairs cost?

Every repair is different, so we can’t quote a price, but it is usually less than $80 per device.

I want to order some equipment, how do I do that?

Please call our office during business hours at 231-932-0850 ext. 103 and we will happily take your order. If we have the equipment in stock, we typically ship same day.

I have a pager from one area of my community that I want to use in a different area, can it be reprogrammed?

Please call customer support at 231-932-0850 ext. 104, and we will walk you through it.

I have a pink highlighted line on my viewing screens, what’s going on?

You are seeing a fault on the system. When the main console does not receive a check-in signal from each device in your community in a 24 hour period, you receive a fault. Double click on the fault at the main console to reset it. If it returns, test the station for function making sure it appears on the console screen. Call customer support at 231-932-0850 ext. 104 if additional assistance is needed.

I need to change a bed station/pull station, how do I do that?

Please call customer support for assistance at 231-932-0850 ext. 104, and we will walk you through it.