Do I need a wireless or tethered DR panel? Three Key Considerations

Jul 20, 2022 11:14:28 AM / by Melissa Schwab

This is a question that comes up often when customers start looking for a new digital x-ray system. There are a lot of choices out there when it comes to digital x-ray systems and sometimes it’s difficult to determine what the best fit for your situation would be, especially if you are new to owning a digital x-ray system. This article will help clarify which situations we recommend a wireless DR panel for and where a tethered DR panel would be a better choice. 

What is a DR Panel?

Before I dive into whether you should go with a wireless or tethered DR panel, I want to make sure I clarify what a DR panel is. Digital Radiography panels (DR panels) are a flat panel used to create a digital image by converting x-rays to digital signals. These digital signals are then transmitted digitally to a computer with image acquisition software and are able to be viewed almost instantly on a computer monitor or screen. DR panels are about the same size as a film cassette and fit into the bucky where film cassettes would traditionally be located. Using a DR panel instead of film makes the process more efficient than traditional film-based imaging methods and can enhance the quality of images taken.

Wireless vs Tethered: 3 Key Considerations

When it comes to choosing a wireless vs tethered DR panel, it’s important to consider how you plan on using the DR panel and what type of system you plan to have. Once you have that in mind, the three (3) key factors to consider will be portability, durability, and cost. 


A wireless DR panel is very portable. As it’s name implies, it is wireless and doesn’t require any attached cables or cords to be used. It wirelessly transmits the digital signal to the computer with image acquisition software. A wireless DR panel can easily be moved from location to location or from bucky to bucky. If your x-ray system has both a wallstand and table and you are planning on using one DR panel in both the wallstand and table, you will need a wireless DR panel. 

A tethered DR panel is connected by a cable (tethered) to the computer that has the image acquisition software. It does not rely on a wireless signal to transmit the image. A tethered DR panel is not meant to frequently be moved from location to location or from a wallstand to a table. This type of panel is great for customers who only have a wallstand or for customers who do not want to move the DR panel from wallstand to table and opt to have two DR panels (a two DR panel configuration can save time in a busy clinic that takes multiple x-rays daily).   


Durability is also a key factor to consider when deciding on whether you want a wireless DR panel or a tethered DR panel. The very nature of the wireless DR panel and its portability can make it more susceptible to damage. When a wireless DR panel is moved, it is more likely to be dropped, bumped, spilled on, or even stepped on. A tethered DR panel is typically rarely moved from its bucky and has much less opportunity to be damaged. If purchasing a wireless DR panel, you may also want to consider purchasing a protective case.  

Another aspect related to the durability of a wireless vs tethered DR panel is related to the power source. A tethered panel is powered through the cable connecting it to the computer and has a constant power source while the system is on. A wireless DR panel relies on batteries for power; batteries must be charged regularly and will typically will need to be replaced every 1-2 years. 


DR panels are one of the more expensive components of a digital x-ray system. They are the part of the x-ray system that truly makes it digital. In DR panels, there is a lot of technology squeezed into a relatively small piece of equipment. Wireless panels tend to be more expensive than tethered panels, as wireless DR panels also have to communicate wirelessly with the image acquisition software. Wireless panels also require more additional upkeep costs associated with the need to purchase replacement batteries every 1-2 years.    

If you still have questions about whether a wireless or tethered DR panel is a better fit for you, feel free to reach out. One of our knowledgeable team members at Maven Imaging would be happy to talk with you about your unique needs and what would be the better fit for you. You can email us at or call (800) 949-8015. We look forward to hearing from you!     

Melissa Schwab

Written by Melissa Schwab